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Michelle Branch, Patrick Carney and the nuances of how exactly we discuss abuse

The events escalated quickly.

In the first hours of Thursday morning, musicianMichelle Branchwrote onTwitterthat she had discovered her husband around 3 years, musicianPatrick Carney, with whom she’s two small kids, cheated on her behalf along with his manager while Branch was aware of the couple’s youngest child, who’s six months old. The girl Branch named in the tweet quickly took her social media marketing private. Branch didn’t, butdeleted the tweet.

On Friday, Branch filed from divorce from Carney. Immediately after, it had been revealed that Branch have been taken into police custody Thursday morning after police was called to the couple’s home in Nashville for a possible domestic disturbance.

It’s confusing and developing, but these events may bring more focus on a significant topic, one which, because of theJohnny Depp and Amber Heardtrial, appears to be in the news headlines increasingly more: intimate partner violence and control.

In the divorce filing, Branch cited “irreconcilable differences.” The marriage with Carney was her second. Branch once was married for greater than a decade toTeddy Landau, the bass player in her band at that time. They married when she was 21 and he was 40, and also have a 17-year-old daughter together. This is Carney’sthird marriage, having previously been married from2007 to 2009 to Denise Grollmus and from 2012 to 2016 to Emily Ward.

Multiple people turned her song titles into punchlines, especially “Goodbye for you.” Others made jokes ofconfusingBranch with musicianVanessa Carlton.

Branch and Carney, who’s a producer and the drummer for The Black Keys, met at a Grammy party in 2015. Her divorce from Landau was finalized later that year, as Carney’s was with Ward per year later. On social media marketing in the wake of the Branch divorce news,commentorswere quick to allege earlier infidelities. In a 2011Salonessay, writer Grollmus alleged Carney was unfaithful to her.

Michelle BranchSinger-songwriter Michelle Branch performing in concert during ‘The Hopeless Romantic Tour’ at Emo’s on July 30, 2017 in Austin, Texas. (Rick Kern/WireImage/Getty Images)The web was also quick to rallymostly behind Branch, the Grammy award winner of such hits as “Everywhere,” and “Happy Now,” who shot to stardom when she was still an adolescent. “Hopefully, Branch can move ahead out of this dude,”Jezebelwrote. Multiple people turned her song titles into punchlines, especially “Goodbye for you.” Others on social media marketing made jokes ofconfusingBranch with musicianVanessa Carlton;both have black hair and found artistic popularity as ladies in the first 2000s.

That Branch was arrested when police found her and Carney’s home didn’t deter the internet’s support. AsVultureamong others reported, Branch’s arrest was for misdemeanor domestic assault.TMZreported on court papers where “Branch admitted she slapped Carney ‘one to 2 times,’ and Carney didn’t sustain visible injuries.” Branch premiered from custody after making the $1,000 bond. Vulture attributed her early release partly in order to nurse the couple’s breastfeeding infant, who was simply named for Carney’s grandmother.

The LA Timesamong others commented on Branch’s police photograph, when a red mark is seen below her eye, but Branch includes aport wine stain birth markwhich she chooses to sometimes cover with makeup.

Some fans saw the alleged slapping as some sort ofrallying cry, a justification for thedeep betrayal. One argument is that violence is violence, and therefore, is definitely unacceptable. Others havebrought upreactive violence, a kind of aggression set off by an extended provocation or perceived threat. This is a term brought into popular discussion through the Depp and Heard trial. As Dr. Jordan Schaul said within an interview withThe Daily Dot: “Domestic abusers along with other perpetrators may intentionally elicit reactions from victims and targets to discredit them and justify their very own behavior.”

“We see one individual being the initiator and something person responding.”

A contested term through the Depp and Heard trial was “mutual abuse.” Aclinical psychologistwho provided couples counseling to Depp and Heard in 2015 alleged that has been their dynamic. The psychologist,Laurel Anderson, as reported bySalon, said in court that Depp claimed Heard “gave as effective as she got.” But a therapist interviewed bySalonsaid that therapists typically usually do not see mutual abuse, a dynamic of equal violence between partners. “We see one individual being the initiator and something person responding,” Dr. Kathy Nickerson, an authorized clinical psychologist,toldSalon. “There is a difference between harmful behaviors and abuse.”

Abuse may take different forms, including a persistent pattern of manipulation, control or denying someone’s reality. Infidelity can relate with abuse, as Dr. Robert Weiss writes inPsychology Today: “where the women and men who commitinfidelitysometimes victimize and abuse their betrayed partners usually within justifying or covering up their behavior.” Alongside threats, emotional abuse, or physical or sexual abuse, Weiss lists neglect as a kind of abuse, where an abusive partner isn’t “supporting one’s end” of responsibilities or “emotionally abandoning somebody and/or children.”

Simultaneously, women could be abusers, and men can and so are abused, including by female intimate partners. Based on theNational Coalition of Domestic Violence, 1 in 9 men experience severe domestic violence, in comparison to 1 in 4 women, yet in 1 in 4 men experience “some form ofphysical violence by a romantic partner,” in comparison to 1 in 3 women.”This consists of a variety of behaviors (e.g. slapping, shoving, pushing) and perhaps is probably not considered ‘domestic violence.'”


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As writerShannon Ashleyargues about Branch and Carney: “How our culture shifts depends upon our collective reactions at this time.Laughing, mocking, and making light of what’s happened will push us to keep to take care of future abuse in unsavory, unequal ways. Speaking openly, acknowledging the complexities and nuance that can help us to go forward and change our course.”

If the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial taught us anything, it’s that lots of people have a problem with nuance. The Branch and Carney incident could be yet another exemplory case of the complications of domestic violence, and the necessity to acknowledge its lasting impact.

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