Guest post: The abused are taught to fear their abuser

Originally a comment by Acolyte of Sagan on When euphemisms won’t do.

Whether he’s (still?) fucking her or not, Trump certainly displays an unnatural obsession for Ivanka, first displayed (as far as I can tell) in that flesh-creepingly sinister photograph of them as the teenage child cups his chin and gazes at his face (not into his eyes, he’s leering straight at the camera), and with his left hand placed uncomfortably close to her pubic region.

The more I see that picture the worse it looks. There has always been something about it, apart from the obvious, that has bothered me that I could never quite put my finger on, but the penny has finally dropped – it’s Ivanka’s face.

As a former emergency foster carer I have worked closely with Social Services and other child protection agencies, but what I am about to say applies equally to adults in abusive relationships.

The abused are taught to fear their abuser, and part of that is to not show open contempt or hatred in public or else! When put in the position of having to be in public with their abuser the abused will try to pretend that all is well, but very few people possess the acting skills to carry this off perfectly, and photographs are often the best place to spot certain tells.

The abuser will be perfectly happy and natural in a posed picture with their victim, but the abused will not; their stance will often look rigid with the body held slightly away from the abuser, the smile -if there is one – will often look forced, and so-on.

In that famous photograph I look again at Ivanka and she looks uncomfortable; there’s no smile on her face, she looks frightened, ‘haunted’ almost. She certainly doesn’t look like a daughter happy to be posing with her daddy.

I’ve got a thousand photographs of me with my daughters – admittedly none posed like that one! – and I can guarantee that in none of those snaps are my children looking at me like Ivanka is looking at Donald.

I have, however, seen a lot of pictures of abused with abuser, whether the abuse is sexual, physical or otherwise, and whether the abuse is parent-child or partner-partner, and I have seen Ivanka’s face in so many of those pictures.

So, what is my point here? I’m not entirely sure. Was Donald abusing the young Ivanka? Maybe she has evidence and is using that to get whatever she wants from him, or he is keeping her close to him to keep an eye on her and keep her from spilling the beans. Hell, maybe she even managed to ‘normalise’ the abuse as so many victims do, and now a relieved daddy is throwing privileges at her.

Or maybe I’m just letting the horrors from my past cloud my judgement of the present.

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