Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mixed Messages on Domestic Violence

I remember the first time a boyfriend of mine hit me. We were living together in his apartment and we got into a dispute. He decided to show me who was in control, and the memory isn't clear how and where he hit me, but he did.

What I do remember is watching him leave the building from our ninth-floor apartment and him going off to do whatever he felt the need to go do. I remember it was a Sunday afternoon and once he left, I grabbed the Reader and went through the list of apartments for rent.

I called the owner of an apartment that met my requirements, and he agreed to let me see the apartment on Monday night. On Tuesday he called me and told me I had gotten the apartment.

On Wednesday I gave him a month-and-a-half rent plus a month's security deposit and on Saturday I moved out. My advice to all women is to never leave yourself without an "out" and the money to be able to get out.

When I heard the news story about Chris Brown and Rihanna, I always go back to when I got hit. I won't say I was beaten, because had he hit me to do a lot of bodily injury, he would have ended up six feet under and I probably would have ended up in jail.

My mother always told me never to be brave when a man hits you. But at the same time, if a man beats you, he had better not go to sleep.

While I agree that domestic violence is a serious issue, I wonder what kinds of messages our society is putting out in regards to that issue. Over the past 40 years we have told girls that they could do anything. If they want to be on the boy's football team, they can. If they want to wrestle with boys, they can. If they want to box, they can.

We also teach our boys to not let anyone beat up on them, to defend themselves, while quietly adding in that they shouldn't hit a girl. We don't loudly tell girls not to hit a boy because if he hits her back, she can get hurt. Very badly hurt. We are making the mistake of believing that the message we want to send is being sent, even if it's a mixed message.

I was watching two of my favorite shows, Cheaters at noon and Maury Povich. Those shows always, whether they mean to or not, show the mindset of people in some of their rawest moments.

And what is amazing is the number of women who are the first to lash out at their male mates. If the man is cheating, the woman walks up when she catches him and begins to pound on him.

On Maury, if the man has cheated or is denying that he is the father, the woman is always jumping out of her seat to attack him. Of course, if in any of the cases the man hits them back and they are injured, they will be the first to scream the loudest about being a victim.

I also got a chance to see Oprah's show where she did her commentary on domestic violence, especially the episode where she had Tyler Perry on as a guest. If my memory serves me correct, Oprah's original claim to fame came when she played the role of Sophia in The Color Purple and was supposed to be the victim of domestic violence, except she kicked Harpo's behind.

And in the case of Tyler Perry, his main character Madea is known to stroke a gun and encourage "involuntary manslaughter." Don't these movies send messages telling women not to be the victim, to stand up to a man and, yet, when they are the loser in the fight, then they can claim to be one?

The mixed message this society sends in regards to what is labeled "domestic violence" is part of the reason that the problem cannot be as black and white as we want it to be.

I suggest people first take a look at the elementary schoolyards if we really want to see some of the roots of the problem. There you will see either gender freely and willingly engaging in fisticuffs with the opposite sex and neither gender has had any home training in regards to how they should behave.

As for Chris Brown and Rihanna, I want to hear from both sides. The inside of a car is a pretty tight spot to have all those things happen. Plus on one of the tabloid shows, they had a picture of Chris Brown filling up the gas tank of the car just prior to the incident with Rihanna.

While at the gas station, there were a couple of bodyguards preventing anyone from getting too close to Chris Brown. What happened to those bodyguards between the fill up at the gas station and the ensuing fight inside the car?

And when one is the victim and calls the police for intervention, then the victim cannot change their mind after the fact. That, too, can lead to sending the worst message of all. That is being the victim only when it serves them to be one.

4 comments:

Valentinemartin said...

Hi Arlene. I am so disappointed in you. There was no reason for Chris to beat Rihanna like that. I saw a man hit another man in the face with his fist on the buse and he did nothing, and other men on the bus screamed "why did old boy pop you like that" and laughed. The all thought it was a joke. The reason he did not hit him back or beat him down is that he stood a good chance of getting beat more .. so he did nothing. The fact that Chris got so upset that he had to beat Rihanna and bite her shows that as innocent as he seems- he is scared .. of women.

Valentinemartin said...

Arlene - one more comment on the topic of domestic violence. There are mixed messages on violence agianst womem, and domestic violence because most women are mrudered by men they have left, divorced or boyfrineds who have proven they are violent, wanna-be pimps and more. Women who wish to stay with men who beat them and the women above are all lumped into the same category of "domestic violence" and that is where the ocnfusion comes in. you are very lucjky the man who hit you left you alone and you have been able to have a happy life. many abusers stlak their exes, murder them, disfigure them, murder or otherwide hurt their children. these are the naimals who need to be stopped and no one should blame the mother or the victim - these sick animals need to be stopped. Any one who kills a whole family because the woman has "moved on" is the culprit, not the victim.
Why don't you use your blog to help end violence agianst women - and if a man is so tough let him go stop Al Qaueda and KKK..

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