Lindsay Lohan has just penned a heartfelt, thoughtful and emotional apology on her Instagram account, one that fans are applauding as “mature” because she is “taking ownership of her mistakes”.
We are meant to see this grovelling apology as brave, to give Lindsay a pat on the head for finally correcting her mistakes. But when I read it, I just felt sick.
Dear friends. I’m good and well. #ATM I am taking time for myself with good friends. I am sorry that I’ve exposed certain private matters recently. I was acting out of fear and sadness… We all make mistakes. Sadly mine have always been so public. I have done a lot of soul searching in the past years, and I should have been more clear minded rather than distract from the good heart that I have. Social media comes with the territory of the business and the world we now live in. My intentions were not meant to send mixed messages. Maybe things can be fixed… Maybe not.. I hope they can. But I am 30 years old and I do deserve a #GENTLEgiant Life is about love and light. Not anger ???????? Thank you to those who stand by my side
This week, in a series of emotional Instagram posts and tweets, Lindsay indicted that she believed her now ex-fiancé Egor Tarabasov, was cheating on her with a hooker, tweeting: “Wow thanks fiance with Russian hooker @pa5london.” and “Lindsay Lohan labour pains trailer – I am pregnant!!”
He wore black and I wore white…. ????????????⚓️ I guess #art is whatever you make of it. A photo posted by Lindsay Lohan (@lindsaylohan) on Jul 23, 2016 at 10:54am PDT
From the moment those tweets hit the public domain, all eyes were on Lindsay.
Which made it even more explosive when, a few days later, a video obtained and released by The Sun, showed Lindsay on the balcony of her London home screaming “Please, please, please. He just strangled me. He almost killed me. Everybody will know. Get out of my house.
“Do it. I dare you again. You’re f**king crazy. You sick f**k. You need help. it’s my house, get out,’ she continued.
Just 10 minutes after the altercation occurred, police arrived at her home forced and their way inside, but the couple had already left and no arrests were made.
Lindsay Lohan aired her fight with her fiancé via Snapchat. Post continues below…
This should come across as the most upsetting part of this entire narrative, but what happened next was just as ugly and disturbing.
Instead of reporting the story as an alleged case of domestic abuse, which it completely was, many outlets chose to label it as “Lindsay Lohan posts about relationship drama” or “Lindsay Lohan in relationship turmoil”.
The apology itself was heavily laden with the warning signs we’ve been taught to recognise in the language of potential domestic abuse victims.
Phrases such as “I’m sorry I’ve exposed certain private matters” are exactly the type of words we’ve been taught to recognise and avoid when it comes to abuse victims, because it cements the idea that abuse is family matter that should not be discussed in public.
To make matters worse, thousands of people took to social media to slam Lindsay during the public ordeal, calling her out for daring to air her dirty laundry on social media, for being a drama queen, for having such a private moment caught on camera.
Lohan with her fiancé Egor Tarabasov. Source: Instagram
No doubt, Lindsay was feeling the hate and ridicule blaring at her from publications and social media commentators across the world, which is probably what led to her penning that concerning public apology in the first place.
As alarming as the apology was, however, the headlines and comments that followed were somewhat worse. With publications running headlines such as “Lindsay Lohan Apologizes for Exposing Egor Tarabasov Drama: 'I Was Acting Out of Fear."
A headline that focuses much more on the plight of Egor being exposes as an abuser, rather than on the idea that a public figure such as Lindsay appeared to be the victim of domestic abuse.
The comments themselves then did everything we’ve been told not to do when it comes to domestic violence, everything we’ve vowed never to do when someone comes forward with claims of abuse.
A lesson we apparently quickly forget once uncomfortable images and words start clogging up our social media feeds.
“She kick-started the drama with accusations on social media” wrote one commentator.
“It’s ok Lindsay, we all make mistakes,” wrote another, alluding to the fact that it’s a “mistake” when you are caught being abused.
“You are an amazing actress and a really beautiful woman. Please, no more awkward posts,” another posted on Instagram. Because beautiful women in particular should not be caught up in abuse scandals, I guess.
“You were so meant for more than this drama” some other sympathetic soul wrote beneath the post.
“Just live a private life until you figure out what direction to go in” reads a recent comment on her apology post.
Lindsay Lohan's most recent Instagram posts. Post continues after gallery...
According to information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Personal Safety Survey, just under half a million Australian women reported that they had experienced physical or sexual violence or sexual assault in the past 12 months. More than a million women had experienced physical or sexual assault by their male current or ex-partner since the age of 15.
We know these statistics. We speak about and confront this horror nearly every single day. We sign petitions for more funding for domestic violence victims, we urge victims to speak out about their experiences and to never protect their abuses. We promise to make a difference.
We read articles written to raise awareness around domestic abuse and how to spot the indicators that it may be happening to people we love behind closed doors
We run numerous awareness campaigns, change our Facebook profile pictures to support women in need.
Come November 25, we will adorn our chests with ribbons of white and attend events in support of Australia's biggest campaign to prevent men's violence against women. White Ribbon Day.
Lindsay and her fiancé. Image source: Instagram.
We do so much to try and change the perception and language around domestic violence. Yesterday we failed at this. Spectacularly.
Because yesterday we saw a woman embroiled in situation that looked violent and controlling and instead of being distressed for her and acknowledging her as the victim she was, we accused her of being a drama queen. And we then applauded her when she promised to keep all future elements of abuse private.
In my own social media feeds I saw people, both men and women, who I’ve seen previously post support of events like White Ribbon Day, roll their eyes at Lindsay’s ‘drama’ and chastise her for being so unladylike as to embroiled in an abuse scandal in such a public way.
To those people I’d like to say this: if you’re going to react like this to a public discussion surrounding domestic abuse, then don’t bother pinning that white ribbon onto your chest. This year or any other. Don’t support awareness campaigns or pat yourself on the back for reposting a Facebook status. Because actions speak louder than words.
Today, I am sad for Lindsay Lohan.
I am sad for the people who took our fight against domestic violence back ten paces this week by posting those comments underneath her unneeded apology. I am sad for the women who would have read those comments online yesterday, who now never feel comfortable speaking up.
And I feel sorry for women like myself, who grew up in circumstances of extreme domestic abuse, and are made to feel like a “drama queen” for ever bringing it up.
I feel sad for all of us, that we had the chance to have an important conversation around domestic violence and instead we chose to place blame on a young actress because we don't approve of her lifestyle choices or social media conduct.
You have nothing to be sorry for Lindsay Lohan, and I’m sorry you thought you ever had to apologise.