Why do women stay with abusive men?

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Re: Why do women stay with abusive men?

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Tue Dec 02, 2008 11:03 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:What defines courage is not the absence of fear, but the way in which fear is addressed and challenged and overcome.


Quite, quite so.

To return to the question at hand: I still think it is all-too-easy for someone from an outside perspective to label a victim of abuse as 'weak' and chalk up their condition to personal deficiency of will. Since the fears of the victim are not being addressed and challenged and overcome in this view, I find the argument that victims of abuse are 'weak' both shallow and unpersuasive; in itself 'weak' - particularly when the fears are not only about the victim's well-being, but also about other social perceptions and obligations. Indeed, it suits the abuser just fine to have the full weight of the responsibility for the abuse victim's situation placed firmly on the shoulders of the victim. The line of argumentation I've been seeing deftly avoids any kind of consideration of the dialectic of lordship and bondage which happens in such relationships, or any consideration that virtues such as 'strength of will' (which I assume is what is being discussed, as opposed to physical 'strength') might have meaning only in social practice - as such, I would have to call it a cowardly argument, retreating to abstraction to avoid having to think critically or empathetically about the issue.
[/quote]


I'm sorry, I don't think anyone, even E_D, ever suggested that the abuser was in anyway free from responsibility or guilt in the problem. I don't think that was ever anyones full argument. I think what a lot of people paid attention to was that, to some degree, many of these relationships are based on choice, even if such a choice is not as easy "you all make it out to be". That being said, its never going to appear as anything less than ridiculous to the outside world so to get mad at the rational outside viewers as being 'shallow' or 'insensitive' is nonsense. Many in this thread seem to think that one side focuses solely on the fact that the victim is not helping themselves, and therefore we assign full blame to them. The others seem to think, that while admitting the victim does have some responsibility in the situation, for the most part they are to seen as in need of extra-understanding. I tend to dislike both of these scenarios. You note that we aren't taking a critical look at the issues, thats very true to an extent. We've been focusing on assigning guilt to either the victim or the abuser (something which I think should indeed be rationally qualified before we move on). Yet I'm sure we could also talk about the male-dominated societies which breed such social crises too. Lastly, you seem to imply we must think empathetically. I get critical, but I don't think we should be attempting to not seen things objectively.
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Re: Why do women stay with abusive men?

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Tue Dec 02, 2008 11:51 pm

Shikanosuke wrote:I think what a lot of people paid attention to was that, to some degree, many of these relationships are based on choice, even if such a choice is not as easy "you all make it out to be". That being said, its never going to appear as anything less than ridiculous to the outside world so to get mad at the rational outside viewers as being 'shallow' or 'insensitive' is nonsense.


The problem that I have seen with the latter argument, and the construction you put forward of the former argument, is that both tend to take a monological view of the situation of the abused. Problem is, in a dialectic of lordship and bondage such as the one we're describing here, it takes two (at least). Yes, there might once have been choice involved (though in Hegel's lordship-and-bondage scenario the first action is a struggle of life and death), but as the relationship becomes dialogically unequal the freedoms and 'choices' of the abused become fewer and fewer, being curtailed actively by the abuser. The abuser legislates down the activity of the victim, and depends on the victim's compliance (forced or willing) for justification.

Shikanosuke wrote:Lastly, you seem to imply we must think empathetically. I get critical, but I don't think we should be attempting to not seen things objectively.


Heh. You know where I'm going from here. :wink:

With all due respect to the Kantians and Searleans out there, there's only so much we can do objectively. I hope you've seen this as well as I have - without stepping into someone else's shoes, without getting our hands dirty in the realm of the subjective (and the inter-subjective), as it were, the conversation takes turns for the ridiculously abstract without addressing the real problems.
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Re: Why do women stay with abusive men?

Unread postby SunXia » Wed Dec 03, 2008 12:18 am

I agree with WeiWenDi here!!
There is only much we can do in these situations when looking from the outside in and trying to remain objective!! It's not enough to label each and every scenerio as weak or because of fear!! Each and every story situation is unique and its not enough to incorporate them under one umbrella labelled as weakness just because the victim hasn't left the abuser!! Of course there are certain times when the victim is weak and unable to leave for their own reasons but there can be a certain strength in those reasons too!! You say love is a weakness and in certain cases this may br true but in others it is quite the opposite!! As I've stated before, there are many reasons that contribute to the abuse in the first place and they need to be analysed as well before trying to figure out why the victim hasn't abandoned the abusee!!

In the cases where the abuser is just an a***hole, then ok, perhaps the label 'weak' is suitable if you don't want to delve too deeply into something!! Remember, we don't know this person, we haven't lived their life, so we can't truly know their reasons for staying and thus we can't form a proper, objective, judgement unless we fully understand their reasons for staying!!

My simple, probably worthless point is that nothing is ever as simple as black and white and to polarise situations like these in such a way just isn't justified unless you delve deeply into every single situation to come up with your judgement!!
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Re: Why do women stay with abusive men?

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Wed Dec 03, 2008 2:28 am

WeiWenDi wrote:The problem that I have seen with the latter argument, and the construction you put forward of the former argument, is that both tend to take a monological view of the situation of the abused. Problem is, in a dialectic of lordship and bondage such as the one we're describing here, it takes two (at least). Yes, there might once have been choice involved (though in Hegel's lordship-and-bondage scenario the first action is a struggle of life and death), but as the relationship becomes dialogically unequal the freedoms and 'choices' of the abused become fewer and fewer, being curtailed actively by the abuser. The abuser legislates down the activity of the victim, and depends on the victim's compliance (forced or willing) for justification.


All of these have to have a prerequisite to occur, choice and a some sort of either weakness or potential for weakness to exploit. I agree 100% is takes two, and I agree that (since control in a relationship is a psychological game) that the abuser indeed shapes things to his benefit. This doesn't change the objective reality in anyway though. The reality is, blind or not blind, the victim is partcipating in her own down fall. This isn't merely a condemnation of the victim nor is it meant as an excuse of the abuser. I don't see the solution to these two competing forces (in the qualifying the anwer to the question: who is ultimately more responsible?) to start empathetically trying to start trumping up the good traits of the abused. We may understand why drugs addicts do drugs, and we may feel for their plight, but we don't start trying to empathize with them either. We shake our fingers and say "no".


With all due respect to the Kantians and Searleans out there, there's only so much we can do objectively. I hope you've seen this as well as I have - without stepping into someone else's shoes, without getting our hands dirty in the realm of the subjective (and the inter-subjective), as it were, the conversation takes turns for the ridiculously abstract without addressing the real problems.



Yes, the scholar cannot know the true burdens of the famer. Those not in an abusive relationship cannot know the experience of the victim. However, I'm not really sure what this proves. I can't tell what its like to be a drug addict either, but I know its not something to be encouraged/tolerated/condoned/or any other platitude which basically means putting our hand on their shoulder (metaphorically) and saying 'i understand' or 'its ok'. You say theres only so much we can accomplish via objectivity. I suggest empthaetical reasoning often leads you astray and provides neither with a goal, a criteria for measuring that goal, or even anything remotely helpful other than perhaps insight into helping you objectively condemn it.

You're point isn't completely wrong, we all know the 'walk a mile in their shoes before judging' slogans. But in a lot of cases such an apporach is both unneccessary and unhelpful. As aforementioned, to help someone understand drug habits you don't try being a druggy. Furthermore, both drug-seeking behavior and psychological causes (as Liu Yuante pointed out) that we cannot empathaize with. You end up back up at square one, making objective assumptions. Any empathetical assumptions would be errant, as you don't know what they feel.






SunXia wrote:I agree with WeiWenDi here!!
There is only much we can do in these situations when looking from the outside in and trying to remain objective!!


Again, the solution is to look from the inside out? How is that accomplished?


It's not enough to label each and every scenerio as weak or because of fear!! Each and every story situation is unique and its not enough to incorporate them under one umbrella labelled as weakness just because the victim hasn't left the abuser!! Of course there are certain times when the victim is weak and unable to leave for their own reasons but there can be a certain strength in those reasons too!! You say love is a weakness and in certain cases this may br true but in others it is quite the opposite!! As I've stated before, there are many reasons that contribute to the abuse in the first place and they need to be analysed as well before trying to figure out why the victim hasn't abandoned the abusee!!


Humans categorize and simplify. If we can't umbrella them, then we might as not talk about the issue as a whole at all. We might as well bring up each individual and unqiue scenario, as anything short of this wouldn't be going far enough true?

In the cases where the abuser is just an a***hole, then ok, perhaps the label 'weak' is suitable if you don't want to delve too deeply into something!! Remember, we don't know this person, we haven't lived their life, so we can't truly know their reasons for staying and thus we can't form a proper, objective, judgement unless we fully understand their reasons for staying!!

My simple, probably worthless point is that nothing is ever as simple as black and white and to polarise situations like these in such a way just isn't justified unless you delve deeply into every single situation to come up with your judgement!!


My point is if your point is we can not form a judgement upon people without fully understanding their every reason reason for staying in a relationship then we might as well not try. Its an impossible task, suited (as you note) to be treated on a case-by-case basis by individual psychologists. Then again, I doubt they could technically (under your requirements) ever make a proper, objective, judgement.


In fact, one of my problems with your post is your use of the objective. If we were empathetic, as you all suggest, we couldn't be objective. Objective means to make a decision based on facts and conditions which are not distorted by interpretation. Outsiders do that perfectly. I think Wei's point is that that doesn't help the people in question, and to some degree this may be true. It doesn't make the outsiders wrong, however, nor does it make their condemnations and assessments wrong (even if sometimes they could themselves be based on faulty assumptions of errant because of prejudice).


I guess my problem is that I don't see empathetical reasoning to get you any farther, if not even being drastically less helpful, than objectively perceiving the scenarios. If we all agree that we can't base judgments upon knowing every detail of the scenarios then theres no point to discussion at all, on any matter.
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Re: Why do women stay with abusive men?

Unread postby Lulu » Wed Dec 03, 2008 7:01 am

Again, the solution is to look from the inside out? How is that accomplished?

The closest solution to that is by understanding how their thought process works.

Now I don't think Shikanosuke, that this would be of any interest to you, as you and someone in an abusive relationship wouldn't hit it off all that well. :lol:

However, I find it of great interest.

How is a drug addict rehabilitated? (of course...they first must want to be rehabilitated)
With the help of people that understand how their mind works.
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Re: Why do women stay with abusive men?

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Wed Dec 03, 2008 5:20 pm

Lulu wrote:
Again, the solution is to look from the inside out? How is that accomplished?

The closest solution to that is by understanding how their thought process works.


That possible?
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Re: Why do women stay with abusive men?

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Wed Dec 03, 2008 5:47 pm

Shikanosuke wrote:I don't see the solution to these two competing forces (in the qualifying the anwer to the question: who is ultimately more responsible?) to start empathetically trying to start trumping up the good traits of the abused. We may understand why drugs addicts do drugs, and we may feel for their plight, but we don't start trying to empathize with them either. We shake our fingers and say "no".

...

I can't tell what its like to be a drug addict either, but I know its not something to be encouraged/tolerated/condoned/or any other platitude which basically means putting our hand on their shoulder (metaphorically) and saying 'i understand' or 'its ok'.


First off, you seem to be missing the BFI of my argument with your analogy. Drug addiction is a similar problem in that a person's freedom is limited when they do drugs - they are addicted and compelled to a self-destructive behaviour. But the difference between the situation of a drug addict and the situation of an abuse victim is that the drug addict's problem is monological. The person responsible for curtailing the freedom of the addict is ultimately the addict himself. With the drug addict, you get to be a Kantian or a Searlean - it is possible to make the case from the perspective that this is a matter of individual, monological will to legislate one's own freedom. This breaks down with situations of abuse, because the situation becomes dialogical: there is the abuser and the abused; the lord and the bondsman (or -woman). The legislating down of the abused's freedom does not come from the abused, but rather from the abuser.

Also, you seem to be misrepresenting my position, in that I'm not trying to trump up the good traits of the abused, and I'm certainly not trying to condone / tolerate / encourage self-destructive behaviours or say that they're 'ok'. But I think in both these situations, the solution can be dialogical. One can help either a drug addict or an abuse victim by being for them the Socratic interlocutor, the voice of the daemon who 'knows nothing' but tries to understand them anyway. Is a person who 'knows everything', including that the abused is 'weak', of any help at all?

Shikanosuke wrote:Again, the solution is to look from the inside out? How is that accomplished?


We can't. We know nothing, remember? But we can ask the Socratic questions, right?
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Re: Why do women stay with abusive men?

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Wed Dec 03, 2008 8:42 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:
First off, you seem to be missing the BFI of my argument with your analogy. Drug addiction is a similar problem in that a person's freedom is limited when they do drugs - they are addicted and compelled to a self-destructive behaviour. But the difference between the situation of a drug addict and the situation of an abuse victim is that the drug addict's problem is monological. The person responsible for curtailing the freedom of the addict is ultimately the addict himself. With the drug addict, you get to be a Kantian or a Searlean - it is possible to make the case from the perspective that this is a matter of individual, monological will to legislate one's own freedom. This breaks down with situations of abuse, because the situation becomes dialogical: there is the abuser and the abused; the lord and the bondsman (or -woman). The legislating down of the abused's freedom does not come from the abused, but rather from the abuser.


I disagree. I would agree if the situation was physically forced. But, just as the drug addict makes his own choices, so does the abused. Even if you believe such "choices" are limited by the abuser, they still very much exist in the objective reality. The victim simply chooses to ignore them, or believes they are not present. In fact, even if it is "dialogical" as you say, you prove only that you've somewhat reduced the responsibility/blame for the victim not that you in anyway absolve them from it. I know you would say you're not trying to absolve them, and neither am I trying to absolve the abuser, but the analogy holds because both the addict and the victim are in fact victims of their own making. In many senses, the victim of abuse is an addict. The difference here is its completely legal.

Also, you seem to be misrepresenting my position, in that I'm not trying to trump up the good traits of the abused, and I'm certainly not trying to condone / tolerate / encourage self-destructive behaviours or say that they're 'ok'. But I think in both these situations, the solution can be dialogical. One can help either a drug addict or an abuse victim by being for them the Socratic interlocutor, the voice of the daemon who 'knows nothing' but tries to understand them anyway. Is a person who 'knows everything', including that the abused is 'weak', of any help at all?


Of help to whom? The victim? Sure, he presents facts they cannot escape from. He is unconcerned with the way they view the world, as that view is a fallacy and irrational. He is definitely of help to outsiders, as in this conversation, because if we are to take the alternative approach (that of "trying to understand fully where they are coming from") you might as well not discuss the issue.


We can't. We know nothing, remember? But we can ask the Socratic questions, right?


Maybe. We can observe what was see. We cannot experience their experience.
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Re: Why do women stay with abusive men?

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Thu Dec 04, 2008 1:55 am

Shikanosuke wrote:I would agree if the situation was physically forced.


Wait - what else constitutes abuse? It is true that not all abuse is physical, but in the cases we're describing here, the situation is still one where there is a power differential created by physical force or on the threat of physical force (Hegel's 'struggle of life and death'). Can you think of an abusive situation where force, or threat, is not involved?

Shikanosuke wrote:In fact, even if it is "dialogical" as you say, you prove only that you've somewhat reduced the responsibility/blame for the victim not that you in anyway absolve them from it. I know you would say you're not trying to absolve them, and neither am I trying to absolve the abuser, but the analogy holds because both the addict and the victim are in fact victims of their own making.


So, hold on. You are saying that a self-inflicted addiction is the same as an abusive relationship? You say that you're not trying to absolve the abuser, but think for a moment about the logical end of your line of reasoning here, because you seem to be saying exactly that. If both are 'victims of their own making', is that not making them monological - as in 'you got yourself into this mess, you can get yourself out'? Has not making slaves monologically responsible for their own condition of servitude and saying they were not 'strong-willed' enough to be self-determining historically been part of the mythology of the slave-holder?

Shikanosuke wrote:Of help to whom? The victim? Sure, he presents facts they cannot escape from. He is unconcerned with the way they view the world, as that view is a fallacy and irrational.


So you've never met a person who can ignore facts they cannot escape from, and who can uphold a fallacious and irrational view of the world? Interesting. And, IIRC, you're from the South? How would you characterise the creationists, then? How helpful have the scientists been, 'present[ing] facts they cannot escape from', in breaking their mass delusion? That's all the scientific community has done - and if we are to believe the polling data, their strategy of merely presenting facts has been a failure of diluvian proportions (pun intended).

My father (who is a geophysicist) seems to think the better approach would be the Socratic one - taking the trouble to ask them, what are they afraid of, and why? Dismissing them (or drug addicts, or abuse victims) as weak, or morons (though it is certainly possible that they may be that) does not seem to have made them fix themselves, but if you have another view (supported by the data, of course), I'd be happy to hear it.

Shikanosuke wrote:He is definitely of help to outsiders, as in this conversation, because if we are to take the alternative approach (that of "trying to understand fully where they are coming from") you might as well not discuss the issue.


Begging your pardon - haven't I been defending the 'alternative' approach, and haven't we been discussing the issue? Or am I wrong? And how do you know you've been of help to outsiders? Heaven forbid we should actually ask them what they think...
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Re: Why do women stay with abusive men?

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Thu Dec 04, 2008 2:26 am

WeiWenDi wrote:
Shikanosuke wrote:I would agree if the situation was physically forced.


Wait - what else constitutes abuse? It is true that not all abuse is physical, but in the cases we're describing here, the situation is still one where there is a power differential created by physical force or on the threat of physical force (Hegel's 'struggle of life and death'). Can you think of an abusive situation where force, or threat, is not involved?



Certainly. You can be verbally abused. No threat of violence is even necessary to create a relationship of domination. In said cases, where theres no psychical gun to someones head, the options are still present. Even if they fail to recognize them.


So, hold on. You are saying that a self-inflicted addiction is the same as an abusive relationship? You say that you're not trying to absolve the abuser, but think for a moment about the logical end of your line of reasoning here, because you seem to be saying exactly that. If both are 'victims of their own making', is that not making them monological - as in 'you got yourself into this mess, you can get yourself out'? Has not making slaves monologically responsible for their own condition of servitude and saying they were not 'strong-willed' enough to be self-determining historically been part of the mythology of the slave-holder?


No. Drugs and relationships are entered into primarily (as in, in our Western societies) by option. Rarely do I think a female,of weak or strong character, enters into a relationship with a man merely by meeting him and him beating her into submission. The drug-addict often times probably didn't have someone strap him down and shove the needle into his arm either. That doesn't absolve the abuser. If two people into a relationship, something which should be an equal partnership, and one person dominates the other then obviously much blame is and should be placed on the abuser. But the entrance into such an agreement, the relationship or the drug habit, was voluntary. Consequentially, the exit from such an agreement, the drug-habit or the relationship, is still voltunary (even if the choices are not easy).

For instance, as I and others have previously mentioned, in many relationships the choices of a victim in an abusive relationship are not a) stay and get abused or b) leave and get beaten to death. Rather they are (or may be, as we all agree all situations are different) a) stay and get abused or b) leave and deal with the effects (these may be fear of solitude, lack of money, etc etc). Staying, as in accepting the worse option, for fear of the effects of the latter option can be seen as an addition. If you are addicted to the desire of being in a relationship, not leaving a relationship when all rational indicators scream for you to get as far away as possible, is a sign of addiction. Or psychosis, take your pick really.

Lastly, slaves are not voluntarily involved in their captivity. Slaves, in most all cases, DO receive only two physical and real options a) stay and live (or even die) and b) leave and be hunted. Even if they try to choose the latter, they may not physically be able to accomplish it. Slaves, for instance those in America, did not volunteer their service. They were sold/traded by their kin and other businessmen. Unlike drug-addiction and abusive relationships, there is no voluntarism here.

I do not absolve, ever, the abuser. But I also do not, ever, absolve in anyway the victim. Victim indicates they are being abused, but it doesn't stipulate they can't take part in the abusing themselves.

So you've never met a person who can ignore facts they cannot escape from, and who can uphold a fallacious and irrational view of the world? Interesting. And, IIRC, you're from the South? How would you characterise the creationists, then? How helpful have the scientists been, 'present[ing] facts they cannot escape from', in breaking their mass delusion? That's all the scientific community has done - and if we are to believe the polling data, their strategy of merely presenting facts has been a failure of diluvian proportions (pun intended).


People believe stupid things, you're correct! People believe incorrect things, we're in agreement. Especially, as you've noted, in the South. However, these things you've mentioned also don't stand the test of scrutiny also. They may persist, they may fester, and they may still be held by idiot individuals. But those idiot individuals still need to be told they are idiot individuals. The better perspective, for instance, is to look at how our looking at them stupid has made Southerners feel about themselves. Being from the South, for instance, has made me extremely concious of the ridiculous notions espoused by the sterotypes held of my region. Whats the effect? I take every step to attempt not to entertain such notions, and I'm not the only one. I've personally witnessed Southerners, especially belonging to governmental institutions, do everything in their power to take actions and stnaces to distance themselves from such positions which objective scrutiny shows to be stupid.

So yea, outside pressure from the objective person who tells them the truth, regardless of whether or not they believe it, is a good thing.

My father (who is a geophysicist) seems to think the better approach would be the Socratic one - taking the trouble to ask them, what are they afraid of, and why? Dismissing them (or drug addicts, or abuse victims) as weak, or morons (though it is certainly possible that they may be that) does not seem to have made them fix themselves, but if you have another view (supported by the data, of course), I'd be happy to hear it.


See above, shame of our past has definitely shaped the way my region has changed its view of itself. We are not the only ones either. America has such a view of itself dealing with Native Americans. Many germans share the view about Nazi Germany. Etc etc. Shame is a big force.


Begging your pardon - haven't I been defending the 'alternative' approach, and haven't we been discussing the issue? Or am I wrong? And how do you know you've been of help to outsiders? Heaven forbid we should actually ask them what they think...


Well, I'm not sure we've discussed anything yet relating to the matter at hand. I don't think, you and I, have been discussing what actually makes females stay in abusive relationships. I think you and I have been discussing how we should view the matter. So have we been discussing the issue? vaguely maybe, not directly. To answer your second question, you can ask some of the ignorant, intolerant, self-rightous , barely-passed 10th grade rednecks that I've grew up with 'what they think' all you like. You can even ask them Socratic questions. I promise you your findings will be both unhelpful to both you (except in reaffirming the sterotypes of Southerners, of course) and to them. People who don't think they are wrong don't need to be asked Socratic questions. The people I grew up with don't need to be asked what they are afraid of, I'm sure they have a million of excuses. Maybe, after spending a couple weeks/months/decades with them you may have a breakthrough when they run out of answers and you find a way to relate to them.

Or, you can do as I have done, explain to them why they are objectively incorrect about their beliefs. Growing up in the South, I pretty much have had to maintain a strong vigil against the idiocy of stuff like this, and I don't care to know the reasons anymore (because they rarely exist). This being said, I'm not saying you should run up to abuse victims and yell in their face. But I also don't think you should make any steps to forgive their actions, or not tell them the objective reality of their actions/situations. Afterwards, I don't care if you try to wean answers out of them to help them in their reeducation.

Edit: the reason i say this last statement relates back to a previous post. I don't care or blame outsiders from objectively looking at the South and making judgments, even though they haven't lived here. You all have every right to do so, and we deserve every ounce of the criticism. The outsiders view of our region, as negative as it is, has shaped the way we view ourselves (even if its in self-disgust). I'm not about to tell anyone, for instance, they are unhelpful or wrong for making a judgment upon the South. Sure, many of us in the South are not the way we are sterotyped. Yet that doesn't make their judgment incorrect, or unhelpful.
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