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Dr. Dre's apology: It's a small token but often a huge victory for survivors to hear abusers own up.

And the Internet is turning into quite a tool to make sure history isn't rewritten by those with power and money.

Dr. Dre's apology: It's a small token but often a huge victory for survivors to hear abusers own up.

Victims left out of an abuser's movie — honest mistake or convenient sleight of hand?

"Straight Outta Compton," the blockbuster film chronicling the rise and fall of hip-hop group N.W.A is an important cultural touchpoint for its depiction of several really important themes: police brutality, race, youth culture, and the role of art in protest to name a few.

But when the movie, produced by N.W.A founding members Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, was released, there were significant players in the story whose roles were conveniently left out. Dee Barnes, a journalist who Dr. Dre beat up in a nightclub, wrote that some reference to the occurrence would have been appropriate.


And when asked why she wasn't represented in the film, Dr. Dre's ex-fiancee Michel'le and former record labelmate said:

"But why would Dre put me in it? ... I was just a quiet girlfriend who got beat up and told to sit down and shut up."

It turns out, Dr. Dre's violent past was omitted entirely, and the Internet wasn't going to let it slide. The story blew up big time.

Image from Death Row Records.

Maybe recent backlash has taught abusers some lessons on how to deal with their crimes publicly.

In what seems to be a savvy PR move cribbed from seeing just how off-the-rails avoidance and denial can go for others (see Bill Cosby), Dr. Dre has issued an official apology. As told to The New York Times today:

"Twenty-five years ago I was a young man drinking too much and in over my head with no real structure in my life. However, none of this is an excuse for what I did. I've been married for 19 years and every day I'm working to be a better man for my family, seeking guidance along the way. I'm doing everything I can so I never resemble that man again. I apologize to the women I've hurt. I deeply regret what I did and know that it has forever impacted all of our lives."

An apology is not a criminal conviction or compensation for years of pain and suffering, but it's also not nothing.

Image by Leyram Odacrem/Flickr.

One of the things to understand about abuse victims who never hear an acknowledgment or apology from their abusers is that it can be a form of gaslighting. It leaves the survivor to not only wrestle with the physical and emotional wounds from what they experienced, but to also reconcile conflicting accounts from the abuser and outsiders with what they experienced firsthand. When an abuser is twisting what occurred and the public (or friends and family, for those who aren't famous) seems to be buying it or just letting them move on, it can mess with a survivor's sense of reality and ultimately, their trust in their own perceptions.

The lack of an apology can leave a survivor without official closure. As Dee Barnes said in her piece on Gawker, it's not that she's holding on to the past but that the past is holding on to her. In her case, she means physically as well as emotionally, in the form of recurring pain. But that statement can be applied for abuse victims in numerous forms. Without official closure, a survivor must learn to be at peace with an unresolved part of their past.

Seeing an abuser finally own up to what they did and be held accountable in the eyes of the public can be an important step toward healing and a powerful way to shine light on the truth of abuse for all to see.

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Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

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Eight months into the coronavirus pandemic, many of us are feeling the weight of it growing heavier and heavier. We miss normal life. We miss our friends. We miss travel. We miss not having to mentally measure six feet everywhere we go.

Maybe that's what was on Edmund O'Leary's mind when he tweeted on Friday. Or maybe he had some personal issues or challenges he was dealing with. After all, it's not like people didn't struggle pre-COVID. Now, we just have the added stress of a pandemic on top of our normal mental and emotional upheavals.

Whatever it was, Edmund decided to reach out to Twitter and share what he was feeling.

"I am not ok," he wrote. "Feeling rock bottom. Please take a few seconds to say hello if you see this tweet. Thank you."

O'Leary didn't have a huge Twitter following, but somehow his tweet started getting around quickly. Response after response started flowing in from all over the world, even from some famous folks. Thousands of people seemed to resonate with Edmund's sweet and honest call for help and rallied to send him support and good cheer.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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The subject of late-term abortions has been brought up repeatedly during this election season, with President Trump making the outrageous claim that Democrats are in favor of executing babies.

This message grossly misrepresents what late-term abortion actually is, as well as what pro-choice advocates are actually "in favor of." No one is in favor of someone having a specific medical procedure—that would require being involved in someone's individual medical care—but rather they are in favor of keeping the government out of decisions about specific medical procedures.

Pete Buttigieg, who has become a media surrogate for the Biden campaign—and quite an effective one at that—addressed this issue in a Fox News town hall when he was on the campaign trail himself. When Chris Wallace asked him directly about late-term abortions, Buttigieg answered Wallace's questions is the best way possible.

"Do you believe, at any point in pregnancy, whether it's at six weeks or eight weeks or 24 weeks or whenever, that there should be any limit on a woman's right to have an abortion?" Wallace asked.

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When it comes to the topic of race, we all have questions. And sometimes, it honestly can be embarrassing to ask perfectly well-intentioned questions lest someone accuse you of being ignorant, or worse, racist, for simply admitting you don't know the answer.

America has a complicated history with race. For as long as we've been a country, our culture, politics and commerce have been structured in a way to deny our nation's past crimes, minimize the structural and systemic racism that still exists and make the entire discussion one that most people would rather simply not have.

For example, have you ever wondered what's really behind the term Black Pride? Is it an uplifting phrase for the Black community or a divisive term? Most people instinctively put the term "White Pride" in a negative context. Is there such a thing as non-racist, racial pride for white people? And while we're at it, what about Asian people, Native Americans, and so on?

Yes, a lot of people raise these questions with bad intent. But if you've ever genuinely wanted an answer, either for yourself or so that you best know how to handle the question when talking to someone with racist views, writer/director Michael McWhorter put together a short, simple and irrefutable video clip explaining why "White Pride" isn't a real thing, why "Black Pride" is and all the little details in between.


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