“The typical perpetrator is not sick and twisted; he’s a normal guy in every other way”
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?”
The implication is that abuse is a normal response if the partner is annoying enough, and that victims must deserve it.
If you must know what I did: 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, and spent too much on groceries. I had rough pregnancies. I flirted with him on Valentine’s day, and I refused to flirt with others when he wanted me to.
Still think I deserved it? I finally left when he calmly explained that violence was just the easiest way to communicate with me.
And yet … 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. I even know he’s not a monster. But what he did was wrong. His refusal to stop it was wrong. And our silence is wrong. I’m still silent about a lot of things, but perhaps if I speak up, you will too.