Last update: 07-Dec-2013 3:12 am
Saturday, December 07, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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How do we deal with abusive men?
My mother, God rest her soul, used to tell me a story when I was growing up. In retrospect it is a hair-raising, terrifying story, but she told it matter-of-factly and without shame. The story she told me was this: One day when she was heavily pregnant with my older brother, she walked in on my father having a shower with another woman—not the woman he would eventually marry when my mother turned him down, but an entirely different woman altogether. Instead of my father being embarrassed or contrite, he beat my mother for walking in on him and told her never to do it again.
It sounds like a story out of a Lifetime movie, but she told it to me many times and I believe it was true.
Her voice when she told me this story would always be full of bitterness—and regret? Despair? Pity? (For me, not for herself; she knew how deeply I loved my father.) I grew up knowing, but not seeing, that my father was a violent man who beat my mother. Though he would shout at her frequently and be verbally abusive, I never saw him attack her physically until one day in my teens when she made him a cup of tea and he threw it in her face. It was too cold, or too sweet; I forget which—not that it matters. Reality is subjective. Your perception informs your reality, to the point where two people can experience the same event but have two completely different understandings of that experience. That is kind of where I am right now in thinking about my father.
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