This week, the whole world was talking about Adam on Love Island; the proof that no amount of gym going or pretty face will ever stop you being a massive arsehole. In fact, those factors probably contributed to that. The good thing is, the majority of the world seems to be seeing his behaviour for exactly what it is – dangerous and abusive. I’ve seen plenty of tweets from women talking about their own experiences, talking openly and honestly about emotional abuse, and rightly calling him out on his sh*t. Vix Meldrew has written some excellent pieces on it, and Women’s Aid even made a statement about it, with help to recognise warning signs.
This is all great. Emotional Abuse is a widespread issue which can lead to women continually feeling that they can never be enough, and maybe a couple of women on the outside watched the last few episodes of Love Island and were triggered to things in their own lives, triggered to make a change. It isn’t something that is as obvious or as widely talked about as physical abuse, often because people doubt their memories and experiences of it, and it seems silly to speak up about it. It’s not silly, and it’s not only girls who need to be wary of this.
Obviously, women can be emotional abusers too, but what I mean here is that at the exact same time that women are trying to come together – so are the guys, but not in a good way. It was clear when Adam and Rosie finished their ‘talk,’ the guys rushed over to talk to Adam and … backed him up. Wes said his behaviour ‘wasn’t even that bad’ and asked why Rosie couldn’t react the same as Kendall (as if the two girls in the same situation doesn’t already ring alarm bells), making sure that the problem is with Rosie’s reaction and not what provoked it. None of the guys – apart from Alex in a previous episode, but he is a rare breed that needs to be protected – even remotely suggested that Adam’s behaviour was wrong. Even Jack, everyone’s favourite, wouldn’t say it to his face. They might feel uneasy inside, but they don’t speak up. This isn’t just a matter of ‘guy code’ – this is real life problematic behaviour, and any guys watching this show, are not being taught that it’s wrong. They are being taught that the girls are over-reacting, that they shouldn’t be with ‘crazy’ girls, and that it’s the ‘girls versus the guys.’
Here are some comments from one of the posts on Adam’s Instagram recently:
Guys (although not only men, I’m sad to say), protecting one of their own – even if their behaviour was shocking and cause for alarm. Yes – they have only been in there two weeks. Yes – they are not in relationships. Yes – it’s a reality show. But none of that is an excuse for the emotional run-around Adam gave Rosie and the constant gas lighting that made a confident, gorgeous 26 year old solicitor doubt herself, and feel as small as humanly possible. This is not ‘being real’ – because he is not being honest with anyone about his feelings, and even if he was – being honest doesn’t give anyone the right to be a twat, or blame it all on someone else because you’re too big-headed to even think it might be down to you.
So while it’s great that many women are recognising the signs, and calling it out – it shouldn’t be their job to have to, because men shouldn’t be exhibiting that behaviour in the first place. (Again, I’m aware that emotional abuse is not gender specific – this is just in the example given from Love Island). Guys – this is not behaviour to mimic. Girls who have feelings and express them are not ‘crazy,’ and if you’re in the wrong – own up to it. This isn’t about being a ‘lad,’ but just being a goddamn decent human being. We should all learn to recognise the signs of emotional abuse, for our own sakes, but we also need to learn to speak up when we see it in others – whether they are our friends or not, because it’s never okay, and it’s definitely not that ‘boys will be boys.’