My Guest Spot on a Talk Show Goes Badly

I am a guy. I am a survivor of domestic violence. I went on a national TV show in New York City recently to tell my story of abuse to help other men and boys in Kansas City and beyond feel safe coming forward to tell their stories, too. 

But something unfortunate happened. The host engaged me in victim-blaming and passed judgment on me.

The episode of The Mel Robbins Show, titled “The Secret World of Abused Men,” aired in February in almost 200 cities, including the Kansas City area. It’s now on YouTube.

The host is not a therapist. She’s an author and motivational speaker. As a talk show host, she has a giant platform to help people, but in this situation, she did not. She helped perpetuate the notion that domestic violence survivors are to be blamed and judged for so much in our abusive situations.

During the show, Mel was critical of how I felt – and still feel – for my ex-partner and abuser. It was wrong of her to criticize me like this. Survivors are entitled to feel any way we want – then, now, or in the future. We should never be blamed for our emotions. 

My ex-partner and abuser was my best friend. He was the love of my life. And I will always love him. Those are my feelings, not hers. It’s OK that I felt or feel that way.

Additionally, Mel stated that she needed to have a serious conversation with me about how I feel about my ex-partner. In another moment, she expressed wanting to get something through to me about how I feel about love.

Survivors of domestic violence do not need to be condescended to. We don’t need lectures.

Parents sit their children down and have a “serious conversation” about how they did something bad. And parents sit their children down and tell them they need to get their message “through to them” to teach them a lesson.

Mel could have listened to my story of abuse and offered me her support in that interview. She could have surrounded me with resources so that I could move forward and make my own decisions. Instead she chose to tell me, a survivor, what she wanted me to do and give her opinions. That is wrong.

Lastly, Mel expressed an opinion about how I feel and said she thinks that is why I am trapped by 

my ex-partner. I am not trapped by him. Mel made a judgment about my situation, and she tried to minimize how successful I have been in my recovery and healing. That is wrong.

[Note: Camp magazine reached out to “The Mel Robbins Show” for a response, but has not received one.] 

Some of Kansas City’s men and boys are survivors of domestic abuse, too. Let’s do the right thing for them. 

Create a safe space to have survivors come forward with their stories of abuse. Listen. Offer support. Make no judgments. Give no opinions. Surround them with resources. 

And our brothers, uncles, primos, sons, boyfriends, and dads will make the best decisions for their healing and recovery. 

Help can always be found at the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233.

This article of erasing toxic masculinity is brought to you by Ron Blake, and you can share your stories with him at [email protected]

Ron Blake

Ron Blake, a personal fitness trainer in Phoenix, has been training individuals and groups for 15 years. He has also coached high school cross-country and track teams in Indiana and California. He was born in Gary, Ind., and Indiana University awarded him bachelor and master's degrees (as long as he agreed to quietly leave the state!) Visit his website, for more information.