Sunday, October 12, 2008

Abusive relationships and the Mile high club

It is amazing how taken for granted people take their own actions at times.

Principles are principles, but it is supremely important to understand them in order to be stead-fast to them and thus not take one’s own actions for granted.

Children are raised to believe, innocent and dependent as they are to believe their parents always mean good for them…but remember the two sentences I’ve just written, its not always that simple.

But what can children do?

I think at times these children grow up with mixed values and perpetuate these to their next generation.

And then there are those who understand the principles and break the cycle.

And it is thus that I feel knowledge is so close to divinity.

The post How to beat Girls and Women by an author who tells us from experience of how abuse of women is institutionalized:

It started with a lecture which you listened to in a search of the spots you might massage to prevent an escalation to beating - was he tired? Could you make a long explanation and bore him off? Create a distraction? Be sick? Or was he dead set on his entertainment? You knew the final judgment leaned towards beating when he said 'Fetch the belt.' This might mean walking all across the compound and round the house to the corner of the sitting room; or it might just mean turning round and unhooking it from the nail. But whatever the journey, nobody ever saw you do it. Even if they were sitting right there trying to work out how to melt away into the floor.

“Please don’t beat me. I’m having my period,” and he turned abruptly away from me, dropping the belt to his side, and marched away to the end of the path to stand staring at the fence for a few dangerous moments. Then he turned and marched back to me and handed me the belt. My heart leapt.

“What you just mentioned to me,” his voice had gone low. “Never mention it to me again. Never. That’s between you and your mother. Go!”

I was never beaten again. Nor as far as I recall was my little sister. Psychological torture became the punishment of choice…

… It's just a question of mind over matter. It 'doesn't matter' if Daddy beats you, it's important as a good daughter to let him, to swallow the pain, to let yourself down into your seat for days afterwards with a gasp and dismiss that pain as just your womanly due.

But you might pause here and think. Are these events however repetitive sufficient to institutionalize abuse of women. And the answer is probably no. What is required the last most important pillar to set up the institution is what follows below:

A few days later I was walking home with my mum, down a steep rutted path, when out of a silence she suddenly asked, “Why did you ask Daddy not to beat you because of your period?”


“The other day, when you asked Daddy not to beat you because of your period. Did you think it would make you bleed more heavily or something? Why did you - ? What did you think would happen?”

I was puzzled. I decided to stick with pure fact.

“I wasn’t having my period,” I said.
“What? You weren’t?”
“No. I wasn’t,” I waited for her to burst out laughing and congratulate me.
“You mean you lied?” she was shocked.
“Of course!” so was I.
“But why?” she asked.

Abuse is thus institutionalized in culture, only to wreak havoc in her adult life:

Nine years later, my boyfriend picked me up and threw me at a wall. He then kept me up the whole of the rest of the night with various torments. In the morning he sat heavily down as I dragged myself about getting ready for work (he didn't work) and said, "But you know I would never hurt you!"

That statement, and my mother's question, come from the same league of thinking.

And to articulate that league of thinking as best I can is: “But this is the norm, why make such a big deal out of it…like blowing it out of proportion. It happens in every household, so one day 'I' lost control, it isn’t happening everyday! If it were happening everyday we would have taken it seriously. But then again that’s just how fathers and husbands are. They have a certain right, for protecting you and being with you, providing the support they can. Be patient, patience is always a good thing!”

But the author…unlike her mother understands the flaw in this argument. I congratulate her.

If I were to let this sink in deep, I don’t know how deep that would be.

In whatever role one assumes in their lives, if you feel you are abusive (however subtly), be it psychological, with your friends or younger siblings, wives or husbands,children or parents, subordinates or colleagues, students… don’t take it for granted. I am sure it won’t be all that difficult to change. It will be worth your evolution to the next stage of enlightenment, to your joining the club of those people who have already made that journey and are eagerly awaiting you to join them.

If you move to the next stage you will find from people around you, those that have made that journey and whom you never noticed before.

I definitely want to join the mile high club!

But in what ever proportion I have managed to do this, it has only been possible after I thought things through and broke the cycle of victim turned victimizer (however subtle the damage inflicted). I had to figure it out!

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