When our family lived in a different city, we had a maid who came in to clean the house and help out my mother in the kitchen. She had dropped out of school and had difficulty reading and doing math. People, especially her husband, took advantage of this and cheated her out of her own income. Though this made my rage boil over, I couldn’t and didn’t interfere because I didn’t want to make things worse for her. I knew her husband came home drunk most nights of the week, and depending on his mood, he’d either be too loving or too cruel as to use her as his personal punching bag. She had “walked into too many doors” for me not to notice a pattern.
One day, she happily announced that she was carrying and that she hoped the baby would be a boy. When I asked her why she wanted a boy and not a girl, she said she didn’t want her to be like her, and that she’d much rather it be a boy, because boys had it so much easier than us girls. When I argued with her that it just wasn’t so, she just shook her head at me and smiled a mysterious Mona Lisa smile.
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On a different occasion, I asked her why she put up with her abusive husband. She said she loved him, and that he wasn’t really a bad person at heart, but the circumstances made him react in an abusive way towards her. I was confused. If your spouse physically abused you, there’s no excuse – whether circumstances made him do it or not. Actually, scratch that, nobody or nothing can make someone hit another person. But I guess I could understand her reasoning for staying with him – in a twisted way, she really did love him.
But that got me thinking about domestic abuse/violence and this reasoning given by many abusers that their circumstances/their boss/their despair/alcohol/drugs made them hit their partners/spouses. When is it okay to hit your spouse? What circumstances “justify” abuse?
NEVER, that’s when.
Suggested read: Is he abusing me or does he love me too much?
It’s NOT okay to hit your spouse when you’ve had a bad day at work and want to feel better.
It’s NOT okay to hit your spouse to soothe the jealousy raging in your veins because they’re better than you.
It’s NOT okay to hit your spouse because they didn’t make your favorite dish for dinner.
It’s NOT okay to hit your spouse when you can’t get a promotion while your partner does, much before than you.
It’s NOT okay to hit your spouse because you want to make yourself feel better after downing one too many shots of vodka.
It’s NOT okay to hit your spouse because they spoke up and stood up for themselves, which you deemed ‘disrespectful.’
It’s NOT okay to hit your spouse because they denied you access to their body, which, by the way, is their prerogative, whether or not you’re married.
It’s NOT okay to hit your spouse because they didn’t iron your clothes the way you want them to.
It’s NOT okay to hit your spouse because they don’t want your children.
It’s NOT okay to hit your spouse because they tried to protect the kids from getting their little bodies being beaten black and blue.
It’s NOT okay to hit your spouse because they’re getting on your nerves.
It’s NOT okay to hit your spouse because they treated you with disdain.
It’s NOT okay to hit your spouse to show them ‘their place.’
It’s NOT okay to hit your spouse when you think they act superior to you.
It’s NOT okay to hit your spouse – EVER. Period.
Domestic abuse has long been spoken in hushed tones and not given the due attention it deserves. Many women, and men too, suffer in silence, making up excuses for having that bruise on their faces, on their arms, on their shoulders, by “accidentally” walking into a door, or “accidentally” tripping down the stairs. These “accidents” need to stop – NOW. And we need to create an environment where such “accidents” can be spoken about and addressed, at the earliest possible.
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