Speaking up on abuse at home

Sunday voices: Ruminations

I know I must have talked about this before, but it bears repeating: REAL MEN DON’T HIT! I am sick to death of hearing about young women, even middle aged women, being smacked around by their insignificant others, and then blaming themselves. “I provoked him,” “I made him mad,” and any number of other excuses women come up with for why they were abused. Girls, young ladies, women: a man worth staying with doesn’t hit. Period.

This wasn’t my original topic I had in mind for this column, but circumstances have come to my attention, and I can’t just ignore them. A young mother I know is being hit, punched, and verbally cut apart by her baby’s father. In addition, when she goes to work at one of her two jobs, the father threatens to take the baby away if she doesn’t toe the mark. My sweet girl, this isn’t what love is. This male, I don’t even want to call him a man, is abusing you, both physically and mentally. Take the baby and run!

You know, I never knew men hit women except in the movies. I had never seen two grown men fight. I have never experienced a boyfriend or mate who hit. Maybe they wanted to at some point, but never, ever, did they do it. My mother told my father that if he ever hit her, or the kids, she’d be gone and slap him in jail to boot. He must have believed her; he never hit us.

I have become a strong woman, but I wasn’t always such. The young lady of whom I speak has a strong mother, but she wasn’t always such either. We have grown to be women who know what we want, and don’t want, and we don’t put up with any sh… hmmm, looking for a polite word to replace the four-letter one I was thinking. But why, oh why, do our young ladies think it’s normal to have their boyfriend or husband abuse them?

In my grandmother’s day, women were viewed as “belonging” to their husbands, property to do with as he pleased. I can’t picture my particular grandmother putting up with that, but be that as it may, that was the era. The wife and children were a man’s to love, cherish, beat, or expel as he wished, and no one was going to fault him for it. My mother’s generation was a bit better, but there was still the “my husband lets me (or doesn’t let me)” straight jacket on women. It was necessary to get the man’s permission to go, or do, or be whatever his wife wanted. I still hear women say that: “My husband won’t let me go (to wherever).” Seriously?

How did men get to achieve the god-like status some women give them? Barring some religious groups who still demand the husband be superior, and women buy it, give me a break. We, men and women, are a partnership. Perhaps not always an equal partnership, but we should be working together to make a life for ourselves from which we both benefit. That does not include physical violence from either of the partners.

A word to any young women who may see this: if you are in a physically, or mentally, abusive relationship, get out! If you’re afraid, talk to someone. There are agencies and groups out there to help you. If you’re not sure what an abusive relationship is, let me tell you some signs. Hitting, punching, kicking, pinching, anything that physically hurts you, is abuse! Being isolated, not allowed to see your family or friends, or being told you are no good, worthless, or stupid is emotional/mental abuse. You are better than that. You deserve better. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. God bless.

Robyn Near is a Ripley resident. Send comments to editorial@observertoday.com