Wednesday 2 June 2010

I wish to strangle you with wire ...

I know domestic violence is a tough subject to talk about, especially for those who have experienced it. I'm thankful and lucky not to have ever experienced this. Below is a poem I wrote putting myself in the imaginary shoes of a domestic violence victim. Have a read, and then tell me your opinion of my thoughts below it.

Remember the time I woke you, and you were already awake?
Remember I had my suitcase ready? I could have run for goodness sake.
In just one moment there, I would have loved to pull your hair.
Or hold a knife to your neck; a game of truth or dare.

I wish to burn your books; all your photos in a fire.
I wish to smash glass on your head or strangle you with wire.
But I only have one last thing I to say, and you must know,
How I’ve spent our 'happy' lifetime, becoming a kung fu pro.

So don't even attempt to hit me, with that base ball bat.
I'll drop you to the ground, then clean your brains off the bathroom mat.
I'll put you in the bathtub, slit your wrists, and write a note.
It'll confess how much you beat me; I'll leave it in your coat.

So think before you strike me now; before I walk out this door.
Think about the countless days you left me bleeding on the floor.
Think about your daughter; how you will never see her again.
And think how much you'll miss me; you'll miss inflicting pain.

This time you can't stop me; this time I won't come back.
This time is the last, you'll see my face blue and black.
So goodbye and good luck. I wish you all the best.
Well, no, actually I don't; I hope you never lay to rest.

Now, I know many who haven't experienced domestic violence think that they would just leave, no doubt about it, right? But I think the reality of it is that most women are too scared to leave, and their hopes for things to get better grow bigger and bigger. They convince themselves that they must have deserved it and that they are to blame.

To us, who look in from the outside, we see it as ridiculous, but we never truly know how we would react unless it actually happened. So, my point is, instead of judging these women for staying in a relationship that is harmful, support them and just be there for them if they need you.

What is your opinion about this?


  1. This topic hits home for me. I have a sister who is the victim of domestic violence. She's lived for years under her husband's tyranny. Only once, she had him arrested, when he choked her as she held their infant daughter in her arms. Finally, after years and years of living in a fog of fear and insecurity, she has left him. Now, she's in the gravest danger of all. 70% of domestic violence cases that escalate to murder occur after the abused leaves her abuser.

    Scary stuff. Especially for a sister who lives so far away.

  2. I think it is very very difficult to get out of an abusive relationship. If it were as easy to get out of one as people claim it could be, why would there be so many women in an abusive relationship and so few women who have survived one providing guidance and support to the ones in a relationship.

    The most beautiful actress in Bollywood (and voted one of the most beautiful women in the world) was in an abusive relationship. She was beautiful, she was successful, she was uber popular, she was rich, and yet, she couldn't tear herself away from the relationship, no matter what it dit to her physically or professionally.

    Today, she is out of that relationship, but she never does anything publicly to support women who are victims of domestic violence. If she speaks out, what a difference it would make, but no, she will not.

    But I can't presume to think for her, or for anyone else. I can only promise I will do whatever I can to help someone in one.

  3. I will say that I was one of those women at the beginning who wondered why others didn't leave when they were being abused. How naive I had been, it wasn't until I found a book in my local library that changed my mind.

    If I am missing or dead by Janine Latus, it is a story about a woman and her sister, both involved in domestic violence, and one that went to far. The story was true, the girl who wrote it is the one who lived it and her sister is also a major part of the story. I recommend it to anyone who has lived it and can't see the light at the end of the tunnel, there is hope, and for others that don't understand it because it sheds a light on a very important topic.

    I'll say I was ashamed to admit that I hadn't believed someone didn't just leave the relationship after reading this. I could never imagine the pain victims must feel. I am sorry to all of those I ever doubted. Those women are strong for leaving, and even stronger when they walk away.

  4. Very thought provoking. Emotions of fear etc. are so well captured.

  5. First of all great poem, thanks for sharing Jessica.

    Then regarding the topic this is a terrible condition in society. There are far more abusive relationships out there I am sure than statistics would indicate. Especially if you include mental and emotional abuse as well. Of course you would want to tell the victim to just leave. Simple right? Unfortunately it is not and many many women suffer from this kind of scenario.

    You make a great point Jessica that a very important aspect is not to judge someone no matter what kind of decisions they make regarding this kind of thing. Whether they seek help on their own or are forced to by society or friends the last thing they need is a finger pointed at them for not doing something sooner.

    Tough subject but pretending it doesn't exist doesn't make it so. Thanks Jessica.

  6. Could some of this be avoided if the early warning signs were taught to young girls? What would they be told to look out for?

  7. I agree that they are scared not only of their partner but of how to support themselves when they leave - esp. if they don't have family to turn to. And I think it's embarassing also to admit to family that you're being abused. And a part of them probably still loves and truly hopes it's the last time. My heart goes out to them.

  8. Great poem, Jessica!

    I'm working on a YA novel that deals with relationship abuse. And no, even for a girl dating an abusive guy, it's not easy to leave.

    It's such a huge problem that a growing number of schools in the US now have educational programs dealing with the issue.

  9. The book I'm writing currently is about spousal rape and I admit that it's a disturbing write. But my character feels suffocated and so isolated that she couldn't leave for many years.


  10. Hmmm. This one hurts a little to read (in a good way). I lived through some of that with my mother's boyfriend. I saw her pain, the torment, the fear. And I felt it too.

    It's so much easier for people to stand on th outside and wonder why she doesn't leave. Ahh. Good poem.

  11. I agree - it's an impossible situation to judge for an outsider. I actually touch on this on the women's fiction manuscript I'm working on.

    I liked the poem. Good work :)

  12. Thanks for sharing the poem.

    Here's my thing about it. I'm a very strong, very independent woman. I swear, if a man ever laid a single finger on me, I would beat his brains out. No kidding. I think it's how I was raised. I know abuse it's not okay. I know it's not normal. It's probably the same reason I don't understand how people get stuck in those types of relationships.

    I feel for those who do. I can't imagine the turmoil in their daily lives, the pain they must endure. But at the same time, I don't understand it.


  13. Thank you, Jessica, for that poem and for bringing up a difficult topic like this one.

    I think it's so easy for those of us who have never been in such a relationship to say 'I'm stronger than that', 'I'd get out immediately' or 'I'd have him arrested'.

    It doesn't work like that. There is a creeping kind of weakness that comes over those in such situations, a gradual adjustment to a situation that is never unbearable over night, but becomes more and more so over time.

    It starts slowly, almost imperciebably. There's large elements of guilt and self-flaggelation involved on the victim's side. If she only kept a better house, wasn't such a slob. If only she could quit her job, if only she had more time for him and the kids, if only she wasn't such a shrew at times, if only, if only.

    By the time the abuse is noticable, it has become a habit, an ordinary thing, a cycle of anger and pain and blame that is very, very difficult to break out of.

    It's important not to be under the illusion that it could never happen to you (or me), because that kind of attitude makes it even more difficult to realise what kind of situation you're in.


  14. I always said I'd know if I had to leave a relationship, but I ended up staying with a guy who was verbally and emotionally abusive for far too long. I look back now and think: what WAS I thinking? All sorts of cliches could explain it, but I think in the end, it's simply that knowing when to get out is a long first step, and then taking that plunge is even more difficult.

    Great poem. Thank you for sharing.

  15. You got it spot on Jessica, 9 yrs after I was widowed I was living in Spain, I came to the UK ti visit my son and daughter and grandchildren, I happen to meet a most "Charming Gentleman" well we went for a drink, I flew back to

  16. Sorry about Jessica, I will continue,
    Spain and we kept in touch through email and phone, I saw him each time I came to see my children.
    To cut along story short we later on moved in together, he was still the "Charming Gentleman" until he retired from work then the violence started, I had so many bruises my children told me to get out.......and quick.
    I am on my own now lonely at times but at peace that I won't suffer at his hands, In the 35 yrs I was married my husband never laid a finger on me,
    Your poem was excellent and as I said spot on.


  17. I haven't had much experience about this. My first wife left me when she met someone who was "more of a gentleman than I was and knew how to treat a woman". Months later she wanted to reunite after he beat her up and trashed her stuff. By then the damage to the relationship had been done and I had met someone else.

    I agree with Will. I think the warning signs are usually there and women should try to learn what they are so they can teach others what to watch out for. Once you feel committed and tied down to a relationship, getting out is not always the easiest thing to do.

    Tossing It Out

  18. Nicely written poem, Jessica! Domestic violence is still a hot button issue and fear is certainly a motivating factor in a woman's decision to stay with her abuser.

    As we all know, abuse takes many forms. While it may be considered less of a threat to one's life than physical abuse, the manipulation and systematic demolition of one's emotional, spiritual, and mental life by verbal abuse is a different kind of "death".

    I've known women whose husbands/significant others never laid a finger on them, but killed their spirits all the same.

  19. What a powerful poem.

    You can never judge people in situations like this until you're actually in them yourself - and hopefully most people never will be. I can't even imagine the horror and pain.

  20. I think Will has a good point, that maybe some of the tragedy could be avoided if we taught girls (and boys, domestic violence goes both ways) the warning signs. I think that if we talked about it more, and didn't shove it under the rug to hide out with the elephant, we might be better off.

    Thanks for being willing and able to talk about it.

  21. --> "What is your opinion about this?"

    My opinion of it is that you need to read the books "LEGALIZING MISANDRY" by Paul Nathanson and Katherine K. Young [2006; 619 pgs.] and "TAKEN INTO CUSTODY" by Stephen Baskerville [2007; 358 pgs.]

    ~ "Lonesome Dogg" McD-Fens

    And by the way, AlliAllo, I've never yet seen a "Kung Fu pro" who could stop a speeding bullet... except in Hollywood movies, of course. Learning martial arts is hardly the answer (although I realize you probably weren't proposing that as any kind of genuinely serious solution to domestic violence).

  22. Great post.

    I had a friend who went through this. Hardest thing I ever did was just listen and not tell her what to do. (Everyone else already had anyway). She knew. Deep down. But as many things, easier said than done.

  23. Thank you, Jessica for pointing out that you were not able to comment on my blog. Was fiddling around with something yesterday, and seem to have disabled that :-(
    I know you were not the first person to notice you couldn't comment- I really appreciate the fact that you took the trouble to tell me.
    Thank you, again.

  24. Jessica-you're right--it is so easy to judge from the outside, but I think abusers have an instinct for the kinds of things to say... some are controlling and the woman has no resources to leave or place to go, sometimes they are demeaning and leave the woman with so little self worth they just can't believe they are worth better, sometimes the man is remorseful and acts loving and protective.

    I know it happens FAR MORE than most people are aware. I also know it's extrememly common for abused kids to become abused partners, or for kids who SEE abuse to become abused partners. But I think it is also shocking that women who see themselves as strong and capable can end up there and wonder what the hell happened. I don't think fighting back happens very often. LEAVING doesn't even happen as often as it should. It's definitely powerful stuff, and our sisterhood of women needs to be aware, so WHOEVER needs help, has it available at the precise moment it's needed, because the courage may only come once.

  25. I think the problem is abuse starts slowly and escalates. If it started out as bad as it ends up being, a lot of women would get out pronto. But in the beginning things are usually wonderful--maybe a red flag or two, but the good outweighs the bad.

    And slowly things shift and change until you're in a nightmare, and don't know how to get out.

  26. Unless we've been there, we just don't know.
    I despise men who abuse their wives and children. I just don't understand it.

  27. Great poem on such a difficult subject. Having never been, or known anyone in the situation it's hard for me to comment. But I don;t understand what makes people do it. I really don't.

  28. Wow - really powerful poem, Jessica. And a really intense topic. Luckily, I've never known that kind of fear or abuse. I can't imagine women having to deal with that daily - and, like Nicole said, understand that the fear quotient only doubles when they do manage to escape.

  29. Thanks for bringing up such a difficult topic. I ask my patients as part of my normal history taking about DV, `and I ask everyone despite their race or social status. It's everywhere, crosses every social strata, and it's frightening to see such accomplished, smart, savvy women victimized in this way.

  30. I never gave the subject a lot of thought (why women stay) until I read an article in a magazine in a doctor's office written by a woman who did stay and ended up having four kids with her husband, all the while he was physically abusing her. Hearing her tell her own story, I could see why she stayed, and I cheered for her when she finally was able to leave him.

  31. nice topic,.. like it... Thank for bringing up these topic..

  32. I guess when we know and love a person we see them in many different perspectives, the good and the bad. Whereas outsiders probably only see the violent act as 'who' the perpetrator is. And I would think if you love someone you think your love will be enough to get the two of you through and to mend them. But in reality the abuse will probably continue without any real intervention.
    I've always found it easy to leave over the little things (probably too easy), so I can't imagine staying after something that big?

    I think your poem sums up the way we want women in that position to feel and act.
    I love your first line :-)

  33. This is a very confronting poem. I also heard that it is true, people rarely leave. This is a serious issue and needs a lot more awareness, encouraging women to speak up and support eachother so that we have women brave enough to make the right decisions. Great post. Also, I enjoyed reading your interview on Zoe's page, good stuff!

  34. While I would certainly agree that any form of violence is unacceptable, I must echo Stephen McCarthy's post.

    It seems like most who have posted a comment here feel that violence happens far more than people think, and the book "Taken Into Custody" quotes statistics that indicate quite the opposite.

    Stephen does a lot more digging through source material than I am inclined to do, as I am only domestically violent to my cats, and that pretty much doesn't get rougher than a loud "get outta there."

    Baskerville's book is worth a read-food for thought.

    But to any woman (or man, for that matter) who is in an abusive relationship-seek help. Life is too damn short.

  35. Thank everyone for your comments. I don't have time to reply individually, but I have thoroughly read all of your comments. It was great reading all of your opinions.

    Re Stephen and DiscConnected's comments: I don't think my post had anything to do with statistics, where did you glean that from? The point of the post was to express an opinion regardless of the AMOUNT it happens. And statistic only portray 'reported cases', I'm sure there are plenty of instances that aren't recorded.

    And speaking from personal experience here, having been in a very emotionally abusive relationship, for three years, I can understand completely how someone doesn't leave. It took me two years to get out of that relationship despite being made to feel inadequate each and every day. I don't think there was one day in the last two years of that relationship that I didn't cry. but I stayed, because I loved him, and I thought things would get better. I'd convinced myself that they would, and I didn't allow myself to see any different. that man turned me, an independent, confident woman, into a frail, shy, scared girl without a backbone. I don't know why that happened, but it did, and the last thing I needed in that time was to be told to leave him. I didn't want to leave him. What I wanted was a shoulder to cry on, and someone who cared enough to help me through it in my own pace.

  36. >I don't think my post had >anything to do with statistics, >where did you glean that from?

    You're right-it was more the comments that stated that it happens more than one thinks. While I've only read the one book, I was very surprised to find that what the author reported is that it hapens less than one thinks. One case is too many, however.

    I guess that has always been my road block-I could never understand (1) why people stay and (2) why the people who love them let it happen.

    I remember my younger sister had someone making lewd and unwanted advances while in high school (I was a couple years older). I went into the school and beat the tar out of the guy (and he was a pretty big guy), and while she was a little embarassed by the incident, he walked the other way for the remaining year and a half and secretly I think she appreciated it.

    I'm not a psycho nutcase, nor particularly violent. Sometimes, a good butt-kicking is the best way to teach someone a lesson they should have learned as a yewt. That was one of those times.

    Had she been in an abusive relationship, I would have arranged an accident for the abuser. Not very Christian of me, but there's no way I could watch it go on. I've never cared much for bullies.

    For all women in bad relationships-walk the hell away! We're (men) just not worth it!

    Trust me-we men are a dime a dozen, and that's at retail. No one pays retail, so imagine what we're worth marked down!

    On a much lighter note, I believe those rascally bloggers are planning a wave of "lists", so you all better start thinking about favorite songs and movies...

  37. DiscConnected: I have my listing cap on rearing to go! :) hahahaha


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