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Alleged Jonathan Majors Texts Really Don’t Prove What His Lawyers Think They Do

Jonathan Majors as Jesse Brown in Devotion

On March 30, Jonathan Majors’ lawyers publicly released text messages that they believed would clear his name of the assault charges against him. However, it has not had the impact they expected, as the texts have instead raised an important discussion on domestic abuse and the tendency of victims to self-blame due to gaslighting, manipulation, and fear.

Majors was first arrested on March 25 after a domestic dispute with a 30-year-old woman. He was released from custody the same day but has been officially charged with assault, attempted assault, harassment, and aggravated harassment.

Majors and his legal team have adamantly denied the charges against him and claimed that the woman recanted her accusations. As proof, they provided TMZ with three text messages that they say the alleged victim sent to Majors shortly after the incident. The messages were very apologetic, as she inquired if he was alright and tried to assure him that she’d see to it he wasn’t charged. She also insisted that she requested no charges be filed and that the strangulation accusation be dropped. One of the texts she sent read, “I told them [the police] it was my fault for trying to grab your phone.”

While Majors’ lawyers present the texts as the victim refuting her allegations and firm proof of his innocence, the texts alone do not absolve him of guilt. In fact, many are pointing out that, although nothing has been proven yet, the texts actually do the opposite of what the lawyers must have intended and seem to suggest that the woman was a victim of domestic abuse.

Why Jonathan Majors’ texts don’t prove his innocence

The first thing that caught most readers’ attention was the line in which the woman blamed herself for what happened. While she did deny the strangulation charges, she didn’t deny that a physical altercation occurred. In fact, the statement almost seems to confirm that things did get physical—she specifically mentions having visible injuries—but that she thought his actions were justified and that she was at fault for trying to grab his phone. It was especially concerning that she wrote that statement taking the blame alongside mentioning having just been released from the hospital for her injuries.

According to the Mayo Clinic, self-blame is very common in domestic abuse cases. This is because abusers rarely take responsibility for their actions and will often try to make the victim think they’re the ones in the wrong and, unfortunately, many believe them. In addition to a victim potentially being gaslit or manipulated into believing they’re at fault, some victims also self-blame out of fear of retaliation. With the text messages showing a woman blaming herself for an incident and nearly pleading with Majors to believe that she’s not pressing any charges, it reads to many like a “textbook” example of someone self-blaming while suffering from domestic abuse.

The text messages also raised more questions about the alleged incident. Prior to the leak, reports had suggested that the woman had sustained some “minor injuries,” but the texts see that her condition was far more concerning, as she claims she collapsed and passed out during the incident, requiring Majors to call 911. The woman being hospitalized and given a pamphlet with information on strangulation also seems to prove the severity of her injuries.

Why the conversation surrounding Majors’ texts is important

Ultimately, the texts alone do not prove anything—and again, we do not know anything more than what has been provided and Majors maintains he has not committed a crime. While the texts do raise many questions and are being seen by many as an indication of patterns of domestic abuse, they do not prove that the allegations against Majors are true. However, they also certainly do not exonerate him. Despite this, the texts have raised an important discussion of domestic abuse, and it is very encouraging that so many individuals are aware of domestic abuse and able to detect potential indicators of it.

Sadly, though, there are still many (mostly male) social media users trying to claim that the texts prove Majors is innocent or even that the woman is the abuser, despite there being no charges or evidence against her. Even though all the details aren’t known, some are claiming that the woman collapsed from having a panic attack or collapsed while attacking him. Others are insisting that she “lied” and admitted to lying, although the messages show her adamantly refusing to press charges or accuse him of anything.

Even more concerning are some claims that Majors did have a right to retaliate or lay hands on her for grabbing his phone or that her touching his phone was somehow an “attack” and required him to react in “self-defense.”

It is becoming more common for women who are victims of abuse to be accused of just being “emotional” or even of being the abusers themselves. Meanwhile, many victims also face victim-blaming which, in turn, can increase their tendency to self-blame.

It is important to remember that an abuse victim taking the blame for an assault or suddenly recanting allegations does not immediately clear the abuser’s name nor make the victim a liar and abuser. It might simply mean that there is manipulation and fear taking place and that those outside the situation need to wait to pass judgment until all the facts arise. Additionally, a woman touching a man’s phone is not grounds for assault or abuse, and we must stop normalizing men (allegedly) having outrageous reactions to everything a woman does.

(featured image: Sony)

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Rachel Ulatowski is an SEO writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, YA literature, celebrity news, and coming-of-age films. She has over two years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.