The murder of Yeardley Love, the senior at the University of Virginia who was killed by her boyfriend this week, has sparked a lot of debate across the country. So many people are wondering why she just didn’t leave him if he had a history of alcoholism and being abusive (to her and others). The blame has been placed on the roommate, her friends, his friends, the school, etc. when maybe the blame needs to be placed on all of us. As a society, why aren’t we teaching people how to interact with each other without having to have alcohol or having to use violence? Why aren’t we offering courses in junior highs and high schools about respect, love, and conflict resolution? Why aren’t we telling children that the best way to deal with life is NOT by having a drink, popping a pill, or screaming at somebody?
I was in an extremely violent relationship my Senior year in high school. I have been beaten with a baseball bat. I have been pushed out of a moving car without my shoes (so that it would be harder for me to run). I have stared down the end of a shotgun while somebody yelled at me “if you didn’t act like such a slut then I wouldn’t have to do this stuff”. He saw me talking to a boy that I had know since kindergarten one day after school. That was what brought on the shotgun attack. He never hit me in the face (the seasoned abuse pros NEVER hit in the face), but my arms and legs were usually covered with bruises the size of grapefruits.
It doesn’t start out as physical abuse. If you went out on a first date with a guy who walked you to the door and then punched you in the face, you would run as fast as you could and you would call the cops. It just isn’t that simple. It’s a slow process where they start to wear you down to the point that you really do believe them when they start telling you that you are a fat slut that nobody but them could possibly love. They get inside your head and you know when they tell you that if you ever leave then they will hunt you down and kill you … they will. People would tell me all the time to “just break up with him”. It wasn’t that easy. I was brainwashed into believing that it was my fault and if I just wouldn’t do the things that made him angry then we would be happy again. The victim just can’t see it … until one day they either have enough of it and realize that they deserve better and walk out (still living in fear that he will find them) or they stay and they endure it (especially if they have children). A protective order is just a piece of paper and if she doesn’t have a major support system then it seems impossible to function without him. That is why I honestly believe that any woman who kills an abusive husband should be given a minimal sentence … sometimes it is the only way out.
It’s also a vicious cycle. My ex’s father treated his mother the same way that my ex treated me. When you grow up (both boys and girls) believing that a woman is a servant to the man and that the man has the right to abuse her, then that is all that you know. We have to break the cycle. WE HAVE TO !!!