Gaslighting is a form of mental abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt his or her own memory, perception and sanity. Instances may range simply from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred, up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim.
The term "gaslighting" comes from the play Gas Light and its film adaptations. The term is now also used in clinical and research literature.
You may, by now, be aware that Mike Huckabee said this today:
“I think it’s time Republicans no longer accept listening to the Democrats talk about a 'war on women,'" Huckabee said during a speech at the Republican National Committee's winter meeting in Washington. "The fact is the Republicans don’t have a war on women, they have a war for women, to empower them to be something other than victims of their gender.”
Huckabee said Democrats rely on women believing they are weaker than men and in need of government handouts, including the contraception mandate in Obamacare.
"If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it," Huckabee said. "Let's take that discussion all across America."
Needless to say, the reaction by the lefty blogosphere was swift, and hilarious. But equally needless to say, defenders of Huckabee came out in droves, with their cheap gaslighting tactics. Here are a couple trying to convince me not to believe my lying eyes.
Truly fascinating, isn't it, how Huckabee's ignorant, slut-shaming statement is transformed into a "prevalent position" among Democrats? Gaslighting has been the go-to strategy by the Right for the past couple of years to avoid having to address their attacks on women's rights directly. "War on Women? What war on women? You're just imagining things! Why are you guys so obsessed with abortion and birth control, huh??!?"
Only thing is, unlike in 1880 when Gaslight takes place, information travels a tad faster than by letter or telegram and we have these newfangled fancy computing machines that capture and save data and make it easy for just about anyone to summon it, instantly. Ladies who, a century ago, might have been successfully bullied by right wing gaslighters into silence about what a prominent man actually said about them merely have to type some words into a search engine about Mike Huckabee today and learn that he's got a history of being hostile to contraception and quite paranoid about it.