By Autumn McGowan
Web Content Contributor
If you have not heard the news buzzing around the internet, Britney Spears had a hearing for her conservatorship on Thursday, June 24th. If you still have no idea what I’m talking about, I recommend watching The New York Times documentary “Framing Britney Spears.”
Spears has been in a conservatorship since 2008 when she was deemed mentally unstable, leaving her father in control of her estate and her person. In recent years, the #freeBritney movement, started by long-time Spears fans, has taken to the streets and social media to protest her conservatorship, insisting that the pop star is being mistreated and that the arrangement with her father is abusive, although Spears had never said so publicly.
On the 24th, it all came to a head and something extraordinary happened. After years of being silent and telling the world she is fine, Spears used her voice; her real one. In the audio leaked from the hearing, the baby-voiced character her fans have come to hesitantly recognize is nowhere to be found.
She is clear, confident, and angry describing the abuse over the last 13 years at the hands of her father and her team in detail. She names everything on her timeline of events. Being overworked and forced to perform with a high fever, being suddenly put on lithium against her wishes, being pressured to use her birth control, and having her finances and every move controlled.
The audio confirmed what many fans suspected to be true and lit a fire underneath people everywhere.
While conservatorships may not be something that the average person is familiar with or has experienced, the details of Spears’ story resonate with survivors of abuse and those still in the clutches of abusive situations.
The feelings of being isolated and coercively controlled, being made to feel crazy, and being afraid to speak up out of fear that no one will believe it are familiar for anyone who has ever known abuse, whether it be mental, physical, or financial.
The thing about abuse is that it can only hide in the shadows for so long. Abusers benefit from ensuring that their victims feel alone and ostracized. This is why Spears’ hearing is so pivotal. It’s a story about someone standing up and saying, “This happened to me and it’s wrong.” In bringing her abuse to the light and sharing the story, she starts to peel back the layers of what is acceptable individually and on a larger scale.
Spears is not just a pop star. She is not just a woman. She is not just a survivor of abuse. She is all of these things and she a voice for those who feel silenced. Spears speaking in open court is not just a sensational piece of news, it’s the story of a woman taking her power back and subsequently showing millions of other victims of abuse that they can to.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, visit The National Domestic Violence Website or call 1800-799-SAFE (7233).
Featured Image by Autumn McGowan