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Justine Skye and Sheck Wes: Domestic Abuse and Continued Victim-Blaming in the Entertainment Industry

Known for its glamour, riches, and exclusive access, an often swept over element of the entertainment industry is the countless cases of abuses, ranging from domestic to sexual.  With these increasingly reported incidents of abuse, a common result in these cases is victim-blaming by not only the industry but by fans as well. Though despicable, it’s clear why companies and corporations turn a cheek to abuse, but it’s still unclear why fans do the same. Have fan bases created their own fantasy of celebrities that are so strong if anything outside their vision of who they think the celebrity is, cannot be true?

Months after sharing she has been a victim of domestic abuse in a prior relationship, Singer Justine Skye named rapper Sheck West as her alleged abuser after the rapper and a few of his friends allegedly attacked the singer, her current boyfriend rapper Goldlink, and some of the singer’s friends during Grammy’s weekend.

After the alleged attack, Skye tweeted:

“You’re pathetic sheck and you beat women. You hit your girl before me and you’ll do it again.” “Moral of the story is, if you never put your hands on me, you wouldn’t be in this situation and you just keep making it worse.”

Skye’s accusation tweets lead to a back and forth of subtweets between her and Sheck Wes, with him denying all allegations, including the original allegation of abuse during their relationship.

During the thread of tweets, Skye released home security video of the “Mo Mamba” rapper being hysterical and unlawfully trespassing on Skye’s property.

Following the alleged attacks and Twitter accusations, Skye shared via her Instagram story how she tried to file a police report at the Los Angeles Police Department in Hollywood but was not provided an environment meant to comfort victims and was called a  “difficult victim.”

“Different precinct now trying to file the last report but their so rude, dismissive and disrespectful. Called me a ‘difficult victim’ when he wouldn’t even let me finish telling him what happened before. He could give me a list of reasons as to why he can’t help me,” she wrote on Twitter. “This is why most women don’t go to or call the police by the way … especially dealing with male officers/deputies whatever tf…but don’t let them discourage you because I for sure am not.”

Even with video evidence of past trespassing and witness statements of the alleged attack during Grammy’s weekend, Skye still faced tons of hate and accusations of being a liar by thousands on Twitter.

This deems the question: why people don’t believe the woman who claims they have been a victim of domestic violence by high profile males? When a regular man is accused of domestic violence he is ostracized by the community. It is clear the same standard is not held for celebrity males. Based on past incidents, it seems as though male celebrities are thought to be capable of no wrongdoing.

On February 2, Rapper Bow Wow and ex-girlfriend Kiyomi Leslie Holden were arrested in Atlanta, Ga after a domestic violence incident. After their mug shots surfaced showing the bruises and scratch marks on Bow Wow’s face and body, Twitter exploded with support for Bow Wow to be the victim, automatically accusing Holden as the agitator in the fight.

It wasn’t until recently when a security video surfaced with both parties and a third individual in an elevator, showing the rapper provoking Holden. Even when the footage was released, it did not receive as much media coverage and Twitter responses as when the news of the arrests first broke.

Mug shots of Rapper Bow Wow and ex- girlfriend Kiyomi Leslie Holden

Alleged historical predator R. Kelly is still surrounded by a supportive community despite the recent release of a documentary featuring victims of his alleged abuse and their family members.  Even with footage and confessions of abuse, fans still deem that they can separate the artist from their personal life. Despite the #MUTERKELLY trend and protests, there is still countless blame on the victims and not the accused.

In May 2016, Actress Amber Heard (Aquaman)  accused her now ex-husband Johnny Depp,  of emotional and physical abuse during their marriage – something he strenuously denies. Following those accusations, she was a victim of countless hate and threatening messages from fans via social media.

Unfortunately, like many cases, fans have fallen in love with Depp’s previously played characters like the funny and charming Jack Sparrow from Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean – Not really knowing his true personality.

Following attacks via social media, Heard shared this statement on her Twitter:

“No matter how terrible or terrifying surviving trauma may be, unfortunately, it can pale in comparison to what followers. It’s no wonder so many of us feel we need to keep quiet or risk our safety to try to maintain our dignity by quietly enduring. The fear of being ostracized from society is just about the most terrifying prospect there is”.

Despite the efforts and progression of organizations and movements like #METOO, the indictments and jailing of figures like Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein, society still has a long way to accepting public figures and celebrity are still flawed and are capable of wrongdoings.

 

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