Post Separation Abuse: Kanye West and Kim Kardashian

Kaylene is a first year LLB Law student from Malaysia. Her interests are politics, feminism and racism against Asians. Outside of university, you can likely find her in a Waterstones or exploring London.

Amid a continuing global pandemic, the start of another war in Europe, and the continuation of warfare around the world, why should the divorce of a celebrity couple be of concern?

As featured in many articles recently, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian have been going through divorce proceedings and Kardashian has recently been declared ‘legally single’. However, Kanye’s behavior throughout the proceedings has been extremely concerning. Some of his actions so far range from erratic Instagram posts to his latest music video depicting Pete Davidson, Kardashian’s new boyfriend, being decapitated and accusing Kardashian of kidnapping their daughter. His erratic actions have not only been directed towards his ex-wife and family but towards his acquaintances and other celebrities as well. One of the most recent examples includes talk show host, Trevor Noah, who commented on the situation and criticized West. In response, West resorted to racial slurs which resulted in a 24-hour suspension from Instagram. However, this discussion would be incomplete without mentioning that Kanye West suffers from bipolar disorder. Whilst he deserves all the support and help available to him, it does not make his actions any less problematic. His behaviour is clearly very disturbing, unpredictable, and dangerous to those around him. Therefore, despite all the current issues in the world, the divorce of this celebrity couple remains an important topic because it is a prominent and public case of what is known as post-separation abuse. 

Post-separation abuse, also sometimes called post-separation control, is a form of abuse used by people to maintain power and control over their partners, even after the relationship or marriage is over or called off. It is an issue that tends to affect women although men can obviously be victims as well. Abusers often use control tactics such as attempts to discredit their partners or slander them online. According to the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, in the UK, it is seen as abusive if there consists violent or threatening behaviour, controlling or coercive behaviour, and/or other forms of abuse. This is also supported by the Duluth wheel of Post Separation Power and Control, which was created to provide a more precise explanation of these abusive tactics. Some categories on this wheel include using harassment and intimidation while discrediting the victim as a mother. Post-separation abuse is a common occurrence, but it has severe effects; the victims of post-separation abuse can have experiences that range from emotional and psychological torture, physical abuse to parental alienation, and some even take their own lives out of desperation. 

Despite the serious nature of this issue, West’s actions have become somewhat of a joke on social media. Perhaps because this is a celebrity couple, there will always be people who enjoy their drama or perhaps it is the meme culture in the 21st century that has desensitized our society to take everything as a joke. Society is simply too used to this played-out stereotype of the man having to fight to win back their significant other; simply put, society has, in many ways, romanticized abusive behavior. When the media constantly tells us that a man aggressively pursuing you or refusing to give up even after the relationship is over is romantic, then it is no real surprise that girls and boys think that this is normal or even encouraged behavior.

As a result of all the debate and discussion online, a question emerges: If a woman such as Kim Kardashian “with all the money and resources in the world, can’t safely and simply divorce her husband without being harassed and stalked, then it’s about time we stop asking women in domestic violence situations the question ‘why doesn’t she just leave?’”. It would seem, regardless of the amount of money you possess, you can never seem to truly escape this type of situation. Far too often do we see headlines where women are killed by their husbands after divorce or for even asking. It truly makes you contemplate how women’s lives are constantly at risk and how society needs to change.

Bibliography

Beaumont-Thomas, Ben. “Kanye West Suspended from Instagram after Slur against Trevor Noah.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 17 Mar. 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/music/2022/mar/17/kanye-west-suspended-from-instagram-after-slur-against-trevor-noah

“Domestic Abuse Act 2021.” Legislation.gov.uk, Queen’s Printer of Acts of Parliament, https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2021/17/contents/enacted

Mannie, Kathryn. “Kanye West Releases 2nd Music Video Depicting Attack on Pete Davidson – National.” Global News, Global News, 11 Mar. 2022, https://globalnews.ca/news/8675735/kanye-west-pete-davidson-video-eazy/

Kenney, Mary Kate. “Saw Someone Talk about How If Kim K, with All the Money and Resources in the World, Can’t Safely and Simply Divorce Her Husband without Being Harassed and Stalked, Then It’s about Time We Stop Asking Women in Domestic Violence Situations the Question ‘Why Doesn’t She Just Leave?”.” Twitter, Twitter, 4 Mar. 2022, https://twitter.com/marykatekenney/status/1499545349911982108?s=20&t=e5UCsY5G6yZIW-Q2X4xpeg

Mahdawi, Arwa. “Whatever’s Happening with Kanye and Kim, His Behavior Shouldn’t Be Normalized | Arwa Mahdawi.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 19 Feb. 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/feb/19/kim-kardashian-kanye-west-week-in-patriarchy

“Wheels.” Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs, 24 Apr. 2021, https://www.theduluthmodel.org/wheels/

https://www.coercive-control.com/post-separation.html

[Image taken from The Sun.]

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