The Two Women Marilyn Manson *Didn't* Abuse
Updated: Mar 12
Photo by Andreas Lawen, Fotandi on Wikimedia Commons
Why do ex-wife Dita Von Teese and ex-fiancee Rose McGowan maintain they were never abused by shock rocker Marilyn Manson, unlike how actress Evan Rachel Wood and several other women have alleged?
I wondered about the unusual pair while I researched and wrote an earlier article this year, She Is Willing To Do Whatever It Takes To Be With Me, examining Manson's accusers' typical lack of self-reflection or self-awareness one customarily finds with abuse victims as to how they let this guy happen to them. The title comes from Manson's quote in a 2015 Guardian interview to describe the devotion of his then-girlfriend, which summed up the mental headspace of all of them, I thought.
When Wood labeled Manson as the previously unnamed celebrity who'd physically, emotionally and sexually abused her for years, Von Teese and McGowan publicly supported the accusers' stories, but noted that Manson had never treated them that way. "Please know that the details made public do not match my personal experience during our 7 years together as a couple," Von Teese wrote in her 'sole statement' on the matter. "Had they, I would not have married him in December 2005. I left 12 months later due to infidelity and drug abuse.
"Abuse of any kind has no place in any relationship. I urge those of you who have incurred abuse to take steps to heal and the strength to fully realize yourself."
McGowan also denied having been mistreated by Manson. "When he was with me, he was not like that,” she said. “But that has no bearing on whether he was like that with others, before or after."
McGowan has been more publicly commentative than has Von Teese, who stuck to her 'sole statement'.
Several other accusers reinforce Wood, along with celebrities like Trent Reznor with his own ugly stories about the kid from smalltown Ohio.
Two women stand alone, claiming no abuse.
Or are they lying too, as all his other accusers were until they finally told the ugly truth?
Make him fear the frying pan
"There is just no way that I would allow that to happen to me." - Marguerite Whitley, O.J. Simpson's first wife
I've looked for the answer in the months after my original article. Not all women who've been with abusers were themselves abused. I want to help women better understand their complicity in withstanding abusive relationships. Unless a woman is forced into a relationship by trafficking, or a restrictive religion or culture, she makes choices every step of the way, sometimes unconsciously, sometimes informed, like Evan Rachel Wood, along the downwardly-spiraling abuse staircase.
What's more interesting than why some were abused by a given man is why some weren't. Why not?
I haven't found much information anywhere on why a man abuses some women but not others.
O.J. Simpson's first wife, Marguerite Whitley, springs to mind.
They were married for twelve years, from 1967 to 1979 and she claims he never hit her, not once. "If he did he would have got a frying pan upside the head," she told Barbara Walters in a 1995 20/20 interview.
Whitley asserts the marriage broke up over O.J.'s celebrity. She was a private person and as O.J. once stated, "...we can't walk down the street without causing a commotion."
Simpson's celebrity clearly wasn't a problem for teenage Nicole Brown, who met him just as his first marriage was ending. Her life achievement goal in high school was to 'marry a wealthy man', and she seem as obsessed throughout the rest of her life with him as he was with her.
Indulging a man's excessive control needs, feeding his narcissism and tolerating his abuse are the lengths at which Brown, and other women, will go to 'do whatever it takes to be with him'.
Others may set boundaries for the man, either stated or simply expressed in how much nonsense she'll tolerate when he acts up.
I have a theory about that...
I suspect not all abusive men are 'classic' abusers. They're not born to be bad, evil from the moment they started walking. I suspect everyone, women included, have the potential to be abusive, but only with the right (wrong?) circumstances aligned. I have one ex-boyfriend who stalked the ex-girlfriend who came after me, which was hard for me to wrap my head around when she told me years later. "X? X did that?" I kept saying, slack-jawed.
I found my own inner abuser twenty years ago when I underwent what I think of as my Angry Bitch years after a bad breakup and much romantic disappointment to follow. I never hit anyone but I was emotionally abusive. Angry, hostile, and drinking too much didn't improve my communication skills.
I think we all possess The Monster. It resides within, along with our better 'Buddha nature'.
Marguerite Whitley sounds like she tolerated no crap from O.J.
Maybe he wasn't allowed to hit her, and he knew it. Maybe he could imagine a frying pan aimed at his head without her ever stating it.
Maybe he was not yet a full-blown narcissist. Maybe he wasn't famous enough, or powerful enough, to set the new rule: You'll accept the beatings, or I'll find someone who will. Will you do whatever it takes to be with me?
But, I suspect, mostly he knew on some level he couldn't get away with that shit, the way we all know what we can and can't get away with with our partner. Maybe s/he won't tolerate dishonesty, infidelity or insults. Maybe you can bring up stuff from their past, but not that one thing. If we want to keep the peace, if we want to keep our partner, we know what we must do, and not do.
Manson ex-wife Dita Von Teese on Wikimedia Commons: She won't take your shit.
Rose McGowan. CC0 2.0 image by Philip Ng on Wikimedia Commons. She won't take your shit either.
If there's one thing that became glaringly clear about Nicole Brown Simpson, it's that she was willing to tolerate his abuse. I'm not sure why as she didn't emerge from an abusive household and childhood, but not recognizing bad, abusive men is a common weak spot for many women. Their abuse susceptibility is increased if they're not strong enough to live independent lives of their own.
What We Can Learn From Nicole Brown Simpson's Bad Choices
What Abuse Victims Can Learn From Prison Groupies
Now I wonder about Dita Von Teese and Rose McGowan. Did they also not tolerate abuse from Manson? Did it never come up because of the boundaries they set, even unconsciously, if he'd never tried to control them, because he knew they wouldn't put up with his shit?
Where are your boundaries?
I have always maintained that abuse contains a certain level of choice, and Manson's Guardian quote effectively sums it up. How much is a woman willing to do to be with him?
I've tried to understand where Nicole Brown got the idea it was okay to tolerate O.J.'s abuse and I still don't. Maybe it was simply a lack of discussion during her girlhood. I grew up trained by my mother never to put up with crap from boys and later men, years before I was old enough for either. She drilled it into my head that I should never tolerate abuse, and never let a man control me.
My Mother Taught Me Never To Tolerate Abuse
This Is What Zero Tolerance For Abuse Looks Like
The #1 Red Flag Of The Abusive Man
I'm nearly sixty, and I've spent my entire life not being abused by partners. I've never been hit by one. Never been called a filthy name or put down by one.
Maybe an early boyfriend, when I was 19. I think there was one time I lightly slapped him for something disrespectful he said, and by light slap I mean little more than a gentle tap on the cheek. That said, today I concede I was wrong to do that. Striking, however without injury, is always wrong, especially with heightened emotional response, unless you're physically defending yourself.
I set boundaries with him, as I did all my boyfriends and partners. I think they did too. It's all part of being in a healthy relationship.
It's possible to live an abuse-free life if you make the choice to do so.
Some men have abusive personalities, entrenched in rock-solid male entitlement and privilege. Many people may develop it later, due to life circumstances, a substance abuse problem, or, I wonder, finding those who are willing to take their crap.
We all take our private crap out on others at one time or another. We all have deep-seated psychological problems that may stem from serious trauma or, as psychologist Mark Epstein notes in his book The Trauma of Everyday Life, from traumas that engrave themselves on our brains even as infants that we can never consciously remember, but they're there, impacting our views and values and reactions and filling us sometimes with unnamed fear we don't understand.
Even people from happy, tightly-knit families have these unconscious dysfunctions. It's what makes us human. Our brains, according to theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, are THE most complex systems in the universe, and the more complex a system is, the more ways it can malfunction.
None of us are immune.
But what we can do, if we want to avoid abusive relationships, is to educate ourselves on the warning signs of an abusive partner, but also self-examine and ask ourselves an all-important question: Do I Have A Thing For Abusers?
A far more important question young women need to ask themselves as they embark on a romantic life is What am I willing to do to be with him?
It's a particularly critical question if one's goal is to marry wealth, or to be with a powerful celebrity. Rich men often expect to control their women, who are expected to take his crap. It's hard enough to snag a rich or even just well-off man if you're not as gorgeous as Nicole Brown, and the pool shrinks
considerably if you throw in And he can't be controlling and abusive.
The day of the O.J. verdict, I went home and wandered around my apartment asking aloud, "Was he worth it, Nicole? Was he rich enough, handsome enough, famous enough, cool enough for you? Was he worth all the beatings, Nicole? Was he worth it?"
She did whatever it took to be with him.
Did you like this post? Would you like to see more? I lean left of center, but not so far over my brains fall out. Subscribe to my Substack newsletter Grow Some Labia so you never miss a post!