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Why Taylor Swift Needs to Rethink "Look What You Made Me Do"

This is not yet another critique of Taylor Swift’s latest song. At Blackburn Center, we are not pop culture critics.

Instead, we are an organization that is dedicated to ending sexual and domestic violence, and all other types of violence. So why are we writing a blog about Taylor’s new song?

The answer is simple: the title and the chorus. “Look What You Made Me Do” may sound like an empowering choice for Taylor Swift and her fans, but for victims and survivors of domestic violence, it sounds a lot like something their abusers might say after harming them. This song title was poorly chosen at best, giving life to a way that many abusers avoid taking responsibility for their actions under the guise of a catchy pop song.

Like all other forms of violence and abuse, domestic violence is never the fault of the victim. When abusers lash out at their victims, it is not because of something the victim did or did not do. Instead, it is part of a dynamic of power and control that abusers exercise over their victims. Domestic violence can take many forms, including physical abuse, psychological abuse, verbal or emotional abuse, sexual abuse, destruction of property or pets, financial abuse or reproductive coercion. All types of domestic violence are damaging, and are the sole fault of the abuser.

While it may seem petty to call out Taylor Swift for the title of a song, these sorts of things matter in our culture. A pop song where the singer seeks to blame others for her own choices — look what you made me do — instead of taking ownership for her actions does not help anyone. And it sets a dangerous precedent for her young fans, where this type of attitude is acceptable or justified because their favorite singer used the same phrase.

Domestic violence is never your fault. It is only the fault of the abuser. If someone tells you, “look what you made me do” after hurting you, know that they are wrong: you did not make them do anything. They are responsible for their own actions.

Blackburn Center is here to help all victims of violence and crime. We offer a free 24 hour hotline where you can speak to someone at any time: 1-888-832-2272 or 724-836-1122. All of our services for victims are confidential and available free of charge.

If you would like to help us support victims of violence, you can do so by donating, volunteering, or getting involved with one of our advocacy groups, FAME or FAB.

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