THE FACE OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PAGEANT UPSET: Is Juanita Bynum Qualified?

by MullOverThis

Dr. Juanita BynumAfter perusing so many of the online articles and blogs regarding the allegations that Bishop Thomas Weeks III beat up his televangelist wife, Juanita Bynum, while threatening to kill her, I decided to post a comment to address a recurring incredulous line of thought.  Too many people seem to think that their favorite domestic violence victim who was on Oprah, who was on their hometown newspaper front page, who is their own mama who was pistol whipped, or who are themselves, are the “real” domestic violence victims.  Is there some competition or qualifying factor for domestic abuse survivors to  be “real”?  So the adaptation of the commentary follows, if nothing else, to show how ridiculous this whole concept that outrages too many people–Juanita Bynum as the face of domestic violence–really is. 

“This discussion is like a candy store for psychologists, psychoanalysts, and psychiatrists. Who has earned the trophy for ‘face of domestic violence’ and can rightfully be the ‘voice of domestic violence’? Talk about promoting misery and self-gain, folks. So now we need a run-off for who can speak and further the cause.  Well let’s go get Ms. Bynum who was put in the trunk and the car dumped in the body of water. Oops, she won’t be able to make the MOST ABUSED DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PAGEANT because she is DEAD. Google search this pastor’s wife who died in the black church at the hands of her husband, Melvin Bynum. http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/1123723/. What are credible categories for determining who is worthy to speak for domestic abuse? Goriest burn victims? Woman who outlived the most stab wounds? Woman who believed her husband would change but he gave her brain damage? Woman who raised the most kids in this mess? Woman with the most convincing cries? Woman who didn’t have enough money to leave but stayed blinged out? Woman who really didn’t deserve it because she never talked back, ever? Woman who hid the black eyes and bruises the best? Woman with the most hospital visits? Woman with the most non-effective restraining orders?  Woman with the most 911 calls?  Woman who bled the most? Woman whose husband stomped her, kicked her, and told her he was going to kill her? And the category garnering the most points and empathy: Poorest domestic violence victim, so her pain is really “real” because she has absolutely nothing. The Domestic Violence Hall of Fame inductees will be the ones who have grown up in it, married and repeated the pattern, and still live in it today. The ones who haven’t broken the cycle should be commemorated as they have been through the most to  warrant this position.  Please let your domestic violence agencies put out a campaign with your face, or your favorite candidate’s face on it because you are more deserving and will gain some attention and dollars to really address the issue. What have you done before this “blew up” in the press like this to speak for women like you? For women in the church? For women who are married to clergymen gone wild? When has there been a public debate about it in the black church in your lifetime? And you want to denigrate another sister who already has millions of people who support her for bringing attention to the issue. By all means then, go ahead. I’ll support your campaign but make sure you all have your medications first, because the emphasis should be about domestic violence and not opportunism, cattiness and craziness from all the outspoken non-spokepersons for ‘who is’ and ‘who is not’ what in domestic violence.”

The reality is there is no coveted exclusivity or ownership rights granted to “who can speak for domestic violence”.  Anyone who has passion, opportunity, strength and experience should be busy making something happen for all of the women, children and even men who face this demon in their families. Everyone with enough conviction to jockey for why Juanita should not be representative should re-direct their energies and  join organizations and voices that existed before Thomas allegedly met Juanita in the parking lot.  Better yet, the concerned are free to start their own crusades, forces of concrete influence, intervention and rehabilitation to stop domestic abuse.   Meanwhile prayer and faith in God is probably the most sure-fire essential for change.  Posted on December 17, 2007 at 11:38 pm

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4 Comments to “THE FACE OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PAGEANT UPSET: Is Juanita Bynum Qualified?”

  1. This is great. Its good to see Juanita has supporters in different corners of the world.

  2. I agree with your point that no one should be able to “appoint” or “anoint” who will be legitimate spokespersons for domestic violence. IMHO, most folk who are criticizing Juanita in this regard do so because they don’t like aspects of her ministry and lifestyle. I admit I am one of those people. I do raise an eyebrow when after a few weeks of the attack, it appears she is back in “self-promotion” mode: TBN, press conferences, interviews, etc… But I will stop here… after all, I am a man and have never been in her shoes.

  3. No one can diminish the events that occurred between Ms. Bynum and her husband. I believe the public has an issue with the fact that this situation was handled so publicly and there is not yet any resolve. I don’t know what qualifies one to be the new face of domestic violence. However, I believe deliverance from whatever it was and still may be that attracts that situation into your life all over again needs to take place first. You can not help me while you are still figuring out what happened to you. Now find me a man or woman who has been abused, had nowhere to go with kids in tow, lost a few teeth, turned their life around, THEN testified that they overcame. I think that’s the “new face” people want to see.

  4. W, if Kelly Ripa were in JB’s shoes, she’d be “back in self-promotion mode” as well. JB is on TV all over the world 5 days a week, and she did not vent about the entire marriage, just the attack by her husband. Al Roper let us in on his surgery, it’s not worth recounting how many on screen pregnancies the world has followed with their hosts, and JB is marketing her misery for letting the world know the attack did occur, and she is going to do something about it. Like Nik said, she needs counseling, but to be the face of any cause, she does not need to be an expert, just part of the community. She got indoctrinated blow by blow on August 21, 2007. I don’t think we hold any other well-knowns to those standards, and I don’t recall JB saying she was going to be a DV counselor. Just an opinion….

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