Monday, January 08, 2007

Some Like It Rough

Picture this. A dedicated physician with a thriving practice, a working engineer husband and two adorable kids. Sounds like the perfect Stepford family, doesn't it? But as usual, nothing is as immaculately Wisteria Lane picture-perfect as it seems behind closed French doors.

Tension mounts as angry voices are raised over trivial matters. Balled-up fists are poised to strike.

And then it happens. One hit.

What happens next?

Fortunately never been placed in that position since I know exactly what I would do. Hell hath no fury as a woman's anger but I can certainly raise some vindictive fire if I had to. Some rough-and-ready slam-on-the-wall sex is welcome enough but physical violence anywhere else is an anathema to me. God knows I'll probably be hauled into court for assault and battery ( if not cold blooded murder with my hands bloodied after my grisly trapts ) after taking that unwitting first lump or two. But that's all evil wicked Paul, and we all know what a vengeful Scorpion's vendetta can be like.

But for some ladies, spousal abuse can take different turns. Like me, some would stand and fight. Some turn and walk away. And there are some - like my friend Whispery Wilhelmina - who wipes away their disappointed tears, spreads foundation over their bruised eyes - and carefully bites their tongue the next time it happens.

Spousal abuse. It happens.

Hit me baby one more time?

And as much as I'd like to sympathize/empathize with their desperate plight, I always feel a maddening fury coming on instead. Surely the tendency is to blame the barbaric neanderthal of a husband but sometimes I think we have to look at the battered spouse too. Exactly what is going on in their heads? Have they all buried significant parts of their self-esteem - and possibly their spine - in their childhood closets sometime after their wedding day? Doesn't women's emancipation mean anything to them? What can they possibly mean by staying in such a broken lopsided marriage?

Whispery Wilhelmina : But it has never happened before and he promised...

Yeah. Promised that he'll change. Really? Does a raging leopard change its spots? I'll grant you that one redeeming chance but to take a beating time and again like the proverbial human punching bag while hoping beyond hope that something will change? What kinda seriously cock-eyed optimism is that?

Whispery Wilhelmina : But maybe it's my fault. I shouldn't have done...

Give in to him. Bend over backward ( easier without that spine after all ), will ya? A petty argument over bedlinen ends up in a bitter quarrel with flying fists? What happens next when something large comes up? A bloody machete? Getting tossed out of the 20-storey apartment through the window?

Whispery Wilhelmina : But I have to stay for the children...

For the sake of the children? Seriously? You think a child doesn't know when her mother pales at the sight of her father's anger? You think she doesn't hear her mother cry in the night on her pillow? And didn't she learn anything about the vicious cycle of abuse in medical school?

Still, I held my tongue as best I could. Was stunned as hell when she related bits of the tale to me ( more like I dragged it out of her ). Counselled her as much as I could ( without giving in to the need to throttle her for being such a submissive dolt ). Told her to seek help if she needs it. However all is well at the moment and she steadfastly claims her brutish husband remains attentive as ever without any signs of morphing into the violent beast.

But it only takes that small straw to break.

Adult life is certainly not all ha ha hee hee after all.


connerkent said...

I know some good counselors, let me know if you need their contacts.

Anonymous said...

Whispery Wilhelmina needs a friend to help her build confidence before she would be willing to seek help.

It's hard for someone to accept such a thing is happening to them sometimes if they haven't been prepared beforehand with knowledge that they should protect themselves. Denial often sets in when your dreams are shattered. Initially.

I think you're doing okay so far as a friend.

A few things:
The children could be next.
The children of abusive parents are more likely to be abusive themselves when they grow up.
There is no shame to stand up for her rights and her children's rights.
Financial issues can be worked out.
She is strong, and she can be stronger. She can get through this.

Anonymous said...

Do they have shelters for battered women in your town that she could go to?

strapping.shane said...

One day, she might snap. And she might kill him. Or be killed. There is only so much a person can take. Really. Best now would be to tell her to leave him - but easier said than done, ain't it?

Anonymous said...

good god. and you are a good doc, giving her some counseling. i hope things won't get worse than they are now with her.

nyonyapenang said...

i'd pray for strength for her.

Jemima said...

This post reminds me of a song by Kylie Minogue & Nick Cave " Where the Wild Roses Grow" well as "Independence Day" by Martina McBride..

It's so sad that life can be so messy..

Anonymous said...

Tell her of this tale:

There is a woman whose face got blown away by her ex-boyfriend who also kill her mother. What left of her face was her left eye and her mouth.

She needs to get out.

Anonymous said...


whatever it is...sabar aje lah!

Anonymous said...

I believe most women stay due to fear. Most men will NOT allow the spouse/girlfriend to leave them. Think of OJ Simpson's wife who attempted to leave him. Reports have shown women who try to leave their man do get 'hunted' down by them.

In our country, husbands who are charged with assault get less jail time than if a stranger punched the woman. Our laws must change to protect these victims. They are manipulated and brainwashed into thinking that it is their fault, that they will be 'hunted' down if they attempt to leave. The fear is put in their minds.

It's a difficult path to find that escape hatch. There is nobody to protect them. At least not here in the USA. You can file a restraining order - but nobody will enforce it. The authorities can't do anything *UNTIL* after the fact, until he touches you. It's amazing. If you can't defend yourself - nobody else will do it for you.

and Ban is absolutely right. The children will be the next punching bags if they are not already. Many women will find strength through their children to get OUT to protect them. It's an avenue I would encourage with your friend Paul.

Thanks for bringing up an important issue that doesn't discriminate through race, culture, geography. It's a sad human condition.

... and then God created Men! said...

She needs what I've done with my best friend: I managed to make her strong enough to get divorced; and she is enjoying a great life now with her son.

She needs a frined. A shoulder. Someone who walks her through all this.

savante said...

Yeah, connerkent, given a few a numbers. Even told her to call the police or even me if she needs help. I'm always ready to club a bad hubby.

Told her all that - although in a less astringent fashion as in my post, daniel :)

They do have somewhere about, sue, not sure where yet. Hopefully it hasn't reached that stage.

Told her exactly the same thing, shane.

Well, she claims she's getting better so we shall see, mark.

Think she does enough of that too, nyonya.

Life can get quite messy so make sure your eyes are wide open in love, jemima.

Told her that too, petie.

Yeah, I was biting my tongue remember, anon.

True. I had this Jennifer Lopez images in my head when she told me all that, anniiiieee....

Think she'll be okay. We'll see how it goes.


Anonymous said...

I am the same way, if a guy ever puts a hand on me he better expect a fight.

JL said...

woman beaters are losers!

if she wants to learn some self defense techniques can come find me :)