I don’t need to be a fan of Teen Mom 2 in order to be worried about Jenelle Evans Eason. It just so happens that I am a fan and boy, am I worried.
The MTV reality star and mom of three — Jace, 9, Kaiser, 4, and Ensley, 2 — made headlines earlier this week when news broke that her husband David Eason shot and killed her dog. The dog, a French bulldog, was named Nugget.
Shortly after Nugget’s death, MTV announced it had officially parted ways with Jenelle.
I’m distraught over Nugget. Her death was a senseless crime. But I’m terrified for Jenelle.
In the wake of Jenelle’s personal tragedy, she’s been fired from her job (the main source of her livelihood for the last 10 year) and has had to deal with co-stars from Teen Mom 2 speaking out about David’s actions.
Leah Messer composed a series of tweets, the first of which read,
“I want to sympathize for my former cast mate but at this point I can’t. ENOUGH is ENOUGH!!!”
Word has it that Jenelle is also estranged from David at the moment; alleged text messages exchanged with an editor from Celebuzz reveal that Jenelle believed David was going to jail, that she’s considering divorcing David, and that at the time of the texts, she hadn’t returned to the house since the incident.
All of these circumstances are a recipe for disaster. Fans are irate, castmates are speaking out against her, and Jenelle has lost her job. This young mother has virtually no one on her side; no support at all. With all of this going on, it’s going to drive her right back into David Eason’s arms. And that’s exactly where he wants her.
Jenelle is not a meme. She is a person, a victim who needs help.
This is a new level of seriousness. Her husband isn’t some random conservative jackass with a Confederate flag anymore. Sure, we’ve known he sucks for a while. We watched the footage as he slashed balloons with a pocket knife at an MTV event. We know he was fired a year ago for posting hateful rhetoric about the LBGTQ+ community. And we know he’s rubbed many people from the reality series the wrong way (Leah, Kail Lowry, Chelsea Houska’s dad Randy Houska, to name a few).
But now? He’s a murderer. It’s more evident than ever that David Eason is an abuser. Jenelle Evans needs help getting out of a life-threatening domestic abuse situation. This man murdered her dog with a shotgun in the backyard. He chased the dog into the woods. Nugget was running away from him, probably scared for her life. Then, he shot her. That is undeniably animal cruelty.
Jenelle Evans and her three children are not safe. Any other animals they have are not safe.
As fans, I don’t think we’re doing right by Jenelle. We’ve been laughing at her for too long; it’s difficult to flip the switch. Yes, the Ke$ha meme with the feathers in her hair — it’s a classic. The GIFs of Jenelle’s mom Barbara yelling, “High, high, ya both high!” at Jenelle and an ex-boyfriend — sure, they’re reality TV and Instagram gold. But it’s time we stop laughing.
Jenelle is in a hole of domestic abuse and has been for a long time. We need to rally behind her, support her so she can get out of this dangerous situation.
The statements from Teen Mom 2 stars are mostly misguided. Only Kailyn offered something remotely helpful:
“I hope that Jenelle and her children are safe and take the necessary steps to get the help that is clearly needed.”
Who is treating Jenelle with compassion? With empathy? Who is actually, genuinely helping her?
It seems to me that Jenelle Evans doesn’t need any more criticism. She has been through the wringer: battling addiction, losing custody of her first-born son, and coming to terms with not having the familial support system she needed or wanted.
With a reputation of dating drug addicts and alcoholics, it’s no wonder why Jenelle was drawn to David. He had his sh*t somewhat together, at least on the surface. He wasn’t a drug addict. He was already a father and a present one by the looks of things. He worked hard to support his family and took care of them in many ways.
That’s fine; that can all be true. But something else can be true at the same time: David Eason is a domestic abuser. Dog-murderer. He is not a good man.
David has defended himself, alleging Nugget snapped at their 2-year-old daughter Ensley. He said he was protecting his family. That’s why he did what he did.
But David does not get to play God; he doesn’t get to decide to take a life in such a meaningless, tragic way. In any way. If Nugget had, in fact, snapped at one of their children, there were many options the Easons could have contemplated. Nugget could have gone to an adoption shelter, perhaps Nugget would do better with adults and not children. Or, Nugget could have undergone obedience training. Etc. etc. etc. The list goes on and on for what they could have done.
But the fact remains: David Eason did not have to kill Jenelle Evan’s dog.
At the end of the day, it’s murder. And it’s also an act of domestic violence and abuse. It’s a message to Jenelle. He’s cutting her off. From everyone, everything she loves. Even her dog.
Who’s to say that she’s not next?
We need to be kind to Jenelle. We need to encourage her as she tries to navigate her way through this. She needs to feel supported or else her abusive husband will be the only one offering it to her. And it will be enticing.
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Steph Osmanski is a freelance writer and social media consultant who specializes in health and wellness content. Her words have appeared in Seventeen, Life & Style, Darling Magazine, and more. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at Stony Brook Southampton and writing a memoir.