(Trigger warning: abuse, rape)
Earlier today, I was notified that The Friendly Atheist, Hemant Mehta, is launching a Kickstarter for a book called God Is An Abusive Boyfriend (And You Should Break Up). If it isn’t obvious from the title, the book is about making specious comparisons between domestic violence and religion. As someone who was raised strict Catholic and has had abusive partners in the past, I’d like to list six things my abusive exes did to me that god never did to me!
1) Hit me
2) Hold me down and force me to have sex while I begged him to stop
3) Show up at my house/workplace/school unannounced to try and “win me back” after I left him
4) Give me expensive gifts and then use them as emotional blackmail when I was upset with him
5) Blow up over petty disagreements so I was always afraid of “setting him off”
6) Intentionally humiliate me in front of his family and friends, then play it off as a joke when I got upset
Some things worth highlighting from the Kickstarter:
- “If you’re not religious, we hope you find it entertaining and informative.” I agree, jokes about domestic violence are super entertaining!
- From the video: “Personally, this is the most fun I’ve ever had on a writing project.” To respond to that, I’d like to quote fellow Skepchick Julia Burke: “WOMEN ARE NOT YOUR FUCKING POP CULTURE REFERENCE PAWN IN YOUR GILMORE GIRLS ATHEISM.”
- “We understand some people will have strong feelings about this project, but it’s certainly not our goal to offend anyone.” Oh, well in that case!
Are there instances where religion is used to justify the oppression of women? Absolutely. But to define someone else’s personal religious beliefs for them while making a hacky joke about domestic violence is just gross and extremely disappointing. And yet, people still wonder why there aren’t more women involved in organized atheism.
Rather than give to this Kickstarter, why not donate some money to a local domestic violence shelter? I don’t know what else to say to express my serious disappointment, so I’ll just let Tyra Banks speak for me.
EDIT (August 7, 2014): Hemant has announced he is cancelling the Kickstarter.