Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Real Burning Bed

A dear friend confided to me -- thirty years after the fact -- that her long-time steady BF all through high school and into their 20s had been physically abusive, finally getting to the point he actually attempted to choke her to death. Her 'crime' was dancing with a group of their friends at a wedding party. She was saved by his room mate unexpectedly returning home, and she ran into the night, walking several miles home until being picked up by a Good Samaritan who turned out to be a counselor who sat in the car for hours and persuaded her she could not return to her BF no matter what remorse he showed later. She never did. He did go on to marry -- and no doubt abuse -- his wife before dying young.

Another friend from high school told me she had been raped at a party by a 'BMOC.' She told him to stop and he refused, telling her afterwards he "didn't believe her," "she got what she wanted," and "no one would believe her."

Yet another confided she was sexually abused as a teen by the adult manager of the store she worked in through her school years. He told her that her job and benefits were at risk if she told anyone, and he would tell everyone she was a "slut."

During my college years, I saw crazed behavior at a frat party that was getting into scary territory to the point my intuition screamed for me to get out. During a blind date that turned very sour, I was able to bluff my way out of danger by being deliberately calm and doing things I knew would turn a narcissist off; in the other circumstance, someone literally stepped in and stopped the frenzied pack mentality.

I knew girls in college who hadn't been so lucky.

Unfortunately, misogyny and abuse abounds, and I know more stories from young women through the years. What every girl shared from these incidents was the fact they were young, sexually inexperienced, and naive - and preyed upon by loathsome teens and men. They were impressionable and made to feel embarrassed and culpable - like it had been their fault the abuse occurred in the first place.

I know for a fact two who have really never gotten over it. They stuffed it inside, tried to forget about it, or it was the catalyst for some wild behavior they now regret. One woman has never gotten close enough to another man to enjoy a long-time relationship, let alone get married.

I know this kind of abuse occurs every day. I am thankful it is being exposed more and more, and as people are educated to the dark horrors of this behavior, more laws and help is offered to innocent women, children, animals, and yes, men, who are ensnared in an insidious web of domestic abuse.

If you suspect anyone of living with this horror, reach out and offer your help. You may be saving a life, or a lifetime of a bad memory or regret. Many are so emotionally downtrodden they're no longer aware they don't have to live that way.


Tam said...

Great post, Amy. Can I add that emotional and mental abuse are just as prevalent in our society and just as in need of attention? AND it's not always men toward women. Thanks for sharing this and shedding much needed light!!

I Wonder Wye said...

As someone who suffered emotional abuse I know it's insidious and as bad -- and I mentioned violence against men, too -- it's also a problem, unfortunately, b/c they sometimes have even a harder time finding help. Thanks Tam...

running42k said...

My wife's first marriage was abusive and luckily she got out. (Lucky for me too as I know how lucky I got!)

I guess it is fear that keeps them there. It is the devil you know instead of the unknown.

The root of the problem is the unacceptable behavior of the men in this story and that needs to change. Fathers need to take responsibility to bring their sons up correctly.

Chris said...

Great post. The stories reminded me too much of haunted looks I have seen in the looks of mutual friends and classmates when they thought no one was looking. It's hard to believe that there are so many men who can be so despicable, and how often they succeed in life.

wendy said...

It is awful to think of these things perpetrated on young ..and old....women.
My second husbands cousin was shot in the head (died of course) leaving a 2 year old in the wake. The saddest thing is we all believe it was her husband.....totally botched police investigation and not enough proof to prosecute. So sad.

I used to sit in the court room when I worked as a clerk for a Judge and hear many many cases of abuse. They were sad. The worst were the ones involving small children. Tore my heart out.

I am glad there is more awareness.

cornflakegirl74 said...

The blogging community is very lucky to have you and I'm glad that you listened to your friend and started this blog. This is definitely an issue that needs more awareness. Thank you for this.

BeMistified said...

I recently had to deal with a teenager that was in a mental abusive relationship. Through some tough love, she came through it and is no longer with the guy. This needs to be brought into brighter lights.