“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?”
“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.