Violence, Women and Men

Here is what an abuser looks like:

scott thompson

I read an article from the Ottawa Citizen and it really managed to get under my skin. I know spousal and child beaters are beneath contempt; they are the scum of the earth, to be sure. These are people who have, absolutely, no idea how to operate in a normal society and normal relationship. Wives and children are not people to them; they are possessions to be treated as the mood dictates.

I don’t give a rat’s ass about their pathetic attempts to justify themselves – abused as kids themselves, ad nauseum. There are a lot of people who have gone through hell’s fire and back but do not abuse. The law is clear, societal and community opinion is clear; you do not beat your wife or your children. No excuses, no plausible justification. It is wrong and unacceptable, PERIOD. “I don’t know what happened…” just doesn’t wash. Help is readily available. One time is one time too many. Twice? You need the law to give you a much needed kick in the ass. More than twice? You need to go to jail. You are a criminal.

But…what about the wife/girlfriend that allows this to continue? I’ve seen it too damn often. Showing up at my door, bruised and crying, kids in tow – only to brush off the help available, to return to the abusive situation. And when said wife is a mother and permits the abuser to inflict harm on the children? She is as beneath contempt as the abuser.

The woman in the article is said to have been struck by her husband on more than 30 occasions. Excuse me? Then said abuser, one Scott Thompson, abused their son. No. Sorry. Lady? You are an enabler of the worst sort. And once your child was struck, you are an accomplice to the abuse.

And please, don’t tell me that I don’t understand what it is like. Yes.  I.   Do.

I understand that hitting an individual who, for whatever reason, is not able to match the battle is wrong and is against the law. It is called assault. There are a lot of people out there who seem to think they can get away with it. And in a lot of cases, they are right. They can because they are not called to order on it. Again, reasons – wife doesn’t want to give up the benefits. Doesn’t want to start over with nothing. That is her choice and I don’t hold any empathy for that kind of choice. That any woman would make that choice when kids are involved? Just leaves me sick to my stomach. All well and good for her to decide that a charge card and a house is worth being a punching bag of no importance, but to make this decision for her children? It is beyond my comprehension.

Have I ever been struck by a partner? Yes. And that was the one and only time that this was permitted to occur. We weren’t even together at the time. He fractured my cheek bone and to this day, some 37 years later, that side of my face still throbs a bit when the weather is damp or very cold. It never happened again. I had one other person who thought smacking me around might be an option during an argument. He was warned, informed of the potential consequences of such an action and decided against it. Nobody hits me. Nobody.

When the latter person exhibited the potential for violence? The relationship ended. I had to start over, with a child, back when being a single mother was very, very much frowned upon. There was no help out there. No shelters, no law protecting me but I would never sacrifice my safety or the safety of my son for rent and a place to live. If I had to start from scratch, then that was what I was going to do. I don’t see there being an option. I don’t see any room for compromise.

There is help out there now and there has been for a long time. There is no excuse anymore. Women, all over this world, are truly helpless. They don’t have options. Their abuse sanctioned by law and religion. Beaten to death and the abuser is congratulated for his actions. The victim truly vilified.

Abuse in this country needs to stop, obviously. The abusers brought down low through law and through societal scorn but the women who allow this to continue need to be held accountable as well. Yes, we all feel terrible that you are harmed but you are fully aware of your future. It will include stitches, emergency room visits and probably the morgue, later down the road because the abuse always escalates. There is no “I won’t do it again!” that holds any truth. A dozen roses or a Michael Kors purse will never be enough compensation for what will, inevitably, occur in a few weeks or a couple of months. The abuse will re-occur and it will escalate. That is just the way it is. Ain’t fair but where, please show me where, you are promised fairness in life.

There are good men out there; there are good women out there who would no more abuse someone they love than they would chew off their right arm. It is NEVER an acceptable action. We have resources. We have help. And to some extent, we enjoy protection by the law. It is up to us to avail ourselves of these options. The more women who continue to allow this to happen, the more women will see themselves also victimized because it will continue to be seen as acceptable behind closed doors. When we allow ourselves to be struck and do nothing to stop it, then we are accomplices in the beatings for other women, other children through inaction. There is no price high enough to allow this to be perpetuated. Better to be poor and in want, than to be lying on a slab in a morgue or worse, being forced to identify the beaten body of one our children.

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