Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Nobody's Punchbag

Excuse me, I hope I'm not speaking out of turn, but you look sad today. Is that a bruise? Where did you get that? You don't come out as often as you used to? Everything ok at home?
Silence. Awkwardness. There's an unspoken language at play already, something in their demeanor stating that a line has been crossed. It's an ugly fact that domestic abuse appears to be the norm in the lives of many. Be it physical violence, verbal abuse, financial deprivation, coercive control; many women and some men are on the receiving end. I've long since felt that some of the greatest evil, the most sustained malice actually goes on behind closed doors. We never see it in public; it's kept out of sight. The victims are from all social backgrounds, and some suffer in ways that no person should. Now whilst the physical violence is in itself an outrage, I think the verbal and psychological abuse is often the greater evil. So to the offender I ask the following question; what is it in you that compels you to act this way? What kicks do you derive from running someone into the ground? I suspect your behavior is a projection of your own self loathing? Simmering beneath the violence and the venom is the simple objective fact that you really don't like yourself much? We've all got our sob stories, and we've all done awful things from time to time. But you? Why is it that you demean your partner? Or the mother of your children? Why don't you let her out? or stop her from working? or make threats to harm the kids or yourself if she doesn't comply? And what of the passive aggressive female? The one that seeks control through manipulation, smothering and crushing the man you are with? What's your story? What do you hate about yourself? Why the insecurity? And now to the victims, those in the line of fire. Just because somebody says you're worthless doesn't make it so. Just because you've put on a few pounds, or lost your job, your hair, your libido; doesn't mean you have to be anybody's emotional or physical punchbag. If you are one of those caught in a spiral of domestic abuse can I encourage you to confide in someone? There's a way out for you; you're worth so much more than what your abuser tells you. The first step is always the hardest, and there may be further stumbles on route. But you don't have to live this way, and nobody has the right to treat you with disrespect.

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