Posts Tagged ‘abuse

24
Apr
13

Truth vs. Reality

On my Twitter feed today, one of the folks there had retweeted a link to YouTube video of a woman in an abusive relationship who took photos of herself everyday for a year and ran them one after the other like a video timeline.

This is it (and there are some pretty ugly parts, especially the longer it goes on):

Now, in the YouTube comments, there are some who cried “fake!”

Moreover, some who cried fake and then stated or implied that the video was thus pointless.

No, it’s not pointless.

It is real? Quite possibly not. I started wondering myself, thinking, why would someone do something like this, taking selfies as a project to document her abuse and willingly stay in that abusive relationship? I could not fathom how someone would think it important enough to do this and also be willing to risk their health, safety and life to carry it out. So, I myself am dubious. I’m supposed to be cautious and cynical; I’m a journalist and editor.

The bigger question, though, is whether this video is truth.

And, yes, that it most certainly is. What is portrayed is very much the face of abuse (literally and figuratively). This is the kind of thing that happens in these relationships. You’ll have a lot of good days in many of them, followed by very bad ones. And the bad days often begin to occur closer together and get ever more violent.

That is the truth.

Whether the video is real doesn’t matter. It delivers the message very poignantly and effectively.

Sometimes we don’t need reality.

We need a dose of truth instead.

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14
Feb
09

Don’t Try It, Buster by Miz Pink

Seems like everyone else is bloggin about Chris Brown’s beat-down of Rihanna so why not yours truly right? I admit to listening to some silly pop and hip-hop and such on the radio, so I’ve heard both of these kiddos and their music is empty but harmless enough.

pink-gangster-galApparently, Chris Brown hisself  wasn’t so harmless though.

I’ve seen discussions about this and some back and forth between men and women about what constitutes an abuser. If one time hitting a woman sufficient to label a dude as a wife beater or abusive boyfriend. If not, where is the line? Is it how early he does it in the relationship? Whether he slaps you or beats the living daylights out of you? Not an easy question to answer though some people seem to think they have all the answers.

I was kind of curious how the bible chimed in on all this. I know the New Testament is pretty clear that men should honor their wives and even the parts in there where they are told to submit to their husbands it doesn’t say word one about hitting being okay where a spouse is involved. (Here and here are a couple places I found that we’re pretty easy to read and had lots of passges) Can’t really find anything in the O.T. either. Yeah, there are a few parts where some pretty unsavory things are done with regard to women or allowed to be done, but nowhere is it condoned that assaulting a woman is okay, as far as I’ve been able to tell. Sure, some textual stuff gets taken out of context to justify crap, but the racists and tyrannical preachers and other assorted wackjobs always twist stuff and misuse it for their own ends.

So, we’re clear there. Bible says keep the hand in check.

But even aside from that violence against women is a dicey thing. Too many women are killed by it or scarred by it and it just isnt right so the best thing is to never hit at all not even once.

I mean sure, if I got into it all hot and stuff with Sir Pink and things got really weird and he smacked me it might be that I’d let one time slide (not without some kind of payback, but I might give you a second chance…I don’t know.) I know there’s no third strike. But since I’m not even sure I’d forgive the first, how about this: Don’t go there at all.

No reason to hit me and find out the hard way that your out on your butt thereafter. Or find out that I’ll snap and take a paring knife to your soft and privates. Or for me to take a swing and find out that I get a slap or a fist in return. Let’s all of us keep the violence out of the fights since words can do enough hurt as it is. Men and woman should both keep their hands to themselves unless it’s to touch or stroke or whatever.

There’s enough violence in the world without brining it agaisnt someone you say you love.heart-in-sand

and oh yea…Happy Valentine’s Day.

13
Nov
08

Page 123…Ignoring the Child

book-cover-children-of-godWas passing through the Caffeinated Thoughts blog and saw this post, titled “Page 123 Meme.” Even though I wasn’t tagged as part of this meme, and thus under no pressure to follow it or to tag anyone I knew, I was intrigued.

The idea is to pick the book nearest to you that has at least 123 pages, go to the 123rd page, find the fifth sentence, and then post the next three sentences after that.

Out of curiosity, I grabbed the closest book, the science fiction novel Children of God by Mary Doria Russell, and flipped to page 123 (by the way, this book is a sequel to Russell’s The Sparrow, that previous book being far superior…but Children of God is damn good, too). I worked with the assumption that in finding the fifth sentence, I should only count complete sentences and not the partial one that starts off the page.

What I came up with was:

“Her parents ignored her. Best thing that could have happened! They were so busy fighting over Carlo, they never got around to making a mess of their daughter.”

And I thought, “What the hell? Might as well make that the kicking off point for a blog post…” And, as it happens, it actually fits into a new position my wife has just taken on.

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jesus-child-and-holy-spiritSometimes, perhaps, it is better when a bad parent simply ignores a child. I’m not offering that up as advice, mind you. I think that bad parents should strive to be better ones. I think that parents who choose to ignore any of their children should wake the hell up and start paying attention. We should all seek after love and aim to give love to our kids.

But having said that, some parents can only hurt their children. And if a parent is abusive, or emotionally toxic, or a hopeless addict, or in some other way only fit to screw up a child, maybe it’s better for the child to not get much from that parent.

The problem is that the child is ill-equipped to raise himself or herself. There are exceptions of course, but by and large a child left to his or her own devices and denied the love and support of at least one parent will end up screwed up anyway. Whether more or less screwed up than the effed-up parent(s) would have made them, who knows?

For this reason, it is critical that we be there for those kinds of children.

Mrs. Blue just started work for a Christian-based organization that provides a place for at-risk preteens and teens to hang out for a few hours each day, get a snack, be safe and get some positive reinforcement from people who do care. As my wife has discovered, many of these kids have parents who really don’t give a shit about them.

But we cannot rely simply on organizations like that to do that work. If you know a relative who is a physically or emotionally absent parent, and the other parental partner isn’t any better, step up and be a role model or a supporter of that relative’s kid or kids. At least try.

If you are in a position to interact with kids in the neighborhood and not be mistaken for a child molester, keep any eye out for those who seem to want or need a connection with a sane adult and who don’t already have one at home.

Volunteer for organizations that help at-risk kids. Be a mentor or Big Brother or Big Sister.

Not all of us can do these things. But all of us should look to see if we can, and we should be open to the possiblity of doing so if the opportunity arises. Everyone who does step up is one more person who might be able to save one more kid from a destructive path.

11
Jun
08

Sex as a weapon

I wonder how many couples out there are engaging in a kind of sexual assault on a regular basis and don’t even realize it? I don’t mean that they’re physically forcing the other spouse to have sex and possibly using (or threatening to use) violence as part of that—though I know there are a few too many folks, most of them men, who do that and wouldn’t think of it as abuse as long as they’re married to the victim. What I’m talking about is more subtle, but still insidious. Less violent, but still damaging.

To get a sense of where I’m going with this, let’s run with the term sexual assault and take out the word sexual for a moment. Assault can be verbal or physical, and can be illegal either way. Is calling someone a racial or sexual epithet assault? Sure. Is it as bad as threatening their life or physical health? No, but that still doesn’t make it right. Is shoving someone who really hasn’t done anything serious to you assault? Yes, and the fact that you didn’t draw blood or break a nose or kill a person doing it doesn’t make it morally defensible.

So, sexual assault—and the more intimate, serial and individual-focused version known as sexual abuse—don’t have to be something dramatic like throwing a person down to the ground and pinning them so that you can invade their bodies. But before I go on, let me quote a couple pieces of scripture that I’ve mentioned before in my various posts about sexual relations between couples.

Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time… First Corinthians chapter 7, verses 3-5

So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church. Ephesians chapter 5, verses 28 and 29

We must remember that as in so many things with God, extremism at either end of the spectrum really pisses Him off.

We cannot be demanding of our partner all the sex we want whenever we want at whatever cost. At the same time, we cannot be withholding sex for no good reason. Sex is, primarily, not an activity for making babies but for building intimacy between couples. That is why it feels so damn good when you do it right and sometimes even when you aren’t performing so well. Sex is something that is supposed to be a constant in marriage (no, not every day kind of constant—unless of course that’s what you both want and you’re in good enough shape for it). Even if you’re the kind of couple who wants as many kids as God will give you and you shun birth control, the woman is still going to have a nine-month period every year or so during which the sex is just for keeping you as emotionally connected as you can be. And sex isn’t supposed to just go away when you get too old to have kids anymore.

So, to turn sex into a weapon in a relationship is a terribly screwed up thing to do. Yet many couples, either both members of the couple or just one of them, often do use sex as a weapon against the other, and think nothing of it. They don’t appreciate the fact that they are assualting and abusing the person that they supposedly love so much.

To harangue your husband or wife into having sex by saying, “You’d do it if you really loved me” or “If I can’t get what I want here, I’ll find someone who will give it to me” or anything like that is a form of sexual assault. It’s an emotional attack. It’s guilting someone into doing something they don’t feel like doing right now. It’s wrong.

Or consider the spouse who says, “You won’t get anything until you do this or that.” Withholding sex for some petty reason or personal gain or selfish desire in many cases. That, again, is using sex against your partner; using it as a weapon.

How about the spouse who says, “Honey, there’s something I’ve always wanted to try, and I was wondering…” or “I’ve never wanted to tell you that such-and-such turns me on because I didn’t want you to think I was weird” and, instead of getting a supportive ear and at least a consideration of validating the surprise desire—the other spouse goes in for the kill. Instead of being open and loving, the spouse tell his or her partner “You’re sick” or “I’ll never do that” or “I don’t think I can ever be with you again after hearing that” or laughs the partner to scorn. I mean, considering the wide array of kinks and fetishes out there, only a very, very few rank as so heinous that a person needs professional help. And even then, the spouse should be willing to urge the spouse toward help with love and a desire to curb those feeling and not start out of the gates with revulsion and rejection.

That isn’t to say that a spouse doesn’t have the right to “have a headache” sometimes. Typically, “no” means no, and that includes the marriage bed. Being married doesn’t let you off the hook for respecting the other person’s body and emotions. So, when our spouses say, “Not tonight,” we need to respect that, as long as it doesn’t become an unhealthy habit—and even if it becomes an unhealthy habit, we don’t get to just take what we want. We cannot expect that our spouse is always an open vessel or ready tool for our pleasure. And if there is a habit of constantly withholding or constantly demanding, perhaps it’s time to assess whether the two of you really should be together.

Guns, swords, closed fists, knives, clubs and the like are obvious weapons. But a beautiful little pedestal-top statue or tchachke-esque snowglobe on the shelf can be injurious or even deadly too, swung with enough force toward a vulnerable part of the body.

Get the picture? Rape is obvious sexual assault. But demanding or withholding sex in “nonviolent” ways can be dangerous too, when done at the wrong time or for the wrong reasons or done so often that you psychologically injure or emotionally kill your other half in the relationship.

It’s kind of like that “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people” thing. Sometimes, our bodies can be the loaded weapon in a relationship. Use them right, please.

18
Apr
08

What really separates us

*Sigh* Well, the Spirit moved me to find some images that might potentially be useful for running with my next post on speaking in tongues…but sadly, once again, I have been moved in a direction other than writing that post today.

Today, I want to get us clear of what I think is one of the most ignorant comments about any religion, Christianity included: Religion is responsible for most of the atrocities that have ever been committed.

You get a lot of variations on this theme. People say that religion has precipitated more wars than anything else. That abuses in society have often been justified with religion. Or they say that religion does more to divide us than to bring us together.

While this sounds really cathartic to say, especially if you’re an atheist or an agnostic who really, really dislikes organized religion (and hey, I have my own beefs with a lot of churches and denominations)…it really isn’t true.

Religion isn’t the problem.

People are the problem.

If we were to remove religion from the picture, do you seriously think we’d all just get along? That’s a very Pollyanna-ish and naive view of the world and of human nature. Sure, a lot of wars were waged around religious issues. But do you think the believers en masse wanted to go fight other religious believers? No, it was the people in charge, the leaders of society, who made that choice. And most of the time, the motivations are not to glorify God (or a god or goddess) but rather to achieve their own ends.

Power. Influence. Hoping to impress God for selfish reasons. Money. Land. Love. Lust.

Those are the motivators. Not religion.

Religion divides us no more than do race or culture. Eliminating religion won’t eliminate racism. People can use religious text (often out of context) to justify their racism, but they don’t feel racism because of their religious beliefs. Feelings of cultural or political superiority can be justified or bolstered with religion, but they don’t come from a religious source. They come from pride. From arrogance. From pettiness.

I would argue that democracy and capitalism have both been using as rallying cries for a lot of abuses against individuals, nations and the planet. For that matter, communist beliefs (being both political and economic) have been used the same way.

Six million Jews were slaughtered in the Holocaust not because of religion (not even over them practicing a religion that wasn’t in favor) but because they were scapegoats for an economic downturn and because Hitler thought his people were genetically superior.

The Crusades were not about lifting up God or even fighting for him, but about forming or expanding or maintaining power and/or empires. The Inquisition was not about religion but about control.

People can and will twist any philosophy, economic system or political movement when they think it is necessary to achieve their own agenda—whether it’s a personal agenda, societal agenda or both. Blaming religion for any ills of the world is wrong.

It’s a form of discrimination and a diseased form of elitism that is every bit as bad as that spouted by any pompous ass who waves around a cross or crescent or six-pointed star. Because you can just as easily replace that religious symbol with a flag.

(Miz Pink, where are you? I think I need you to post something soon so that I will get out of here for a day or so and finally finish talking about speaking in tongues…)




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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To find out more about me professionally, click here. To find out more about me generally, click here.

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