Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Why I did not Come Forward after Domestic Abuse

During the late 1980s and early nineties I was the object of domestic abuse by my boyfriend. I did not "go forward" and report this abuse for the following reasons:

 To me, forward had nothing to do with abuse. My parents raised me to believe that I could do anything I wanted to. The environment in which I grew up supported this belief: if I chose my goals carefully, worked hard and well, towards those goals I would be rewarded. This kind of behavior would make me feel good and confident and motivated. Gender was never an issue. Physical abuse was an temporary setback, though despicable, part of life.

At the same time as this background of theoretical limitless potential, my father beat my mother and 2 of my 3 brothers. He beat them till welts rose , afterwhich he cried. He never touched me.

I grew up believing my father was challenged beyond his limits and broke down repeatedly: he was intelligent, affectionate, hard-working, frustrated, and frequently violent and abusive.

Somewhere in the late 80s and early nineties I had a relationship with a man who turned out to be an addict, in and out of recovery. In classic behavior, he was controlling, irrational, and physically abusive of me. My friends and employer saw the cuts and bruises, though I never reported the incident to any legal authority. To me, there was no point, no me too.

 I remember one particularly scary encounter sometime in 1990 or 91, I'm not sure. It took place in my mother's house, where I was staying, in what had been her bedroom, on a mattress  on the floor where I was sleeping. I was thrown down on the mattress and choked. I thought he was going to kill me, something that never occurred to me in previous abusive incidents. This was the first and last time he tried to choke me. I don't remember what happened next but clearly, I survived, though the relationship did not.

This post is a response to Donald Trump's shameful mocking of Dr. Blasey Ford's testimony last night at a Trump-base rally of supporters. From the images online his supporters approved his nasty sneering tone of voice and facial expressions. I remember with 100 % certainty who choked me, where,  the room, the mattress, though I don't remember exactly when. I have moved on.