FKA Twigs Takes Powerful Stance Against Asking Domestic Abuse Survivors ‘Why’d You Stay?’ During CBS Interview
Gayle King, who understands the sensitivity of the question, was hesitant to raise the topic during the interview.
February 18, 2021 at 4:00 pm
While opening up about the abuse she experienced during her relationship with Shia LaBeouf, singer FKA twigs took a stance on an inappropriate yet popular question asked of survivors of domestic abuse. Twigs, who sat down for an interview with Gayle King on CBS This Morning, gave a powerful response when asked why she stayed with the actor.
"Nobody who has been in this position likes this question," King said. "I often wonder if it is even an appropriate question to ask. You know the question: Why didn't you leave?"
The "Two Weeks" singer declined to answer the question and flipped the inquiry to the abuser.
"The question should be to the abuser. Why are you holding someone hostage with abuse?" the 33-year-old said. "People say it can't have been that bad. Or else she would leave. It's like, no, it's because it was that bad, I couldn't leave."
King thanked the singer before adding that she appreciated the correction.
"I love how she sort of corrected me," King said. "I appreciated that when she says, 'No, you shouldn't even ask that question.’'"
In her first TV intv, @FKATwigs is opening up about her former relationship with Shia LaBeouf.
She accuses him of sexual battery, assault & inflicting emotional distress — allegations he denies.
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) February 18, 2021
Advocates have been pleading with the public to stop asking the question, which experts commonly describe as complex and problematic. According to the advocacy group, Everyday Feminism, the question puts the burden on the survivors, demanding them to explain why they didn't make the abuse stop.
Twigs filed a lawsuit against LaBeouf in December, alleging abuse and assault, Pitchfork reported. Detailing the timeline of her relationship with the actor, she said there was a time where LaBeouf would jump the fence to her residence and leave small gifts, which she found to be “very romantic” at the time.
Looking back at the gesture, she now views it as a test of her boundaries. She added that more red flags followed in their one year together, with the 34-year-old allegedly making threats and physically attacking her.
Recalling a trip on Valentine's Day, she claimed LaBeouf was speeding down the motorway and threatening to smash the car into the side of a wall if she said that she didn't love him. The actor allegedly threw her against the car and strangled her after pulling over at a gas station. As for the witnesses at the gas station, Twigs said they didn't do anything.
"I felt so alone," she said. "That's why I wanted to come forward. Victims and survivors shouldn't have to feel alone."
She described LaBeouf’s actions as Love Bombing, a process of overwhelming her with love before tearing her down. She added that LaBeouf demanded at least 20 touches and kisses a day.
She said she filed the lawsuit with hopes of making sure he doesn't hurt anybody else.
"I wanted him to donate money to charity," she added. Twigs said she found relief when she called a hotline to get help.
"They didn't know who I was," she said. "I was just a girl on the other end of the phone who needed help."
In another interview with Elle, she said it's a miracle that she "came out alive."
“I know [this journey] is not going to be perfect. But I hope if I can make little steps, and people can see me taking my life back, it will inspire them," she said.
The singer, who was born Tahliah Debrett Barnett, also emphasized the significance of putting the burden on the abuser.
"I’ve given [LaBeouf] back his dysfunction now," she said. "I went on my whole Magdalene tour holding that dysfunction — it was with me on stage, every time I did an interview, on every red carpet. I was not enjoying any of it. Because I was still holding it. But now I’ve given it back. Now he gets to hold it. And everyone knows what he’s done.”
As Blavity previously reported, she began dating LaBeouf after taking part in his 2018 autobiographical film, Honey Boy. The couple eventually moved out of her London home and into his apartment in Los Angeles.
“He brought me so low, below myself, that the idea of leaving him and having to work myself back up just seemed impossible," she said. "It was actually very expensive, and a massive undertaking of time and resources, to get out.”