I have a friend who is smart, sexy and beautiful. Even though, she is often careless, I’ve never imagined that she could get mixed up in a situation like that. Since she is a very attractive girl I’ve always thought that she would find a cool, smart, nice boy, so when she chose a guy who was the complete opposite I was baffled. I mean, if a girl can choose pretty much any guy in school and out of school why would she choose one who is neither cute nor smart, earns money in a dodgy way and has a criminal record? But I thought that maybe there is more to him than meets the eye, and if my friend was happy why should I complain? But very soon abuse began. My friend would call me up and complain how he called her horrible names, ignored her during their time together and then accuse her of sleeping with his friends. Abuse progressively got worse. He started getting physical with her. Once he even tried to strangle her. All my attempts to point out how dangerous this relationship was were ignored. When I tried to point out that “what if in a drunken range he managed to hurt her badly or worse” she just waved my comment aside and said that it would never happen. She wasn’t trying to defend him; she just thought that the things you read in the papers could never happen to her.
You read tones of articles about wives being abused by their husbands or girlfriends by their guys, but some how it has always seemed like a distant echo of a thunder. Something that happens, but not to you or anyone you know. The scary thing was that in this situation there was nothing solid to make my friend dependant on this guy. A wife might be materially dependant on her abusive husband, and a girl might claim that she is in love with an abusive boyfriend. But my friend had nothing to gain from this relationship and she even admitted that she felt nothing for this guy. Yet she was with him! My smart pretty friend was with a man who constantly tried to submit her to his will, humiliate her or even physically hurt her. She seemed to me to be a voluntary victim. She consciously subjugated herself to obscene demands of a man who gave her nothing in return. She never denied that he was abusive or stupid or a leech, but those things didn’t seem to bother her enough to leave him for good. She would complain to her friends and make scenes, but she willingly came back to him. Is that sane?
It made me think, how many women actually accept abuse with this good-humored teenage drama queen attitude? I come from a country where generations of women sweetened up bitter abuse with proverbs like “if he beats you – he loves you”. In my culture female abuse is almost part of our national heritage. We never even had anything even remotely resembling feminism. What is beyond my understanding is the fact that out women who grew up abroad continue to take male abuse as a sign that they are desirable and loved. And I find even more bizarre when western women with their education and feminist heritage willingly submit to abuse. When girls claim that their boyfriends are abusive and they don’t know what to do since they love them so much and could never leave them, I just feel like I walked into the Twilight Zone.
How can we explain to them that a rapist or an abuser will never love them and they shouldn’t even desire their love?