Shattered by anger

So, you don’t believe that mindset still exists, that abusers don’t still use the line, “I wouldn’t have hit her, but she had it coming.”? I recently watched a rerun of a Dr. Phil episode wherein he was interviewing a couple who were separated and dealing with purported domestic violence. The wife related she had been verbally, emotionally and even physically abused, but that the husband always dismissed it as “restraining her.” Amazingly, he concurred, and referred to it himself as “restraining” her when she would “become unmanageable.” There was even talk of him pushing her into a wall or holding a pillow over her face to shut her up. One quote that stuck with me was, “She’s living off me . . .” She was a stay-at-home mom with three small children. They had been married approximately 5 years, and she had either been pregnant, was raising an infant or toddler, or becoming pregnant again during that entire time. The husband’s attitude was basically, “She deserved what she got.”

 I realize there are women who “come at” their men, swinging, flailing and throwing anything they can get their hands on. Cursing like sailors, they are the abusers. So what does a man do when he is backed into a corner, face bloodied from fingernails clawing his cheeks? It’s a dilemma, for sure. If he puts his hands on her shoulders to push her away and she falls or is somehow bruised, there’s “evidence” he has been the perpetrator, even though it might not have gone down that way. But, he has the marks on his face . . . That is usually when the law enforcement officer called to the scene has no alternative but to arrest both parties. So, I want to be sure you know I realize there are two sides to this coin. But, that’s not the primary line of reasoning here, so forgive me if I get back on point.

 Working in this thing called advocacy and victim support, it amazes me to still hear, “Well, if she had just kept her mouth shut, she wouldn’t have gotten hit.” And that does not only come from the lower levels of society. It’s spoken in the upper echelon of socioeconomic levels, as well—from “white trash” to “high class.” And we should keep our minds (and hearts) open to the fact that no status is worse or better than the other.

 For far too many years I heard, “She had it coming . . .” I could never comprehend the rationale behind that—how someone who was supposed to love, protect and adore me could possibly be convinced that by my gaining weight, speaking up or failing to have the house immaculately clean when he arrived home from work meant I “had it coming?” The words, the grabs, the thrusting of my head into a door—How did I possibly deserve such treatment? Today I know beyond a doubt, I did not deserve it, and I did not “have it coming to me.”

 If you are being told this, do not believe it. Don’t! It is not a functional relationship that allows room for abuse or violence. And you deserve better.

 Carolyn is an advocate for sexual/domestic violence and assault awareness, also focusing on child sexual abuse. She is a Life Direction & Empowerment Coach, working with victims and survivors of molestation, sexual assault, domestic violence or spousal abuse, and bringing training to organizations seeking to help victims. Listen to Carolyn’s interview with Cynthia Brennen, on “Help, Hope & Healing.” Visit her website:

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