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A Domestic Abuse Story, Tommys Shame
A preface to Domestic Violence
In my lifetime support for victims of domestic abuse has become stronger and more widespread. As a kid growing up I was taught never to keep abuse a secret, love should never hurt.
Boys around me were told, NEVER hit a girl. Some men I know were taught, never hit a girl even if she hits you first. The twist on this lesson is a divided one and gender stereotypes blur the issue.
The story I have to tell may not be what you expected from a topic like this.
Tommy was a good boy who grew up to become a good man. His parents taught him violence was never the solution to problems and he learned to have a gentle heart.
When Tommy grew up he married Julie. Julie was the girl of Tommys dreams. Her short small body contained a huge spirit. She simply took his breath away. He had never met a girl like her, she loved sports and sci-fi, she loved adventure movies and beer. They shared all the same interests and tastes from politics to how to have fun. Tommy never knew the love he feels for Julie before and wouldn't have thought it possible if he wasn't experiencing it first hand.
At first Tommy and Julie had the perfect marriage. They never fought, their married life was bliss. As time wore on small arguments sprung up. Over time those arguments got louder and took longer to solve.
Julies temper feels like an injured wild animal to Tommy. He knows he loves Julie, even the wild animal temper. He sees her temper flare when she feels hurt and wonders if somehow he hurt her. He knows he isn't perfect and that he can be insensitive and selfish. He wonders if it is his fault.
Tommy is alone with this problem. He thinks that he must be a man and be strong in the face of such rage. What are a few bruises, if your a real man he asks himself. He believes his friends would laugh at him for being beaten up by a girl but he loves her to much to strike back and so he suffers in silence.
Whether its love for Julie or the shame of being hurt by a girl he keeps his silence. He does not know if he deserves this abuse or not and so keeps the secret. The fighting is not that often and usually they do have lots of fun and so he tries to forget it.
What should Tommy do?
Tommys' story is a creation of my imagination but could be very real. This story could go on and lead to divorce but I wonder how often it does. I suspect that in some cases the story never really ends and the abuse just carries on. Gender roles complicate this issue and while men do suffer abuse at the hands of their girl friends and wives there seems to be little awareness or support for this problem.
I would like to ask that you let me know what you think in the comments box below. Do you think a man should suffer abuse because he is a man and that somehow means he should be stronger? Should he leave an abusive woman no matter what? Men, what would you do? Women, do we hold ourselves to a different standard then men?