Spousal Abuse and a Family in Crisis

In spite of the huge strides womens liberation has made in bettering the plight of women, we still suffer beatings, spousal rape and murder. For no more reason then we offended some male. Didn’t cook dinner right, didn’t make enough money, didn’t smile right. The reasons don’t matter, the outcome does. I am sickened to the soul by seeing or hearing of another woman suffering this way.

Last night my husband Dave came home from work, white and shaken. He had stopped by the store to pick a few things up before coming home. As he stepped outside the store, a man slugged a woman across the jaw rocking her back. They had been arguing when he went in to shop. As Dave dropped his package to stop him from hitting her further, another man knocked the assaultive jerk out cold. They helped her into the store, to call the police. Dave said what bothered him most was no one helped until Dave and the other man jumped in, which they applauded. He was disgusted by the applause and treating this as a spectator sport. He told me she had children, which in turn, prompted me to write this article.

Can you imagine being a small child and seeing Mommy beaten senseless? Can you feel the terror, hurt and pain? And if it’s really Daddy doing the beating? The horrible mix of hate, anger and love? The utter and complete powerlessness and helplessness? I ask these questions, because I want all of us to think about the cost to the children, when we, the bystanders, wherever we are, sit by and do nothing.

Speaking very honestly here, women have choices, and the right one is to get help and get out. Children have no choices. Their role is to sit and suffer silently. There is always a way out, if you need to take it. Let me tell you about a former friend and what happened when she didn’t take the help offered her.

I’ll call her Katie {not her real name}. Katie had 4 children and had been married for 15 years. Her children were 4, 6 ,8 and 10. Two boys and 2 girls. When I first met her, she was always nervous and always covered up with long sleeves and pants, even in 90 degree weather. Her children cried and whined constantly. She never seemed to be able to go out to lunch, shopping or even the neighborhood park. One day she asked to talk to me privately. She told me her husband had been beating her for the last 6 years, at times, knocking her unconscious. He had beaten and raped her the night before. She took off her blouse and showed me the bruises and lacerations from his fists and a stick.

I offered her shelter and help. We called the police and her husband was arrested. Counseling and housing at the battered womens shelter was arranged and she moved in with her children. Her 8 year old son told the counselor he wanted to die, and please don’t let Mommy go back to Daddy. She did. Bottom line, when it came time for her to testify, she refused. 16 months later Mikey killed himself. I will never forget those haunted, hurt eyes. And I will never forgive her refusal to advocate for her children.

If you have children and are in an abusive relationship. Leave. Now. If not for yourself, for your kids. They deserve a chance to live free of fear and hurt. It takes courage to stop being a victim. If you don’t have the courage, then have love enough to give them to someone who will love them as they need to be loved. This ones for you Mikey. I love you.

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