National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

Why We’re Blogging About the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

For those of us at The Hotline who are Real Housewives of Beverly Hills fans, it’s difficult to watch this season. Housewife Taylor Armstrong has recently disclosed her experience of abuse and is also coping with the suicide of her allegedly abusive ex-husband. Entertainment Tonight has released gruesome photos of the black eye Taylor suffered and is discussing the incidents of abuse in greater detail.

Russell Armstrong’s death occurred after season two of the RHWOBH had finished filming. There has been a lot of controversy around the choice made by Bravo to continue airing the therapy sessions with Taylor in which she analyzed her relationship with Russell.

As this season airs, we are going to blog about the behaviors we see. We want to provide you a context for the human experiences we are all watching unfold as we tune in to each week’s episode. We hope to empower you, our readers, with knowledge that you can use if you find yourself in a similar situation to what you see on screen. What are ways to help a friend in Taylor’s situation? Is therapy recommended for abusive couples? How should you react if someone tells you that they are abused? These and other questions are areas we strive to answer by using the lens of this show to examine domestic violence.

As we write about what we see, we do not mean to exploit, objectify or judge the very real people who we are watching. We extend our saddest condolences to Russell Armstrong’s family and wish nothing but support for Taylor and her daughter as they grieve and begin their healing process.

According to online sources, 2.2 million viewers tuned in to watch the season premiere. The sheer amount of people watching the show, combined with the knowledge that one in four women has experienced abuse, helps us feel that this season could be an important learning moment for all of us.

In season one, Taylor, a domestic violence advocate herself, used her access to the cameras to positively promote a local Beverly Hills shelter, 1736 Family Crisis Center. Blogging about this season is a way for us to use a platform we have — this website — to discuss a topic that deserves our attention.

We hope you’ll join our conversation.

17 replies
  1. Brandy says:

    Thank you for bringing awareness around this epidemic! I personally struggle watching reality TV, which often depict women in a less than glamorous light with arguments over petty items, silly dirty looks and even men.

    Domestic Violence is a true reality in our nation. The reality of TV today, must show drama to retain audiences. Conflict is a natural, however, the manner in which conflict is handled on TV is shaping a culture for our younger generation. Believing this culture is natural and standard, only normalizes these behaviors for our boys and girls. Reality TV is here to stay, therefore, if a learning opportunity around domestic violence, communication and/or conflict resolution can be shared, then I say teach away!

    Domestic Violence impacts every culture, men and women, and every economic class. This is an educational avenue and healthy relationships for our youth starts now.

    I do not watch the show, do not have an opinion of this relationship between these two people, but since the network decided to air these segments of their lives, we as the public should take this opportunity to educate our young people around issues such as this.

    • mbeckham says:

      Brandy,

      Thank you for your comments about Domestic Violence Awareness. You are right that abuse can happen to anyone and that it is important for people of all ages to be educated about this issue. If you are intersted in continuing to help inform the public and youth of today further, you can contact us 24/7 at 800-799-7233 for volunteer opportunities in your area.

      Hotlineadvocate_mb

  2. Mz Inquisition says:

    I’d like to to start by saying, how wonderful and thankful I am that you all are choosing to highlight the RHOBV this way. I too have blogged about this on my domestic violence blog mzinquisition.com First, my condolences also go out to Russell Armstrong and Taylor’s families in the wake of their recent tragedy. Secondly, I agree adamantly that it is imperative that people see the “real life” effects domestic violence has on people’s lives.

    I am a domestic violence victim, turned survivor, now advocate who dedicates herself to educating and bringing awareness to the issue starting with our teens. All too often the subject is rarely discussed unless it effects people first hand or someone they love. We need to be more proactive so we can recognize the signs early to prevent losing lives.

    There are many reasons why I love that you are highlighting this show. One is the application of a real life take on the subject. Two the way it displays the fact that abuse does not discriminate. It crosses all barriers. Age, race religion, and social status. No amount of money makes you immune to this horrible epidemic, nor does it make it any easier to deal with. The show also embodies support os the key. When the victim is feeling like they do not deserve better. A strong support system can help you through the situation, which Taylor discovers through her circle of friends. The show also demonstrates a common characteristic in domestic violence which is ” keeping the secret” and how unhealthy that process is . Taylor thought keeping the secret would make things “go away” when in actuality it only tore her apart inside. From last lesson to the current the show depicts the process of recognizing you are in an abusive relationship and how to leave with the support of others who love you.

    This platform is huge and something I have hope for. The world loves reality television. It is my hope that while viewing the show watchers we see first hand and hopefully victims will be able to identify with traits in Taylor and discover their inner strength to leave their abusive situation.

    This is the same concept I embodied when I created my organization Still Standing Battered But Not Beaten. A place to offers honest and real life, strength, survival, and support. We offer tons of resources ranging form literature, classes, seminars, life coaching, transportation, emergency shelter, toll free number, discretion, privacy and most importantly non judgmental support to our clients. We are in the midst of trying to build more shelters as many current shelters are filled to capacity and turning victims away.

    We are launching the “Pretty Purple” movement in high schools to get young girls and women excited and interested in learning how to love them selves, understand there self worth and recognize the early signs of abuse. We utilize public figures such as Taylor and Rhianna that they girls can relate to for a better understanding of the seriousness of the situation. More so, to show the courage women like Taylor and Rhianna embody in sharing their story to help others. You can learn more about our “Pretty Purple” movement at stillstanding.mzinquisition.com

    • HotlineAdmin_RE says:

      Mz Inquisition,
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts with our Share Your Voice blog community. You are right; having this come up on RHOBV is a great way to bring awareness to the issue, and to show that domestic violence does not discriminate. It sounds like you’ve used your experience and knowledge to create a resource for other victims/survivors in similar situations. Focusing on prevention and educating young people about healthy relationships is really important too. It’s great to hear how involved you are in making change possible.

      HotlineAdvocate_RE

  3. Marie says:

    I have been informed by the Domestic Violence Hotline that 5 million women a year are hit by a partner. This is outrageous. This is approximately 1% of the population and a huge number! I do not watch the show but I am glad to hear that Domestic Violence is being discussed on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
    The National Domestic Violence Hotline, my domestic violence support group and the family peace center in my area have helped me to leave an abusive partner and have enlightened me greatly as to the behaviors of abusers.

    • HotlineAdmin_MB says:

      Marie,

      I am glad to hear that the support from our hotline and your local domestic violence agency have helped you leave your abusive partner. Educating yourself about abusive partners and sharing your story of survival are great steps in moving forward into a healthier environment. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with the Share Your Voice Community.

      I removed your last name to keep your identity private.

      Hotlineadvocate_MB

  4. brenda says:

    We need to somehow educate the judges. It is not just educating ourelves or daughters and daughter-in-laws,but the judges. We can have the BEST attorny’s but the judges,if they are partual towards men,if they went through a bad divorce,my judge had gone through 2 divorces and living with a attorney and his last divorce was not finalized yet and he was a judge from hell. So what can be done? I know the Court Watch is a grass roots thing but we need it in EVERY COURT!

  5. brenda says:

    If someone is wondering what can happen to you if you stay in a abusive marriage,just ask.I was in one for 30 years. Proud? No. Stupid? Yes. Kids were the main reason I stayed but the kids should have been the main reason for me to get them out as well as myself. If you want to know how it will affect children growing up, I can tell you.If you wonder if you should get your children into councling, I can tell you what will happen if you don’t. Do you think that once the divorce is over he will leave you alone? No. These men are sick and need help that you can not give nor can you change them. They use anyone who will listen to the sob story they give all the time sceaming to get the next victim. Mine worked his way in with my mother and then in with the rest of my family,not alot but enough to question who was the one. I thought I was losing my mind. Then he went on to get to my friends,some just knew who he was and what he was doing and it backfired on him. Then as our children became adults,he started using money ,cars, trips and he is on his 3erd wife in 5 years now,the 2ed one died with in 3 yrs of their marriage,WONDER WHY?? My kids now have problems in their own marriages. It is sad to think that a man can strangle his son and then the son strangles his wife. The son doesn’t want to hear anything bad about his father because he is seeing himself do the same thing that he saw his father do to his mother and his father did to him. Leave these men. Take your children to councling and stay there for as long as it is needed,right into teen years and beyond. Men who abuse you will always abuse anyone,it never changes.

    • HotlineAdmin_MB says:

      Brenda,

      Your are right that you can’t change an abusive partner and that you can’t make them want to change. I am sorry to hear that you had to endure 30 years of abuse, but I am glad that you found a way to break free from your partner and become a survivor. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for you to see your son repeat the actions of his father. Maybe you can pass our number on to your son’s wife 1-800-799-7233, we are here 24/7. Thank you for sharing your voice with our readers.

      Hotlineadvocate_MB

  6. Sharon says:

    I dont know if this is abuse. I feel like I am losing my mind though. I have been married 10 yrs and have been with him for 13. It goes in cycles. Sometimes everything is fine and then he just goes off. I have been pushed and yelled at. I havent been hit. I have been kept from leaving. I am doubting myself and if this is abusive behavior. He said that its my fault when he gets angry. He told me today that I should move home, but then a couple of hours later, he said he is going with me. I feel like I am in a fun house sometimes. Is it me or is it him or is it both of us? He says he gets depressed. He says he is going to get help. Should I stay to see if he does? I feel like an utter failure. We have been to counseling. Nothing seems to work. I have no money and my car isnt working. I can get out if I ask for help from my family, but I hate to worry them. I am afraid to go. I dont know what he will do. I just dont know what to do. Is this abuse or is it me? He just changes so quickly. I dont know whats normal.

    • HotlineAdmin_MB says:

      Hi Sharon,

      It takes a lot of courage to write about an abusive situation. I am glad that you decided to share your story with our blog. You don’t deserve to be yelled at, pushed, or made to feel at fault. Abuse is more than being punched or hit, it is a spectrum that includes verbal, controlling, manipulative, and physical (pushing would fall under physical) coercion. It is common for an abusive partner to say that they will get help, usually this is a manipulative tactic to keep you from leaving. Please call the Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 any time of day or night, we’re available 24/7. An advocate would welcome the chance to offer you the emotional support and guidance you deserve.

      Hotlineadvocate_MB

  7. Erwin says:

    Appreciate it for helping out, fantastic information. “Courage comes and goes. Hold on for the next supply.” by Vicki Baum.

  8. Eddie Fealy says:

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    • HotlineAdmin_MB says:

      Eddie,

      I am glad you found our website. If you would like to talk to an advocate about your situation, you can call 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233. I hope the information on our site has been helpful to you.

      Hotlineadvocate_MB

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