- Abuse Dave
- Abuse Dave
- Abuse Dave
- ABUSE DAVE
thank and god bless
im curious how you came to this conclusion and what you consider abuse
I’m actually going to give this a response because it’s an attitude I see a lot in fandom and it honestly kind of disturbs me.
First off, I want to say that I believe that you can interpret Dave and Bro’s relationship as non-abusive if you want. You can do that! Their relationship in-comic is played in a pretty light-hearted way. Homestuck has a lot of that. The bizarre and weird and scary is completely normal and mundane in a lot of places.
But the other thing about Homestuck is you never know when something’s going to be dark humor played light or dark humor played very, very dark. There is some _dark shit_ in Dave and Bro’s relationship and if you’re going to be making sweeping statements about how he would or wouldn’t ever treat Dave, you need to be able to realize that.
Here are factual events that occurred in the Strider household in canon, with no embellishments or delving behind their psychological or physical ramifications:
-There was no food kept in the kitchen. If Dave wanted to keep food, he had to hide it in his room.
-There were sex toys/pornography paraphernelia laying around out in the open.
-There were really dangerous objects laying around and stuffed into appliances, such as fireworks and swords.
-Bro set up at least one webcam to secretly capture his brother doing something that Dave assumed (rightly or wrongly) would go on one of his porn websites.
-Bro screwed around with Dave by making things move when he wasn’t looking and posting up creepy comics on doors and just generally manipulating his environment to be one of anxiety and uncertainty.
-Bro elbowed Dave down a flight of stairs.
In Homestuck, all of these things are played off as humorous or ordinary. Of course Bro keeps porn-puppets all over the house, dude likes puppets and it’s hilarious when Dave is buried in a cascade of them and starts talking about coarse kermit cocks dragging down his anguished face. The scene in the kitchen where Dave fucks around with the weapons and fireworks is clearly meant to be hilarious and I think it works. As far as strifing goes, that’s pretty normal in-universe.
Here’s the thing, though. If Dave Strider were a real person who was really being treated this way, it would be abusive. It would be a toxic, unsafe household for a child. If your friend lived with a guardian who didn’t feed them, left sex toys and porn laying around, put weapons in the fridge and sink, put sex toys in the microwave, filmed them to put them on a porn website, repeatedly played screwy mindgames with them specifically engineered to freak them out, and fought with them and then pushed them down the stairs, you would think your friend was being abused.
The lack of food is neglect, plain and simple. Dave has to hoard food away in order to be able to have it. The mindgames are emotional abuse. Purposely freaking people out can be funny if you do it sometimes, but when you’re a guardian and you do it constantly and repeatedly to the child in your care, you are abusing them. You’re making their home unsafe and making them feel undue anxiety. I can personally tell you that the ways my dad used to screw with me left me literally terrified for hours that I was going to die and very likely contributed to some of my current hugely irrational fears that continue to make me be terrified for literally hours at a time that I’m going to die. It may seem like harmless fun, but fucking with someone’s head like that has consequences.
The strifing is physical abuse. I know that everyone strifes with their parents in Homestuck, but every single other kid shown is in absolutely no danger of physical harm. Dave gets thrown across the roof and down the stairs. Yes, Bro is teaching him martial arts, but teaching someone how to fight does not involve potentially fatally injuring them. You don’t teach someone to fight by just straight up beating the shit out of them. This is also heavily implied to happen on a regular basis; John talks to either Rose or Jade and says he’s pretty sure Dave is probably off getting his ass kicked by his Bro at one point.
And now I want to talk about the smuppets and the pornography. The smuppets are scattered around the house and Dave is clearly aware they’re sex toys and that his brother makes porn for a living. I want to make it very clear that I do not think there’s anything wrong with sex toys, or porn, or making porn, or making porn for a living, or doing any kind of sex work whatsoever while raising a kid, or letting your kid know - in a child-appropriate manner - what your job is. I think that a lot of times kids get really unnecessarily shielded from sexually in a way that is really damaging, and it’s okay to let a kid know that sex is a thing that exists, people have it, it’s totally natural and normal.
HOWEVER. There is a difference between letting a kid know about sex and them going to look up porn on their own and experiment with their own sexuality and forcing them to look at pornographic material and sex toys. Exposing a child to pornography is legally sexual abuse. Dave is unquestionably exposed to pornography in a completely nonconsensual way. He didn’t seek his brother’s porn out, he doesn’t try to find smuppet porn online; it’s all just laying out there in the living room where he literally cannot avoid it if he wants to go anywhere in the house. The fact that he gets filmed for what _he assumes_ is a smuppet movie would almost definitely be considered sexual abuse too. He is, without his permission or knowledge, filmed for pornography, as a thirteen year old. The fact that he assumes that’s what it’s for right off the bat leads me to believe that this has happened multiple times.
So as you can see, there is actually a lot of potential for abuse in the Strider household. It’s not played that way in the comic because the comic is very light-hearted in a lot of ways, but that doesn’t mean the situation is actually different.
Now I want to address the two most common arguments that I see for this, which are
a) Bro loves Dave
b) Bro is helping Dave get strong so he can succeed at the game.
First off, no one is questioning that Bro loves Dave. Bro being abusive is not mutually exclusive with Bro loving Dave. Abusers are most commonly people known and trusted by the victim, often family or significant others, which means that there’s going to be a strong emotional bond there. You can love someone to the point where you would die for them - as Bro did for Dave - and still abuse them. Trying to say that Bro can’t be abusive because he loves Dave is actually really, really, _really_ fucking dangerous, because that’s something that gets used to excuse, cover up, and ignore actual real-life abuse. It’s something abuse-sympathizers and abusers themselves say.
"He loves you, he’s not abusing you."
"How can you say I abused you? I love you so much!"
By assuming that love and abuse can’t co-exist, you are personally directly contributing to a culture where people being abused by a loved one can’t get help and aren’t believed. It’s a very common and very widespread belief and I don’t blame anyone personally for holding that view out of ignorance, but I do and will blame them if they continue to hold that view after being told otherwise. It’s actively damaging to real people.
Secondly, there’s the defense that Bro is just trying to help make Dave stronger. These two are both very similar and they have very similar rebuttals: you can love someone and want to help them and still hurt them.
Hurting someone in order to help them is _still hurting them._ It doesn’t magically not hurt because you had good intentions. If I tackle you to the ground and break your ribs in order to keep you from getting hit by a car, I still broke your ribs.
I agree that Bro strifes with Dave in order to prepare him for SBURB. Dave comes into it being one of the best fighters, but that honestly means very little. John, who has the least experience, ends up advancing the quickest and mastering the offensive use of his aspect really fast, so previous combat experience doesn’t have much of an impact here.
The headgames and manipulation and attempts to model a stoic, emotionless manner of existence for Dave - which Dave is incredibly unsuccessful at emulating, and it’s really sad how hard he tries when that is just not who he is - are probably also meant to help him. Again, they don’t, really. In fact, I’d say the way Dave feels like he needs to put on a stoic face and not ever be sincere about anything is detrimental to him in a big way. It’s refuting and quashing his own personality as a sensitive kid and trying to make yourself be the opposite of what you are is never good.
So Bro tried to help Dave, but he obviously hurt him instead. That doesn’t mean he didn’t try to help, but trying doesn’t mean you succeed and even if you do succeed, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.
This is another thing that also happens to real people. Their parents think they know what’s best so they push their child along THEIR idea of a successful path, sometimes brutally punishing the tiniest step off that path, so kids have to grow up hiding who they really are and in fear of actually expressing themselves, terrified that if they don’t succeed their parents won’t love them.
A big thing that I think goes on is that people also assume that abuse happens because you hate and want to hurt someone, so those defenses make sense. But that’s not why abuse happens. Abusers aren’t faceless monsters who hurt people just to hurt them. Abuse isn’t that soap opera story of the distant, drunk father who hates his kids and beats them because he thinks they ruined his life.
Abuse can happen on a variety of levels and for a variety of reasons. You can hurt someone because you’re stressed and angry and you lash out without meaning to. You can hurt someone because you make constantly hurtful comments and disrespect them and their boundaries without ever realizing that’s what you’re doing. You can hurt someone because you feel entitled to their time or affection. You can hurt someone because you don’t realize what you’re doing is inappropriate. You can hurt someone because you want to make them better, mold them into a stronger person, but you have no idea what they really want and aren’t willing to listen to them.
None of these things are hatred or sadism. A lot of them happen because the abuser really cares about their victim and expresses that in fucked up, damaging ways.
Abuse is still abuse, though, no matter the circumstances or reasoning behind it. Just because Bro thinks he’s doing what’s best for Dave doesn’t mean it’s actually what’s best for Dave and it doesn’t mean it isn’t really fucked up and hurtful and damaging to Dave.
If you don’t want to write Dave being abused, that’s fine. If you don’t want to have to deal with the psychological aftermath of a kid raised in a neglectful household by someone who fucked with them constantly, physically hurt them, and exposed them against their will to pornography, then I would in fact really prefer you didn’t, because either you aren’t willing or just can’t put in the effort to portray it well and this is a serious topic.
But please stop saying that there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY WHATSOEVER Bro could have been abusive.