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The Link Between the Capitol Insurrectionists and Abusers

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We’ve all scrambled to make sense of last week’s insurrection. The media has brought in constitutional experts and policy wonks to discuss impeachment, the 25th amendment, our federal insurrection laws. But if folks want another way to process the events of January 6, 2021 and consider how to prevent further escalation, talk to an abuse expert.

What abusers all have in common is how they prioritize their own desire above the safety, peace, and autonomy of their victim. Sometimes, the desire itself is to take away the other’s safety, peace and autonomy.

Last Wednesday, when Trump unleashed his mob onto the Capitol, we saw abuse happen in real time. The insurrectionists forced their way into a sacred building that belongs to us all during an important moment that also was ours. While chanting that it was “their house,” they ransacked rooms, smashed windows, busted down doors, and smeared feces on the walls. They came armed with guns and zip tie handcuffs, brandished Confederate flags, and planted bombs in buildings outside. They screamed, yelled, and banged, smashed, shattered, and stole. They filled the air with mace and gas. Some deftly staked out the place in tactical gear with military precision, while others seemed there for the chaos and cosplay, selfies and souvenirs. Some offenders say they were just going along with the crowd, there to witness a historic event, while others proudly reported that Wednesday morning they’d bid a final goodbye to their kids and were ready to “die for country.” They were there to terrorize the elected officials and staffers in the building with all of us watching. And they did so successfully.

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By all accounts, it was pandemonium and true terror in the Capitol. Staffers barricaded the doors in the Senate and House, elected officials were crawling through gallery rows of chairs, ducking in the balconies. They lost shoes, had panic attacks, made distress calls to their families. Three hundred escaping lawmakers, some refusing to wear masks at the height of the pandemic, packed into a tight room, with access to one shared bathroom. Already at least three representatives have tested positive for COVID-19. Speaker Pelosi said her staff cowered in the dark under a table for 2 ½ hours as people stood on the other side of the door, in her pillaged office, banging ominously like some big bad Camp Auschwitz wolf. No doubt many thought they were going to die. And let’s be clear, it was luck—and not the temperance of the mob or law enforcement—that limited the number of deaths to five that day. There’s no telling what would have happened if the offenders had crossed paths with their chosen prey, Pelosi, Congress Members Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris or even Vice President Mike Pence, for whom a noose hung outside.

washington dc january 06 2021 trump riots

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In law, we sometimes talk about pre-impact or pre-death terror. It’s the physical and mental experience of perceiving imminent fatal danger—think being inside a falling elevator or being tied up by an assailant who says he’s going to kill you—or, in this case, hearing, smelling, and watching an out-of-control mob dispatched by the head of state coming to kill you. The emotional experience of pre-impact or pre-death terror is one of mental distress, high anxiety, fear, hopelessness, helplessness and manifests in the body’s biomechanics: a racing heart, the inability to breathe, and profuse sweating. This dread and terror is an experience that victims of intimate partner violence, child abuse, and sextortion know well.

Those of us in the field of domestic violence recognize the behavior of the insurrectionists: their need for power and control, their sense of entitlement.

I don’t know how many participants in the insurrection are abusive in their personal lives. But it’s easy to fathom that individuals so willing to annihilate the safety and security of the terrified people in that building, not to mention all of us around the world watching in horror as the safety of our democracy was also under attack, were not novices to committing acts of abuse and non-consent. They were, after all, acting at the behest of a well-documented serial abuser, a man who fetishizes abuse for the sake of abuse.

washington dc january 06 2021 trump riots

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Those of us in the field of domestic violence recognize the behavior of the insurrectionists. We recognize their need for power and control, their sense of entitlement, their appetite for destruction, their false sense of victimhood. We’re unsurprised by their unwavering preference to believe fanciful tales that the election was stolen over the inconvenient truth that their cruel, impulsive, immature leader was less desirable for over half of voters than the moderate guy who won. We’re reminded of the ex who believes they could only be dumped if cheated-on, ignoring the fact that they’ve been an abusive fiend for months and aren’t an appealing option.

Getting ‘revenge’ on the liberals by putting them in fear for their lives and desecrating the Capitol is not unlike how abusers act in retaliation for a breakup: hindering law enforcement, threatening far worse consequences if the victim of their abuse tries to get help – it’s all too familiar.

washington dc january 06 2021 trump riots

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Our insurrectionists were both acting like abusers and, through their terrorizing, were also committing abuse. The Cycle of Violence, which keeps victims and abusers in a holding pattern of escalating abuse, has three phases we can easily recognize in the violence of Wednesday as well as the events leading up to it and those unfolding in its aftermath.

  1. Tension-building where the abuser is angry, critical, coercive, engaging in minor fights and arguments all the time; the victim describes feeling mounting dread and like he, she or they must always walk on eggshells. We saw that with all the threats and hostility on social media, the milder protests, the politicians ranting about the election being stolen, secret (and not so secret) negotiations to find more votes, and Trump ramping up the violent rhetoric.
  2. Explosive violence where the tension is broken through a violent outburst, which usually includes a physical or sexual attack, threats to destroy things important to the victim, screaming matches. This is the phase when injury or death is most likely to occur and when law enforcement may be called in by the victim or a witness. This was what happened at the Capitol on Wednesday.
  3. Honeymoon period where the tension has been cut and the abuser acts apologetic, regretful, and loving. The abuser may promise to change, get help, or say he didn’t intend to cause pain. There may be gifts. Whatever muted way we’re seeing the honeymoon phase, it’s by politicians who feel the country should move on, look forward, heal. The honeymoon never lasts.
    1. The three phases cycle over and over again, rinse-repeat, with the span between them getting shorter, and the violence growing each time. Love, hope, and fear keep the wheels rolling and make it hard to end a violent relationship. And sometimes it continues until the assault becomes a homicide.

      washington dc january 06 2021 trump riots

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      I’ve represented hundreds of victims of abuse in court. After a violent assault, the goal is always to help the survivor identify the attack as abuse and arrive at the mindset that it can’t be tolerated. The post-assault offender will usually be very conciliatory and apologetic, preaching for healing and therapy and promising to change. After the first assault in a relationship, few people leave the relationship for good. Statistically, it takes a survivor of intimate partner violence seven attempts to leave a relationship. It’s hard to resist apologies and pleas for forgiveness, deeply preferring that things just return to normal:the pair may share a lease, mortgage, kids, have the holidays coming up. Or the victim may feel he, she, or they have no other options, because the abuser has financial or immigration control, is threatening to retaliate online, come after their job or kids, or file false police reports.

      washington dc january 06 2021 trump riots

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      There’s a certain type of abuser who will only stop when the law is laid down. The victim may say no, get family and friends to intervene, send a cease and desist, get an order of protection. But nothing helps—the threats and demands, ultimatums and terrorizing visits—persist. This most persistent type of abuser is the one who, like the insurrectionists, are driven by dogma and outsized rage,the egotistical belief that he, she, or they deserves what they’re fighting for, and that their victim should be punished for daring to think otherwise. This abuser is not fazed by the fact that another person’s peace and security are being threatened because, in the abuser’s eyes, they’re the one truly injured.

      The biggest mistake we could make right now as a country is to fool ourselves into staying in this abusive relationship.

      The biggest mistake we could make right now as a country is to fool ourselves into staying in this abusive relationship. Wednesday night’s honeymoon period where Republican supporters of the insurrection were encouraging peace and reconciliation was quickly replaced with new tensions and threats of local insurrections on the state level and greater violence on Inauguration Day.

      washington dc january 06 2021 trump riots

      Kent NishimuraGetty Images

      Just like how the hours and days immediately following the end of a violent relationship are the most lethal for the victim, we can expect that decisive action against the insurrectionists, including the elected officials and conspirators critical in organizing it, will be dangerous and uncomfortable. Trump and his supporters will flail, threaten, and attack as we push to sanction and arrest. Some prosecutions will be won and others lost. However, the only way to end the vicious cycle of abuse with our democracy intact is to punish and incapacitate the abusers at all levels and to teach them there are consequences for hurting others– jail, legal fees, no-fly lists, job loss, impeachment, humiliation, custody issues. The alternative is for our country to remain stuck in a vicious cycle of abuse until our democracy is murdered once and for all.

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    Fashion

    Fendi Couture Brings Out Naomi Campbell, Bella Hadid, and Kate Moss

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    Virginia Woolf, Bella Hadid, and Kim Jones walk into a room. That’s the vibe Jones brought to Fendi couture with his highly anticipated debut for the Italian maison. In a year in which fashion took its rightful place on the back burner, the new creative director’s reimagining of Fendi gives us something to be excited about.

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    After leading Dior Men for three years and completing a tenure at Louis Vuitton (during the Supreme stint, of course), Jones took his transition from hyped-up menswear to couture womenswear literally. Citing Virginia Woolf as a major source of inspiration (Fendi is also presenting an exhibition of rare books and manuscripts to accompany the couture collection), Jones’s clothes blur gender lines with direct references to Orlando, Woolf’s novel which sees the protagonist switch from male to female mid-story with little explanation.

    Courtesy of Fendi / ALDOCASTOLDI

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    Lila Grace Moss Hack, daughter of Kate Moss

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    Naomi Campbell closing the show.

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    The resulting collection sees gowns spliced with tailored suits, clutches in the shape of books, quotes from the novel embroidered on accessories, and a pattern in the final looks pulled from the marble-bound books Woolf published with her husband Leonard Woolf for Hogarth Press.

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    The bag reads: “Nothing thicker than a knife’s blade separates happiness from melancholy.”

    Courtesy of Fendi / Daniele La Malfa

    The casting of the show presented the same level of thoughtfulness. Dandies wove through a complex glass maze wearing sweeping trains alongside every Super imaginable: Naomi Campbell, Bella Hadid, Christy Turlington, and Kate Moss and her daughter Lila Grace Moss Hack shared the stage, all faces familiar to the brand.

    To further drive home the importance of fashion (and its androgynous fluidity), the show notes iterate a line from Orlando: “Vain trifles as they seem, clothes have, they say, more important offices than to merely keep us warm. They change our view of the world and the world’s view of us.”

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    Who is Alev Aydin? – Meet Halsey’s Boyfriend and Child’s Father

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    Halsey began 2021 by unveiling some major news: she’s expecting her first child with screenwriter and film producer Alev Aydin. She shared the life update via Instagram on Wednesday, posting a series of photos where her baby bump is fully visible. “surprise! 🍼🌈👼🏻 Photos by @samdameshek,” Halsey, 26, wrote alongside the pictures, tagging Aydin, who is 37, according to People.

    Underneath Halsey’s post, he wrote, “Heart so full, I love you, sweetness” next to a pair of heart emojis. “I love you!!!!! And I love this mini human already!” she replied.

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    This will be the first child for Halsey, who has previously opened up about suffering a miscarriage and battling endometriosis. She paid tribute to her “rainbow baby,” a term commonly used for a child born after pregnancy loss, on Twitter, writing “my rainbow” alongside a matching emoji. Aydin retweeted the message on his own account.

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    Ahead, everything we know about Aydin, including his matching tattoo with Halsey and how long the couple has been dating.

    He’s a writer, actor, and producer.

    Like Halsey, Aydin is in the entertainment business. He created and produced the 2017 series Small Shots, wrote and directed a 2017 short called HipMen: Los Angeles, and has appeared in a few episodes of the daytime soap General Hospital, according to his IMDB. Aydin’s debut film was 2013’s Lonely Boy, in which he wrote, produced, and starred in the project about “romantic misadventures of a schizophrenic bachelor.”

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    He and Halsey were first linked together in October 2020.

    Although not many knew about Aydin and Halsey’s quiet relationship, the pair do follow each other on Instagram. They were even spotted shopping for art supplies at Los Angeles’s Blick back in October by the Daily Mail, which referred to Aydin as Halsey’s “pal.”

    The couple “have been dating for several months,” according to a People source. “Halsey has been low-key about their relationship,” the insider continued. “They were spending a lot of time at her house in the fall though, and it was obvious that she was happy.”

    Halsey was last linked to Yungblood in March 2020, following some flirty social media interaction. Before that, she dated Evan Peters for several months in late 2019 and early 2020. The Grammy nominee was also in an on-again, off-again relationship with G-Eazy until 2018.

    There’s evidence Aydin and Halsey are longtime friends.

    The new couple may not have been photographed by paparazzi until 2020, but the friendship between Aydin and Halsey extends back at least a year earlier. In March 2019, he shared a throwback photo of himself and Halsey from a Lakers game that January.
    “Back when I did a very cool thing I’ll prob never get to do again – massive thanks @iamhalsey for the courtside experience. Only ones not on our phones, actually watching the game. 🙏🏻” he wrote alongside the post.

    Halsey and Aydin in January 2019.

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    His Instagram is an ode to filmmaking.

    Aydin’s passion for movies runs far deeper than his profession. A scroll through his Instagram will find stills from movies such as Parasite, Get Out, and Romeo + Juliet. He also paid tribute to Oscar-winning filmmaker Martin Scorsese last November.

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    He and Halsey have matching tattoos.

    The timeline of Aydin and Halsey’s romance is unclear. But they did mark a major milestone by getting matching tattoos together in June. Tattoo artist Amanda Owley shared photos of the couple’s matching tattoos on their feet of the word “Seeds.” According to Owley’s caption, the tattoos were drawn “in each other’s handwriting.”

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    The Best Hair Fragrances For Extra Luxurious Strands

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    You might be wondering if you need a hair fragrance. After all, using one is inherently extra. (The proof is in the many indulgent scents available, and how the product adds yet another step to your hair routine.) We’re here to tell you that hair fragrances are more than just fancy, as experts say that they can be better for your hair than your everyday perfumes.

    According to cosmetic chemist Ginger King, hair fragrances typically use less alcohol (an ingredient that can strip hair of its moisture) than regular perfumes. In its place, you’ll find more water, as well as ingredients that can help improve the look and feel of your hair, Think: camellia oil (an emollient that can help condition), silicones (which are meant to help prevent frizz), and hyaluronic acid (a humectant).

    Devin Toth, hairstylist at New York City-based Salon SCK, echoes this, and his method for using one is to spritz at the roots and mid-shaft before quickly running your fingers through the length of your hair. The end result: “While you’re walking, hair-flipping, or putting your hair up in a ponytail, the scent will be desirable without becoming overbearing.”

    If you’re still not sure if hair fragrances deserve space on your vanity, Toth captures our sentiment entirely. “When I think of hair fragrances, I think of aromatic sprays for cocktails at reputable, fancy cocktail lounges,” he says. “Are they necessary? Probably not. Are they wonderful? Absolutely, and they definitely elevate your experience.” Read on for some of our favorites, below.

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    1

    Mojave Ghost

    Like the beloved eau de parfum, this hair perfume contains ambrette (a plant with a musky, amber scent), woody, and floral notes for a crisp yet enigmatic scent that you’ll be delighted to surround yourself with all day long.

    2

    Kayali Déjà Vu White Flower Hair Mist

    Huda Beauty
    sephora.com

    $40.00

    This spray—which is housed in a travel-friendly bottle—blends together floral notes like gardenia and tuberose with vanilla for a warm, modern fragrance. It’s earned King’s stamp of approval, as it doesn’t contain any alcohol that can dehydrate your hair. 

    3

    J’Adore Hair Mist

    This featherweight mist will leave your hair smelling like the classic eau de parfum: vibrant with hints of citrus and fruit. Its bottle is just as elegant and you’ll want to display it front-and-center on your vanity.

    4

    Brazilian Crush Body Fragrance Mist

    Sol de Janeiro
    soldejaneiro.com

    $19.00

    This mist captures the essence of the brand’s cult-favorite Brazilian Bum Bum Cream with its warm and delicious notes that include pistachio and salted caramel.

    5

    Rosa Nobile Hair Mist

    Acqua di Parma
    bloomingdales.com

    $60.00

    This mist bottles up the feeling of walking through a romantic, lush garden, as it swirls together rose and peony with musk and woody notes.

    6

    Sachajuan Protective Hair Perfume

    Sachajuan
    amazon.com

    $72.00

    This hair perfume is as refreshing for your strands as its clean fruit-floral scent. It’s formulated to help moisturize, reduce frizz, and pump up the shine to add oomph to your hairstyle when you need it.

    7

    Mix:Bar Cloud Musk Hair & Body Mist

    Spritz on this mist—which is made up of at least three percent fragrance oil—for a musky scent of vanilla bourbon. It is subtle, seductive, and—the best part—only $9.

    8

    Advanced Hair Mist in Vert

    Raincry
    raincry.com

    $53.00

    Within this elegant (and portable) bottle is a mix of warm florals that will linger on your strands long after you’ve spritzed it on. That, and a blend of amino acids to help strengthen hair.

    9

    L’Huile De Parfum Travel Size Fragrance-In-Hair-Oil

    Kérastase
    kerastase-usa.com

    $37.00

    This hair perfume oil’s notes will give you an irresistible halo of citrus and florals, while its blend of emollient oils (like sunflower seed) will nourish your hair and give it a fresh-from-the-salon softness and shine.

    10

    Cleopatra Hair Fragrance

    This slightly sweet, floral musk blend takes on a unique scent once it hits your hair and skin. It melds with your natural aroma, leaving behind sexy, yet sophisticated aura.

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