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Chapter 26

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Chapter 26
Violence is Love, Right?

This was one of my primary issues with the Bible. It combines violence with love. The great “father” god in the Bible slaughters his son most brutally, in order to ‘save’ the other children that he has judged, condemned, and whom he threatens with violence. In any court of law, if a man tells a woman, “Swallow my sperm, or die a horrible death by burning,” the woman would never be considered to have had free will.

“Swallow my doctrine whole, or die a horrible death by burning– forever.” How is this free will?

Yet this is but one example in the Bible of love and violence being intricately linked. Subtly, this had settled into my mind. Not only had people who “loved” me as a child done violence to me, but also the Bible’s stories are rife with violence and “love.” God so loved Job that he used him in a petty bet against Satan. God so loved us that he butchered Jesus. God so loved Hagar that he sent Abraham in to rape her so they could start a nation. God so loved us that he forced the Israelites to slaughter uncountable millions of animals to him– not to mention all the slaughter that he made them do to other humans.

I was raised– you were likely raised– in culture in which love and violence are often linked. In ways subtle and profane, we teach our children from the very beginning that we punish them out of love, and we perpetuate the idea that we went to Iraq and slaughtered thousands of their people because we loved them and wanted them to be free.

Within the paradigm of violent marriages, we see the microcosm of a culture in love with violence. Our movies echo with it. And rather than be outraged by the increasing violence, we scream bloody murder over a breast exposed on national TV. That which was intended to nurture, cherish, and nourish our children is so offensive that outrage is broadcast far and wide. Women who nurse their children are shunned and shut out of society.

The same society that often refuses to help women in violent situations. How often I hear “well, she should just leave,” and yet as I learned on my own… there’s often nowhere to go. The woman, alone in the world, facing a violent man and with nowhere to turn, is demonized for not “just leaving.” Another case in which people, in their ignorance, speak as if they really understand what’s going on.

Allan systematically stripped me of finances. Then he began to get me fired from jobs by calling nonstop and stalking me there. Eventually, fed up (and rightfully so) with dealing with it, employers would fire me.

Remember, now, that I had no family. I did go to the Salvation Army. The same thing happened there… they kicked me out because it was too much hassle to deal with him.

The first real violence erupted two weeks after we married. He didn’t want to leave before the bar closed, and so he got me to “just sit down” in the car to talk with him. He was in the driver’s seat, but promised not to go anywhere; he just wanted to talk with me.

He fired it up, and took off. He drove at 70 miles per hour down residential roads. He ran red lights. Finally, in desperation, as he was threatening to run us into a tree and kill us both, I began to kick him and demand that he let me out of the car. I said one thing, and one thing only, “stop the car and let me out.” Over and over, I repeated the same thing. Because he was running red lights because I’d tried to jump out of the car. Now he was going too fast to jump out. So I did all that I felt was left to me.

Can you believe that guy? Know what he said to me? “Stop it, please, you’re scaring me!” Of all the unbelievable, incredible gall. I… was scaring… him?? Right, because I was threatening to run HIM into a tree and kill him. I was driving at 70 mph. ooookay, buddy.

When he did stop, I got out. I then ran back and got in the car and took off. I left then. For a year, I stayed at a friend’s house. But he could still get to me there… believe me. And he did.

He would ask their kids (who liked him) where I was looking for a job. Then he would go to them and tell them that he was my husband, and that I was coming in to apply for a job. That they shouldn’t hire me, because I wasn’t psychologically fit to work, and please not to take it seriously. They had no reason to doubt him, so I couldn’t get a job. I didn’t know then that I could have gotten a protection order against him. No one told me, or knew. And furthermore, when I did learn of it the first time, I was warned that getting the protection order would probably just make things escalate.

It usually does. If he knew where I was, and he did, the protection order, I was told by those “in the know,” would likely just make him actually take action.

I became terrified to leave the house. At one point, I left and went to the store. He drove up beside me and told me that if I didn’t come back, he would kill my two cats by skinning them alive and dumping them on the front porch of my friend’s house. I’d had to leave them with him; I’d had no choice when I’d run from him.

So I stayed in their house and played an online game. It was my only social contact. I felt like a prisoner, just as much as I’d been for the last year when he would tell everyone that I was supposed to be working and looking for a job, while he sabotaged every one I got. I lived in a state of nonstop fear, mostly because he threatened to kill my friend’s kids and to kill my cats. These were a continual, endless threat hanging over me.

I’m ashamed to say that I played that online game almost continuously. It was an escape from the terror that gripped me constantly. I feel terrible for the way that I treated my friend, and I wish to god that I could go back and undo it. But I felt compelled to hide constantly. And somehow, foolish as it sounds, I felt very hidden in the game. Yet I also felt connected to other people at the same time.

It was a place of safety, something that didn’t exist for me in the real world. Yet somehow, dying repeatedly and coming back to life seemed oddly comforting as well. It was familiar, and gave me a sense of invulnerability that I knew even at the time was false. I rather welcomed, even hoped, that he would kill me. Yet at the same time, as long as I stayed in the house, he left the kids alone. He only approached them when I was working or when I was job searching.

The worst part of the whole thing is that of course, to everyone else, I looked crazy, while the nice guy who would chat with the kids and give them rides home looked perfectly nice and stable and sane. He never did anything to them outright. That he was picking them up in his car was message enough… “They’ll come willingly with me. You know what I’m capable of. I can and I will hurt them.”

In the end, they asked me to leave, and I don’t blame them. I went back to Allan, and tried again to get a job. But this time, he tightened the noose. He took me to a doctor, who then gave him “certification” (just some paperwork) that said that I was delusional. This doctor was Allan’s friend, had been a family friend for years. When I accused Allan of abuse, he told me that I was crazy. So it was easy for Allan to get him to write up some paperwork. Which he showed to the neighbors, and asked them to call him if they saw me leave the house.

And they had no reason to doubt him, they didn’t know me, and Allan had spent the last year drinking with them while he told them I was in a lockup facility. So they kept an eye on me and called him if they saw his poor, crazy wife leave the house. I finally managed to get my hands on a phone and called the police. I told them I was suicidal and they took me to the psych ward at the hospital. There, I told them the whole story.

Rather than help me, they called my ‘doctor,’ and Allan came to visit. In essence, Allan told them that we’d had a fight, and they could release me to his care now. Without questioning it, they did.

Some time after that, I found every pill Allan had in the house and took them all at once. Pain pills, sleeping pills, everything I could find. And that was a LOT.

As luck– or whatever– would have it, Allan came home that day to take me to get some lunch. I passed out at the counter of the Boston Market. He took me home and forced me to stay awake until it seemed that the crisis had passed. Then, out of the goodness of his heart, he let me go out with a long-ago friend whose phone number I still remembered. She wasn’t a very responsible or dependable friend, and wouldn’t take me home until she was ready to go– which happened to be around 2 am.

Allan was just getting home from the bar, and as soon as my friend left, violence erupted again. He held me down and covered my nose and mouth. He claimed later that it was an accident, and he scoffingly told me that he’d never actually DO it when it came to all his threats to kill me. And if I just hadn’t been screaming, he wouldn’t have been forced to do it. Even his father had remarked the time I’d sought his help, “What did you do to deserve [being threatened and trapped in a speeding car with a drunk driver]?” So this was clearly a generational malfunction.

This time, I had heard on the TV some ads about a local battered women’s shelter. I begged the police to call them. Instead, they told me, “just leave.” I had to beg and cajole and wheedle. Despite this, the cop only called reluctantly, telling me that I wasn’t really battered, because Allan hadn’t HIT me. This was, by the way, Allan’s reasoning, too. He never abused me, because while he might have done everything else brutal to me like slamming me against walls so hard I was bruised, holding me down and strangling me… he had never HIT me.

The shelter, though, saw things differently. They did take me, and they even found a “foster home” for my cats. At last, I was free. Another nightmare had finally ended.

Written by sandit4glp

July 30, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Posted in Chapter 26