Us vs Violence

“The typical perpetrator is not sick and twisted; he’s a normal guy in every other way … ‘In the end, what will hurt the most is not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.’ … There’s been an awful lot of silence in male culture about this ongoing tragedy of men’s violence against women and children.”

The men who do this stuff do it because to them, somehow, it seems normal. This is about purposely changing what’s accepted as normal.

It’s also about ending the victim blaming.  A conversation I’ve had too many times goes something like this:

“Why are you divorced?”
“He was abusive.”
“Oh — not physically though, right? Just emotionally?”
“Physically too, sometimes, but at least bruises heal in a week or two.”
“Did he hurt the kids too or just you?”
“Just me.”
“What did you do to make him so angry?”

If you must know, it was because I was a little overweight and not pretty enough.  I made the enchiladas too spicy once. I was too happy about how pretty the snow looked on the trees. I worked too much, earned too much, spent too much on groceries. I had to be on bed rest while pregnant, and I had too many false labor alarms. I flirted with him on Valentine’s day, and I failed to flirt with others when he wanted me to.  I finally left when he said violence was just the easiest way to communicate with me, but it took me a long time to realize the only reason he was violent was that he chose to be.

He figured his behavior was normal and excusable. He knows he’s not a monster. His friends and family know he’s not a monster, and so do I. But what he did was wrong. His refusal to stop it was wrong.  And the silence is wrong.  I’m still silent about a lot of things, but perhaps if I speak up, you will too.

2 thoughts on “Us vs Violence

  1. Velda you are so brave, for speaking up, for standing up, for fighting for the life you want. Thanks for sharing this, I am sure it will help someone, somehow.
    I am glad to see that you are happier now, you did not deserve to go through this, you are a shining example of a strong, courageus, smart beautiful woman. I am sure you will find the one you want someday, if you still wish so (I was convinced I was going to be alone always… and as cliche as it sounds, it was only I was OK with the idea that I met Mark).
    Hugs to you, sending love your way.

    Like

    1. Thank you Amanda! You know, for me the problems started the first day I was married. I almost ran then, but wanted to make things work. Strangely, I thought that if anyone knew what was happening, everyone would hate him and we wouldn’t be able to fix the marriage. So I kept it a secret. Now I know that had I turned to support networks every time it happened (bishop, family, friends, etc.) he may have realized sooner that abuse has serious consequences. Perhaps he could have stopped.

      I also know that his family and our family friends don’t hate him, which is good, and many fully accept his actions (bad). Some even think he must have been right to treat me that way. NEVER hit a woman, they say, but the unspoken attitude is that it’s OK to hit a b_tch, and if such an upstanding guy as him decided to hit me it must be because I deserved it.

      I actually broke up with a guy (and broke his heart) because he bragged about slow-clapping when a guy hit a girl who, according to him, was asking for it. Violence is a pervasive attitude that needs to stop, and it starts with speaking up.

      Like

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