Jenelle Evans: Does She Deserve Sympathy as David Eason's Victim, or Condemnation For Endangering Her Children?

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As you've likely heard by now, Jenelle Evans filed for divorce from David Eason last month.

Not only that, Evans has been granted a restraining order against Eason after accusing him of issuing threats and abusing her children.

We probably don't need to tell you that Jenelle has never been terribly popular among Teen Mom 2 viewers, and that was especially true in the months before she was fired from the show.

She spent several years defending David and enabling his abuse of children and animals.

And, of course, Jenelle has faced countless accusations of neglect and abuse and bigotry -- not the kind of behavior that tends to earn the affection of reality TV audiences.

But now, we know that Evans was a victim herself, a fact that no doubt influenced her actions, at least during her time with David.

So perhaps it's not surprising that there's a debate raging on social media over whether or not Jenelle is deserving of sympathy.

We'll present both arguments, and you can decide for yourself if she's an victim, a perpetrator, or some untidy combination of both:

1. How Do You Solve a Problem Like Jenelle?

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Jenelle?
Jenelle Evans is one of the most widely-despised reality stars in the history of the genre. But will the fact that she recently escaped an abusive relationship earn her any sympathy from her harshest critics?

2. Escape From the Land

Escape From the Land
In October, Evans made a daring escape from the home she once shared with David Eason -- the property the former couple famously dubbed "The Land."

3. October Surprise

October Surprise
On Halloween, Jenelle revealed on Instagram that she had left David and begun the process of divorcing him.

4. End of a (Very Brief) Era

End of a (Very Brief) Era
"With the time I took away from Teen Mom, I’ve started looking at my life differently and I know I need to make changes. I’m starting now," Jenelle wrote.

5. Better Late Than Never

Better Late Than Never
"The kids and I have moved away from David. Nobody gets into a marriage expecting it to end but I know that’s what is best for me, and for my kids. Today, I have filed papers to start that process,” she continued.

6. For the Kids

For the Kids
Again bringing the focus back to her children, Jenelle wrote, "Like anyone else, I want what’s best for my kids and I want to be happy."

7. He Never Stops

He Never Stops
The announcement didn't come as much of a surprise, as David had spent the past week throwing one of his infamous social media tantrums and passive-aggressively talking trash about Jenelle.

8. She Comes Bearing Receipts

She Comes Bearing Receipts
Obviously, Evans didn't offer much in the way of specifics in her Instagram announcement -- but shortly thereafter, she filed for a restraining order, and her court documents were much more clear on the question of why she decided to leave David.

9. Scary Stuff

Scary Stuff
“Because of his recent threats, his history of violence, his erratic behavior and his large stockpile of weapons, I am scared for my life and my children’s well-being,” Evans wrote in her filing.

10. House of Horrors

House of Horrors
In her testimony, Jenelle described a number of frightening incidents, including one in which David locked her son Kaiser in a car and refused to let him out despite her desperate pleas.

11. Dangerous Dave

Dangerous Dave
It seems 5-year-old Kaiser was singled out by David in particular, probably because he's a product of Jenelle's relationship with Nathan Griffith, a man Eason regards as his mortal enemy.

12. Complicit?

Complicit?
As many fans have pointed out, Jenelle has defended David against accusations of child abuse on countless occasions. At times, she even posted social media content that seemed designed to create the illusion that Eason was an ideal father.

13. The Crux of the Issue

The Crux of the Issue
So while it's unusual for the public to demonstrate anything other than sympathy for a domestic violence survivor, Jenelle's case is a bit more complicated than most.

14. The Proof

To be clear: there's absolutely no reason to doubt Jenelle's claims that she was abused by David throughout their marriage. In fact, there's a mountain of evidence -- including this 911 call from last year -- that supports her claims.

15. This Guy Is the Worst

David's abusive behavior is well-documented, and many victims of domestic violence feel that they have no choice but to remain silent and protect the very person who is tormenting them.

16. Missed Opportunities

Missed Opportunities
But as many of her critics have pointed out, Evans had several opportunities in which she would have been able to safely extricate herself from the situation and move her children to a safer environment. Instead, she continued to defend David.

17. The Nugget Incident

The Nugget Incident
The most recent of these occurred when David shot and killed Jenelle's French bulldog, Nugget.

18. The Wrong Decision

The Wrong Decision
The episode resulted in Evans' children being removed from her home and placed with relatives. But instead of rejoicing that they were finally safe, she perjured herself in order to protect David from prosecution and bring the kids back home.

19. The David Defense

The David Defense
In court and on social media, Jenelle defended Eason's parenting skills, calling him the "perfect father" and repeatedly denying that he had ever been aggressive toward children or animals.

20. Spreading Lies

Spreading Lies
She even launched a social media campaign with the goal of denigrating Eason's ex so that he might regain custody of his son, Kaden.

21. The Great Escape

The Great Escape
It might have taken her a while, but she's doing what's right by her children -- and despite all that she's endured, we're sure the decision to uproot her life and temporarily move to a different state was not an easy one.

22. A Lot of Ins and Outs

A Lot of Ins and Outs
We say all of this just to point out that it's easy to see why some Teen Mom 2 fans might have trouble regarding Jenelle with anything resembling compassion.

23. A Checkered Past

A Checkered Past
After all, there's a reason Jenelle has been arrested 15 times in the past nine years. She has violent tendencies; she's often abusive toward her loved ones; and her substance abuse issues are so severe that her youngest daughter was born with drugs in her system.

24. Turning a Corner

Turning a Corner
But just because Jenelle is not a "perfect victim," that doesn't mean she's not deserving of goodwill in this moment.

25. Reason Enough

Reason Enough
As many fans have pointed out, we should support Jenelle if only because doing so might make it slightly easier for her to do what's right for her kids,

26. The Case for Jenelle

The Case for Jenelle
One Twitter user stated that she'll no longer be criticizing Jenelle on social media for that simple reason.

27. In Defense of Decency

In Defense of Decency
She said that she realizes her stance might not be a popular one, but she just can't support the continued disparagement of a domestic violence survivor at her lowest moment.

28. Mixed Response

Mixed Response
Many argued Jenelle is a bigot and a bully, and her actions are unforgivable. They may be right. But many others supported the argument.

29. The Verdict

The Verdict
As we've stated repeatedly, this is not a simple matter by any means, but now might be a good time to consider hitting pause on your criticism of Jenelle.

30. More to Come

More to Come
Don't worry, we're sure she'll give you plenty of material to hate on in the years to come.

31. Stay Tuned

Stay Tuned
We'll continue to keep you updated on this ongoing story as more information becomes available.

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Jenelle Evans Biography

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Jenelle Evans starred on 16 and Pregnant and now Teen Mom 2 on MTV. She is the mother of a 16-month-old, Jace, and has a troubled... More »
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Jenelle Evans