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Domestic Violence

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05.06.2006

Advantages:
Um .  .  .  first draft .

Disadvantages:
FIRST DRAFT !

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22 Ciao members have rated this review on average: very helpful See ratings
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  1. maureenhastie
  2. fritzthecat
  3. Jossland
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(Sorry for the crappy title, but I didn't want anyone to read this and have "triggers" or whatever...)

THE LIES

You know, the constant lies I had to tell were the worst. I was forced to fabricate accidents, feigning clumsiness, and to suffer the causetum of them. You'd assume I would feel shame, or embarrassment, at being known for being accident-prone, but I didn't. Oh, I suffered from guilt and shame, alright, but it was for the untruths, rather than the injuries I countenanced. Every time I had to utter a lie from my mouth, I cringed with regret, with shame, with abhorrence at my own abject apathy. I despised myself. He made me despise myself, in the beginning; but by the end he didn't need to, I could do it by myself. But I needed to tell the lies, because not to would invoke something altogether more shameful - a hideous secret, and the root of my misery.

There are three types of lies: gross untruths, slight exagerations, and misleading statements. The first is a real, true, lie. It could be large or small, for example saying I did some revision yesterday when really I went shopping, is a gross untruth. These types of lies are told in order to avoid the consequences of telling the truth. A slight exageration is pretty obvious, and I won't insult your intelligence by defining it. A misleading statement is answering a different question than one that is asked - something politicians are experts at (and all famous people, and cheating husbands (or wives, for that matter) and children. This is also known as equivocating. They are generally harmless. But enough of the essay, the lies I was forced (by myself, mostly) to tell were gross untruths. To be technical about it, that is. And I like being technical, it makes me feel safe.

Are you becoming incressingly despondent with the continuous procrastination and endless tangents of this tale? I bet you are. Shall we move onwards, then? Back to the fibbing...

The first time I lied to my friends and family was the worst. It was the worst because it was the first time, and I wasn't used to it then (I never did become accustomed to it, to be honest, but back then I was grossly inexperienced with it also); it was also the worst because it was the most massive lie of them all. I even lied to myself, that time. Five years later, and I'm still not sure I've come clean even to myself, and I certainly haven't to anyone else. It was a massive lie, because I had to tell it to everyone, over and over, again and again, time after time. When I say everyone, I mean literally everyone. It was on my wedding day.

THE FIRST LIE

The first time it happened was on New Year's Eve. Funnily enough, the last time it happened was Christmas Eve, four years later. Do you see a pattern? But that first time, let's go back to that. This is difficult for me, just slightly, because it's one of those things I've not yet allowed myself to focus on for more than a few seconds. For some reason it's quite painful - be it for my stupidity, be it for the moment when everyone went wrong, the end of the honeymoon period only days before the honeymoon begun, or whatever.

It was New Year's Eve. I was happy that day, joyous in fact. And why shouldn't I be happy? I was about to be wed only two days later, to the most amazing man I'd ever known. He was truly amazing, you know. Back then, he was. He was kind, and thoughtful, and sweet, and caring... but of course I'm lying again. He was none of those things. He was a monster. Then, and now. Only then he hadn't revealed himself to me.

So that day, New Year's Eve, it was also my Hen Night. I was going out with the girls. Nothing extravegant, you know; just a few drinks, with the girls. I would have hated the whole male stripper and virginal 'L plates' routine. It was just to be a few drinks. I was quite hungover anyway. I'd even have preferred to call off the Hen Night and stay in with him, or to go out with him, but you don't call off your own Hen Night, do you? Well, I did. In the end I had to.

It started with a harmless statement. I know that now. I analysed it over and over, if only I hadn't said that, if only I hadn't looked at him that way, if only... but I did. I did utter whatever triviality it was. It doesn't matter. Could have been anything. Oh, if only I'd known that then... But I did know it. I did. How could I not have known?

And I am trying to get to my point, dear reader. For four years it was blocked. I ignored the thoughts, the images, the truth. I refused to acknowledge it, to block it out. For sometimes, it's easier that way. It's easier to run away from yourself than to run from the one person who can and will hurt you the most.

He hit me. There, I said it. Killed the suspense. He pushed me into a door. My nose cracked; it was broken. I could tell it was broken from the pain, aside from the noise. The crack, though barely audible, was deafening accompanied by the pain. The pain was intense, and immediate, and a surprise. The whole event was a surprise.

And there's the lie. He hit me; pushed me into that door. I didn't trip. It wasn't an accident. He didn't push me playfully, and it just so happened that my nose got caught in the door. Yes, it sounds incredible, doesn't it? It is incredible. But that's what I told myself, these four years. He pushed me into a door, he didn't mean to do it, it's not like he punched me. That's what I said to myself. To him I said nothing; I sensed I wasn't allowed to speak. To my parents, and my friends, and my family, and all of our other well-wishers I said I'd tripped. Nothing at all to do with him.

And that was my first lie. And that was how I came to attend my own wedding with a broken nose and two black eyes. And that is why when people say "oh, I don't regret the things I've done; it's the things I didn't do I regret more" I look at them with disbelief. Because the most idiotic thing I ever did was marry that monster.


NO ACCIDENT

There's a poem, I wonder if you've read it? It is a poem from the perspective of a victim of domestic abuse, a "battered wife" they call it. It speaks of the perpetrator not being all bad because he bought the victim, his wife, flowers today, or chocolates today, or whatever. That poem is very sad. It's sad because it gives the impression that the abusive husband is mostly benevolent, but only has a mild temper problem. And it gives the impression that he's apologetic, afterwards. Many people believe this, many men believe this, many women believe this, which is scary.

No, because that first time, I looked at him. I expected him to be shocked, as I was. I still am, but that's besides the point. I expected to see immediate regret cloaking his face. It didn't. I searched his eyes for the merest hint of remorse, and yet it wasn't there. I looked away, when I didn't find it. Didn't want to acknowledge the bitter truth: he wasn't sorry because it hadn't been an accident. He hurt me, in such a way that even now I could never imagine hurting him, even now it pains me to think of anyone suffering that pain, not least someone I love. Love, oh ha ha.

I remember the pain, the physical pain, throbbing across my face, ear to ear. I remember it so vividly, like it was only yesterday. I remember the mental anguish, too. Please, I silently begged of him; please, please be shocked, please be sorry, please promise me it will never happen again. Please.

He didn't. I was afraid of him. I knew then that the lack of regret, coupled with my fear, spelled trouble. Heck, everyone who reads this will know. You will be silently cursing my stupidity. Some of you. For the worrying thing is that it's believed one in five men and one in ten women think it okay for a woman to be abused by her husband. Note, abused. Not, beaten, once or twice, or even slapped occasionally, but abused. And that is why I need to write this.

I'm not so foolish or egotistical to think to myself, if only I can save one person from this misery, it will all be worth it. I know I won't save anyone, only they can do that. And it's a long hard path, at least from the other side. From this side, it's the most pleasant journey you could ever take.

For half an hour I silently, and fruitlessly, begged. He came out of it, after that, and apologised.
"I'm sorry for hurting your face." He muttered. "It was an accident."
"I know".
It wasn't an accident though, and we both knew that. I smiled, relieved that the past half hour had come to a rest. Now we would be back to normal, I hoped. But that's when the thoughts begun.

"It wasn't an accident. How dare he make out it was. How dare he not even ask if I am in pain. How dare he not offer to take me to a hospital."
"He didn't mean to do it. It's pre-wedding jitters, everyone had heard of them. I haven't told him I'm in pain, therefore how is he supposed to know? He isn't a mind reader."
"Bastard."

And so they went on. And on, and on. I was desperate to tell someone. My mum, my best friend, anyone. But I couldn't. Because telling someone would mean facing up to the issue that I was about to become one of these statistics of abused women, and I couldn't do that. Not yet. Not that day, two days before getting married.

TO BE CONTINUED...

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Comments about this review »

maureenhastie 28.06.2007 19:41

Hi This was a very good review I have been there in the same situation. Have been away from him for two years but the healing process has been a long one, it is so easy for anyone to end up in this situation because these kind of men are actually very clever, and can always convince you that had you acted differently they would not have hit you. But they would have, because they need to have that control because basicly they are very insecure.

dbirse 04.04.2007 13:29

Very Good.

fritzthecat 06.08.2006 02:55

This is superb and very intense. I sincerely hope that you have posted this in the "Fiction" category as it is only fiction and nothing else. Sandra

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This review of Fiction has been rated:

"exceptional" by (43%):

  1. maureenhastie
  2. fritzthecat
  3. Jossland

and 12 other members

"very helpful" by (57%):

  1. Secre
  2. dbirse
  3. gizmogizmo

and 17 other members

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.