Cognitive Dissonance

Let’s just say it’s been an interesting 2 weeks.

I posted Innocence Lost after being directed to a video online. Those YouTube videos tend to affect me.

The video was more of the same from Hafez, with the exception this time he had a special guest star.  The woman I’ve written about in this series, ____. Her specific words in the video you can seek out and find on your own. Her specific words to me in response to this series and my actions I will share in a separate blog to follow this one.

This blog is about the disconnect we see in those who live in abusive situations, and how we manage that.

I’ve needed to do some extra soul searching over the past month since Black BEAT.

I’ve needed to ask myself tough questions, admit tough truths, and decide on a course of action good or bad,

There are things about those who’ve suffered from abuse that to look outside in seem illogical.  I could type until my fingers bleed about why the victim stays – why they defend their abuser – why they return.  All of that does nothing, absolutely nothing, to erase the abuse itself.

I wrote in this series that I wanted the reader to look at the behavior and reach their own conclusions. I stand by that. Some will read and determine there is nothing to see there.  Others will read and determine that the behavior is excessive, even for a BDSM relationship.

Before I continue, I want to direct you to a condition known as Stockholm Syndrome. It is real, and it exists.  The article in the link goes into more detail but some of the things that you will see are:

  • victims who defend their abuser
  • victims who lash out at those who offer help
  • victims who return to their abusers
  • victims who feel obligated to protect their abusers

While I cannot say to a certainty that a medical professional could that the message I received is an example of Stockholm Syndrome, I can share it and allow the reader to reach their own conclusion.

It runs deep though, and to ignore that is to ignore the damage that happens when we turn a blind eye to abuse.

The truth of the matter is that there are multiple examples of this behavior I could have chosen.  I won’t go so far as to call abuse an epidemic, but it exists.  The further truth is that I chose this example because it played out publicly, it needed to be addressed, and Hafez is not one of my favorite people.

In telling this particular story, I allowed my distaste for him to expose others in a way I never intended.  I have to own that mistake and deal with the consequences of it.  It might mean losing friendships.  It might mean my credibility takes a hit.  While none of that is an attractive option, I pushed this particular rock down hill so if it rolls over me in the process, I have only myself to blame.

I own an apology to a friend because of this series.  I put them in a position they did not consent to.  They may forgive me for it, but I should have been a better friend and not put them in this position to begin with.  Saki, I am sorry.

I owe an apology to those who have read the series.  I apologize for triggers tripped, minds blown and associations questioned.

If I’ve learned nothing from this series, it is that managing abusive behavior is bigger than just me, and that my platform also needs to be bigger than just me.

I’ve had to ask myself is this a personal vendetta?  The answer I reached was no.  While the constant reader might disagree I know that it is not.

While I was gifted? cursed? with this story in my heart its always been bigger than the people named inside.

It’s always been about the bigger picture, the greater cause.  I can admit though that it was made simpler due to my distaste for Hafez.

The next question I asked was my intent, what was it when I published this series?

Did I seek to defame the character of that man or did I mean to share a cautionary tale so that others could learn?

As I reviewed the prior entries in this series, it was clear to me my intent was the greater cause.

If my intent was the greater cause then would that cause be injured if I altered or removed the series?

My response to that was yes it would injure the cause. If I allow my voice, and by extension her voice to be silenced by a man on a mission to rehab his image more harm would result in that action. That leaves me in a pickle of a situation though and the options available to me are limited.

I find myself in the position of ignoring a request that was made or granting that request and starting over.

While contemplating the request I had to factor in what I wrote, the unexpected consequences of what I wrote, the truth of what I wrote, and where I would go from either position I eventually took.

I had to factor in what I know about victims, their behaviors, and the possibility that someone might not see the story and be victimized at a later date.

I’ve always wanted Vizionz to be a platform, and it appears that day has arrived.  With that platform comes a responsibility that I have to take seriously and set aside personal preferences – not just my own but that of individuals as well.

I also needed to understand that while I might mean well, and I might be doing the right thing, that my being right is not the bottom line.

So here we are…. an additional entry into the series I keep trying to leave static.

The end decision is that the Hafez series will stand.  In the next [and hopefully final] entry I will share the message I got from someone indicating that they were ____, and as always allow the reader to reach their own conclusions.


Aphrodite Brown


About Aphrodite Brown

Aphrodite Brown is the owner and creator of Vizionz from the Bottom. Vizionz is a life and culture blog covering all aspects of life from pop culture, to politics, to parenting, with an extra heavy dose of alternative lifestyle & sex positive living.

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16 Responses to Cognitive Dissonance

  1. Saki says:


    I think you know me well enough to know that I don’t say anything that I don’t mean…so…there’s that! At any rate…I haven’t called you names…you know better than that…I’ve merely spoken the truth about you…you know…as you profess to have done here about others. Funny…you would like for them to accept your version of their truth…yet you have a hard time accepting my version of your truth…but alas…that’s the double standard within which you operate…and clearly…you’re at peace with that! If I’d called you names…they’d be far worse than anything that I’ve written here…and you know me well enough to know that as well! Given what I know about you…and the life you’ve lived…I could come up with quite a few names…that would certainly far outshine anything that I’ve said thus far! I don’t rotate and play with it…nor do I play reindeer games when it comes to the dozens!

    I hold no delusions of changing your mind…at least not by anything I say here…because at the end of the day…you and I know that my words…and the words of anyone else for that matter…do nothing but cause you to dig in your heels…and hang on tighter to that bone…especially when they are the exact opposite of what you’d like to hear!

    I stand by my statements here…and will testify to their truthfulness under oath…if need be! The question is…can you say the same? Be careful how you answer that…there’s back-up afoot!


  2. Saki says:


    Whether you approve the comments or not doesn’t stop them from being truthful. If you feel the need to not approve them then don’t…and they just won’t be here for your readers to view…but they won’t be any less valid because the public doesn’t get the chance to read them!

    Again…it’s not about the last word…never has been (that’s your hang-up not mine…please avoid deflection and stay on topic…sigh)…it’s about your refusal to do what is right…for the person that you profess to care so much for…so much so that you wrote several blog posts about their life. Now that she’s asking you to take them down…why can’t you apply some of that same care…and honor her request? Or at the very least edit them and remove their names. That’s a rhetorical question by the way…I don’t really expect an answer from you!

    I did indeed say all of those things about you…none of which were slanderous…because as Nichiren & President Ikeda have both stated…it isn’t slander if it’s the truth! Your actions are exactly what I labeled them as…whether you admit it here or not! The Universe knows…and that’s enough for me! I merely stated it to you…in the hope that doing so would somehow get you to see the error of your ways…so much for that! However…all is not lost…because I have an even better way of getting my point across…and it works…it always does…in whatever way is necessary…to get you to see what you’re refusing to see! You may never take the posts down…but you’ll certainly pay the price for your actions…of that I’m certain! I’m at peace with that!


    • Aphrodite Brown says:

      Of course I will approve the comments you know that I always do. View me as you wish, you always will. Your impression doesn’t equal truth, but you also know that. If you don’t expect an alteration or answer from me, then your repeated presence here can only be viewed as you determination to have the last word. You’ve made many things clear, I’ve agreed, and you are now repeating yourself. The only other possibility would be that you want me to capitulate to what you think is right. If you are at peace with it, then perhaps demonstrating that peace by not continuing to respond might demonstrate that more than words.

      • Saki says:


        I don’t want you to capitulate to what I think is right…I simply want you to honor her request and either remove the series…or at the very least remove their names from the posts. That doesn’t in any way diminish what you’ve written…it merely shows that as a blogger…and a human being…you have some integrity. Hmm…what a novel thought!

        Let the record reflect…I’ll demonstrate my peace however I see fit. In the interim…I’ll continue to do what I need to do…and I’m sure you’ll do the same!


        • Aphrodite Brown says:

          Okay. And I suppose that means you also have access to the email address and the IP address that the message was sent from, like I do? So if it came from a Washington DC IP address and not from where she currently lives which is not DC would I be off the hook then? Or will you just keep coming back here and calling me names and repeating yourself?

          • Saki says:


            Again…sigh…stick to the topic…geez! What does the IP address have to do with you taking the posts down? Nothing! What does the IP address have to do with you removing their names from the posts…nothing! But of course…deflection once again rules your day…and here we are!

            You’re digging in your heels…and that’s fine…The Universe will uproot you regardless…just keep living!

            You’ll only be off the hook when you either remove the posts…or remove their names from them…nothing else matters! I’m done trying to convince you via this medium…I’ll make my point another way!


          • Aphrodite Brown says:

            I’ve already stated that I am not taking the posts down. If that is what this lengthy exchange has been about I can only shake my head at that. If you’ve taken the time to actually read this post with the persistence you’ve responded to this post that would be clear. I’ve already given my reasons why I am not taking the posts down. You will believe that or not, your choice. I’ve not deflected anything, but you insist on asserting that fine.

            You’ve spent the day calling me names, repeating yourself and I hope that you meant what you’ve said when you say you are finished.

  3. Saki says:

    I know for a fact that there was a conversation between you and I back in January when this series began (you’re well aware of exactly how I know that…so…there’s that!)…where I asked you to not only let me read it before you posted it…but requested THAT YOU WRITE THE STORY WITHOUT THEIR NAMES IN IT!!! I admonished you…implored even…that she’d been embarrassed enough by the video on that other site…as well as by his *then treatment* of her. I warned you about putting it on Fet because she didn’t have an account anymore on the site and couldn’t defend herself or refute anything that she might not agree with! You did it anyway…par for the course when it comes to you!

    I know that you and I had that conversation…and there was an exchange between you and I about the necessity of the posts period! I told you BEFORE you posted them…that I had blasted Hafez warning him that if he kept on making posts mentioning my name…I would publicly blast him ON FET…and as I said…in your quest to beat me to the punch…you put the shit out here…with his government name…and her nickname…and you had no right and no authorization from either of them to do so!

    Your cavalier attitude right now about having *fucked up* in this manner is the reason that you’re digging your heels in and doing what you always do…change gears in an effort to deflect! I won’t be a part of this shit…not this time…not here! The difference between me and the subjects of your writings: if you continue…or write anything slanderous regarding me for that matter either now or in the future…I WILL get in that ass…toot sweet!

    The rest of this fuckery…you can have…and as I’ve stated before…*bought sense is better than borrowed*…ergo…you’d best be careful!


    • Aphrodite Brown says:

      Since you listened to me back in January when I wrote this, and you heard what it took out of me, I am going to chalk your comment about my attitude up to anger. There is nothing at all cavalier about my attitude. You also know that I would never slander you, and you also know why. I’m not changing gears. I am being very clear that while you might have had reservations about my actions, as you explain above, you still publicly told me to get to writing. It is there I’m not making that up.

      As I stated prior, this is not a committee. This is a one woman show so when its right its on me, when it is wrong its on me as well. I don’t need authorization to use their names, because THEY’VE used their names, in connection with their lifestyle names. There are multiple instances where Hafez refers to her as ____, she refers to herself as formerly ____, and the YouTube account is associated with his government name.

      As I’ve said to you on the phone this was not about beating you to the punch. I still do not know where you get that from, but again that is not the case. Rushing to tell this story is not something that anyone would WANT to do, least of all me.

      • Saki says:


        At this point I have no reason to be angry with you…other than the comment that you made in response HERE to my initial comment…HERE! Other than that…I don’t have a dog in this fight…save my reputation that is being dragged through the mud on YouTube…thanks to your insistence on poking at Hafez every time you get the chance…whether he is talking to or about you…or not! Because you don’t like him…his every comment comes under your scrutiny…and you don’t miss a chance to poke at him whenever you can! That’s your cross to bear…not mine! I don’t give a damn about what goes on between you and Hafez…UNTIL IT IMPACTS ME! I don’t bother him…nor do I read his writings or watch his videos. The only time he comes to mind/across my radar…is when YOU call attention to him…either by calling me and talking about it…or by sending me messages with links on Fet! Other than that…he’s a non-factor in my life!

        When I wrote that your attitude is cavalier…it is in reference to the fact that you refuse to let this series die the death that it needs to at this point. The fact that she has requested that you take it down…because she didn’t give you permission to write it also comes into play here.

        They both wrote about their lives on Fet…which is only accessible to its members…not the general public…even though anyone can join that site. The posts that she made on her now defunct (for over 3 years now) Fet account are no more…as they were removed when her account was canceled.

        Anyone in the general public can create an account on Fet…however…without knowing who and/or what to look for…it is highly unlikely that they would’ve come across anything that either of them had written…except for now…they have that information from YOU! The same holds true for YouTube! If a person doesn’t know what to look for…they have no clue that the information…which is there for public consumption…even exists…ergo it ultimately remains hidden in plain sight!

        It is not as if every member of John Q. Public is involved in the lifestyle…ergo…they would have no reason to go digging for the information…except for having read about these two individuals on your blog! That’s the reason that I asked you to remove their names! He has a government security clearance that could possibly be jeopardized by these posts…and she is a former government employee…who might possibly choose to go that route again! Who knows how these posts…as they exist might impact either of them…THAT IS WHAT YOU’RE REFUSING TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT…AND IS THE PRIMARY REASON THAT I ASKED YOU TO AT THE VERY LEAST REMOVE THEIR NAMES SINCE YOU INSISTED ON WRITING THE POSTS!

        I do not deny that back in January 2014 in your comments section…I told you to *get to writing*…however…in the conversation we had via phone prior to that comment being made…I requested that you remove their names…a fact which you CONVENIENTLY omitted from your attempt to deride me about said comment here! If you are going to tell the truth in an attempt to shame the devil…DON’T OMIT PERTINENT FACTS…BECAUSE THEY COULD COME BACK TO BITE YOU ON THE ASS!!

        I said you attempted to *beat me to the punch* because…again…I’d told Hafez on Fet…that if he continued to include my name in negative posts around the site…then I would blast his ass…on Fet! There was no reason for YOU to write these posts…save to beat me to the punch of doing it…and you included erroneous information to boot! You put me in a position to be associated with any *then current and/or future fuckery* that you and he had with each other…and he has stated that my name was only included in his posts due to my association with you! You can continue to deny the fact of the matter if you’d like…but…you and I both know the truth! The only difference is…I’m willing to say it…and you’re unwilling to admit it!

        You didn’t have to do this…according to you…your sudden *empathic* nature called you to…and on that…I call bullshit! In all of the years that I’ve known you…in all of the conversations that we’ve had…and there have been PLENTY SINCE 2009…you never once mentioned being an empath…that is…not until I publicly stated that I was…and my empathic nature is the reason that you and I ever talked in the first place! I told you that I felt the emotions in a post you’d written all those years ago on Fet…and that was the reason I reached out to you!

        You talk about this shit BEING ON YOU…honey please…try being right there in the trenches with her when she was going through some of the *harrowing* things that she endured…I WAS…YOU WERE NOT! So please…refrain from talking to me about how something was ON YOU! Pfft! Funny…your empathic nature didn’t come into play when the initial video that caused an uproar on Fet came out…but mine did! Funny…any other time that she’d written anything about what she’d gone through…it wasn’t ON YOU to write about it…but it was ON ME…and I did write about it…on Fet…and she read the things that I wrote…and was okay with those posts…because although they referenced her experiences…THEY DIDN’T INCLUDE HER NAME…THEY DIDN’T HAVE TO…IN ORDER TO MAKE AN IMPACT!

        You see…the point you’re missing here is this: you didn’t write this shit because you gave so much as a minuscule fuck about HER…you wrote this shit as yet another chance to get back at HIM…and you didn’t give a fuck that she would suffer behind your need to publicly shame him! You cared not one iota about how this would impact HER and her psyche…because what you wanted was to get back at him! Just like you do every time you call him an abuser on Fet…and lord knows you do that every single chance you get! Whenever an opportunity arises to take a jab at him…you go full steam ahead…both guns blazing…and you give not nary a fuck about what you leave in your wake!

        If your goal was to expose him as an abuser…you could’ve done that without bringing shame to HER…because everyone that is aware of who they are…would’ve known who you were talking about…but noooo…that wasn’t good enough for you…you had to take it just that little step further…you know…go all *scorched earth* and shit…but you didn’t think about who would be caught in the flames! Your *single minded myopic focus* is the very reason that you fucked up…NOW OWN THAT!!! Don’t continue to besmirch me…and insult my intelligence…because you know that I rarely forget a damned thing…but I always have a *back up* that I can check for verification! Your crusade has done little to bring awareness to the fact that he’s an abuser…but it sure as shit has embarrassed the fuck out of her…and caused my name to be dragged through the mud…and I didn’t have a damned thing to do with it!

        I’m not sure what you’re trying to prove here…but I’m going to suggest that whatever it is…you attempt to prove it without causing me further duress/aggravation…because that’s what it is at this point! Unlike the others…I will not sit idly by and be subjected to your bullshit! Make of that statement what you will! Know this…you might think that you have nothing to lose…how wrong you are! What little you do have…I’ll gladly take as winnings…please…don’t fuck up and find out why! I’m going to request that you stop…and let this end right here! Chant about it…think about it…and then chant about it again…and you’ll understand where I’m coming from…because I won’t hesitate to show you EXACTLY how serious I am!


        • Aphrodite Brown says:

          I’m not attempting to besmirch you. As far as owning it, I have – I am – that is clear. I am also not trying to subject you to anything Saki. You want it to be clear that my actions are not associated with you. That is clear. I’ve said it, you’ve said it. Other than that there is no reason for you to keep returning here except to have the last word. I don’t know what else you hope to accomplish by continuing to comment and repeat that which has already been said.

          • Saki says:


            Having the last word has nothing to do with my commenting here. You can believe that if you want to, but you and I both know the truth. My hope is that you will have an attack of conscience…or perhaps develop an ounce of the concern you *profess* to have for her…and kill the series.

            I know that the possibility of that is mere fantasy…because as you’ve stated…the series has been nominated for some sort of award or another…and we all know…that your thirst for attention…recognition…or some semblance of importance/approval…won’t allow you to simply do the right thing and pass up the award and kill the series…especially since she’s requested it here!

            Tread lightly with the statements/comments that you make…as well as the intent behind them…because as you know…The Universe is watching…and impartiality is its strong suit!


          • Aphrodite Brown says:

            Yes, the universe is watching. It watches as you question my intentions, my character, call me a copy cat and thirsty. If you believe that then well, I don’t know what to say to that. What I do know is you’ve said many things, you’ve made it clear that you had nothing to do with this, you’ve made it clear that you advised me to take a different route. I don’t know what else there is that you need to say Saki. I am approving your comments, they remain unedited and anyone who reads them gets it. I also get it. I’m not attempting to get into a flame war but I really cannot see a reason for you to return and comment except to have the last word. That won’t happen so I don’t know what else to say.

  4. Saki says:

    Let me start off by saying that I accept your apology…although I still don’t like the position that you have put me in! It is unfair for my name to be in the middle of this…when I asked you…on several occasions to not post the series. It is unfair for my name and character to be dragged through the mud on YouTube when I had nothing to do with your decision to write/post these entries! Clearly you’re an adult…and capable of making your own decisions. My only regret with regard to this entire debacle is that I facilitated a conversation between you and the woman named in the series. Had it not been for that fateful conversation…I don’t believe that any of this would’ve transpired.

    I do my best to live a life that has no regrets…and I managed to make it this far without a single one…until that one fateful day! Lesson learned! Thanks for that…*friend*! I don’t know whether to continue to call you a friend…chuck the deuces to you and our friendship…or fly to your hometown and punch you in your fucking stomach and then decide based on how I feel afterwards! I’ve yet to make a decision…but…my Husband has plenty of frequent flier miles for me to use! I won’t deny that *Ray Rice-ing* you has crossed my mind several times over the past few days…because I’m just THAT angry/bothered right now by all of this fuckery! I’m so serious right now! I am hurt by all of this…and a huge part of me wrestles with what feels like I’ve been betrayed…because I’m sure that in the middle of your *Rescue Ranger* crusade…had rational thought prevailed…you would’ve found a way to make your point *for the greater good* without so much collateral damage…or at the very least…had the fortitude to publish the entries without revealing any names at all…because in my mind…that would’ve been the smart thing for you to do…and would have in no way diminished the desired impact of the series upon the readers! Hindsight…they say…is 20/20…and I’m guessing that you aren’t even really employing THAT…based upon your decision to leave the post *as is*.

    This is your blog…you can do whatever you’d like on it! I just pray that going forward…you question the intention of your posts BEFORE you hit ‘Enter’…instead of afterwards…when reputations of innocent parties are being ruined…friendships are being put in jeopardy…turds are flying…along with accusations and mud!

    Is it personal for you? I believe so…even though you rationalize that it is not. I’ll hazard a guess that *not wanting to be wrong and/or admit that you fucked up* plays a huge part in it as well…but…that’s something that you might discuss with your therapist and maybe you’ll see the error of your ways…or not…knowing your stubborn ass the way that I do!

    At any rate…what’s done is done…and I’m more inclined to move on…living my life happily over here in my beautiful little corner of The Universe! You’ve facilitated enough damage with regard to my reputation…and I accept the responsibility for and the repercussions of the decision I made in regards to facilitating that conversation…and I’m at peace with that!


    • Aphrodite Brown says:

      My apology to you Saki is genuine, I hope that you know that. I hope that you know me well enough to know that apologies don’t flow freely from my lips, mind or heart, and if I’ve taken the opportunity to call you and apologize and extend that apology publicly that I understand it was needed, and deserved.

      I will let you process your feelings in your own space and time, your decisions whatever they might be I won’t question.

      I’ve admitted that my writing was colored by my dislike of him. I did that when I wrote it, I did that again in this post. Adding color is not motivation though, and I stand by my statement that it is not personal. I possess the ability to cut deeper even than I do, and my restraint tells me it is not personal. Some might disagree, but I have to tell myself the truth even if others doubt it.

      I would not say that your reputation is ruined, but that is not my option to decide or not. I think this falls all on me, for better or worse and it is my shoulders that must bear the weight.

      In the name of hindsight, this series began in January. In January when I started writing this your words to me were that you wished I’d let you read what I planned on writing prior to my posting it. While you might have had reservations about my writing this, they were not expressed to me, rather it was regret that I’d committed errors in the telling of the story.
      I don’t run Vizionz by committee. Everything here is on me. When its good I did it, when it’s fucked up I did that as well. I don’t farm out topics and I don’t play surrogate. I would never run a blog post, especially not one like this to anyone for approval. That is not how I roll. For the sake of transparency, B did read THIS entry prior to my publishing, but it was not for approval, it was so that the man in my life would know what was coming down the road prior to anyone else. I won’t call you a cheerleader, you were not one in the literal sense for this series, but if you go back to the first entry of this series, your comment was the first sent… your comment was for me to get to telling the story.

      That is not telling me not to write it Saki, that is the exact opposite.

      At the end of the day though? Your sharing if I should or should not write the story would not make a difference. The words here are all on me no one else, and any responsibility directed elsewhere should be redirected at me.

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