Tahliah Debrett Barnett, best known as FKA Twigs, is an English artist, dancer, actress, and domestic violence survivor. Last Friday, The New York Times reported a lawsuit that FKA Twigs filed against ex-boyfriend and actor and filmmaker Shia LaBeouf, citing domestic abuse that affected her “physically, emotionally and mentally” during the time they dated.
In the article, FKA Twigs powerfully stated, “I’d like to be able to raise awareness on the tactics that abusers use to control you and take away your agency.” She shared her personal experiences to show that it could happen to anybody. She got into detail with intrusive information such as “Mr. LaBeouf had rules about how many times a day she had to kiss and touch him, which he enforced with constant haranguing and criticism.” As if that’s not hard enough to read, she took it a step further to clearly identify with victims that are potentially going through a similar situation: “I just thought to myself, no one is ever going to believe me… I’m unconventional. And I’m a person of color who is a female.”
It’s disheartening to read these painful and personal stories, especially when the victim acknowledges that it is more challenging for people to believe her due to being a person of color. Multi-racial women are reported to be the ones that experience this kind of situations the most, according to “The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey 2010-2012 State Report” presented by the CDC in April 2017: “Nationally, over half (56.6%) of multiracial women, including 34.4% of Hispanic women experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.”
Now, imagine those scared to report anything due to immigrant status, financial responsibility, or being scared of death.
Furthermore, imagine those numbers spiking up right now with victims stuck in a violent domestic relationship during this pandemic?
Later, FKA Twigs further expressed through an Instagram post that her primary purpose for sharing her personal story is to help others:
We must keep doing our part by sharing these devastating stories so others will not feel alone, by donating to charities, and helping our loved ones going through this type of abuse with what we can.
Ultimately, we should aim to keep our resilience now more than ever in preparing for post-pandemic spikes. We should also continue protecting our women of color survivors and, most importantly, BELIEVE in them.
Like FKA Twigs said in the same New York Times article: “I don’t think people would ever think that it would happen to me. But I think that’s the thing. It can happen to anybody.”