Friday, October 22, 2010

Victim-Blamer of the Day: She made him do it

Last night, as I was taking a break from working on my first post in the debate on Domestic Violence I'm having with Paul Elam of A Voice For Men -- you can find it here -- I happened to run across a very strange and dispiriting post on The Truth Shall Set You Free, a right-wing blog that generally lines up with the MRA worldview. Ironically, it dealt with something I talked about in my debate post: the tendency for intimate partner violence to escalate dramatically after a woman separates from her husband.

The blog post starts off:  
I have a close family friend who just went through the divorce proceedings. Her husband is an Iraqi-zone vet, but apparently was bad with money and was out of the house a lot, perhaps having an affair. So she divorced him.
As of now, she is living in an abuse shelter. He has been stalking her everywhere she lives, smashing up her cars, slashing her tires, breaking her windows. One time on a custody exchange of their two sons, he beat her up.
So far, this is a sadly typical story. But what troubled me even more than the story itself was the blogger's reaction to these events. Instead of sympathizing with the plight of the victim, the ex-wife, he asks instead, with a pinch of self-righteousness: Are you happy you divorced him? Because, you know, it's all her fault.

After all, the blogger notes, though her husband wasn't perfect,
he never beat her. Or destroyed her stuff. And he never hurt the kids. She doesn't even claim he did any of that.

But now, post-divorce, she is in fear for her life, for her kids lives (I don't think he would hurt his sons, but she apparently does), for her property, and she is living in a shelter.
But somehow this isn't his fault. Somehow, her trying to get away from the man who is now making her life a living hell is the real problem. Because, obviously, she's the one who made him crazy, by escaping from him:
Sounds like she made a big mistake to me. I wonder if that thought ever occurs to her. I doubt it. That is not how women's brains work. The idea that she is the evil party, [that] she drove him to this madness, no.
You know, if I keep on going I'll end up quoting the whole thing. Just go read it yourself. It's one of the most vile pieces of victim blaming I've seen in a long, long time.

30 comments:

  1. That's repulsive. That kind of sentiment seems more like it would fit in Afghanistan not America. Absolutely barbaric.

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  2. If she was "out of the house a lot, perhaps having an affair," would Elam think her husband would be entitled to file for divorce?

    If he did, would it then be his fault if she came around and smashed up his car and slashed his tires and beat him up?

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  3. One isolated case - and comments from a blogger?

    That's all you got?

    I am disappointed.

    I expected some better debate.

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  4. This isn't his debate piece, Scarecrow, I believe he emailed that to Mr. Elam.

    That said, Mr. Futrelle, to be fair the comments do have some good stuff disagreeing with the original article. Nathan Hale (I think he's a MRA himself) posted some good critique.

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  5. @Wanderer:

    Has anything been posted yet?

    If so, where is it?

    I feel like I am missing the big duke-a-roo...

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  7. He emailed it to Mr. Elam, I think Paul will put it up on avoiceformen.com eventually. I heard Elam changed the terms of the debate, though...gonna have to wait for what our host says if you wanna watch 'em duke it out.

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  8. No, Futrelle, it's not a piece of victim-blaming. It just means that when you don't give a fuck about someone, that someone will not give a fuck about you in return.

    A lot of people had better realize that karma's a bad, bad bitch.

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  9. He doesn't "not give a fuck about her." He's obsessed with her, following her, vandalizing her car, and beat her. It would be fine if he "did not give a fuck" about her and left her alone.

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  10. @Wanderer: From what I saw, Hale is the only one disagreeing in the comments. Not very encouraging.

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  11. @Scarecrow: My first response is up on his site now. Find it here.

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  12. @Sandy, well said.

    I wanted to point out that this sort of retaliation for breakup escalation only doesn't make sense to those who are very unknowledgable about the dynamics of abusive relationships. Abusers are very controlling of the victim and tend to see the victim as rightfully their property and as owing them obedience. Perpetrators of abuse are extremely controlling of their victims. Most abusers verbally and emotionally abuse their victims to break them down, have extremely controlling behaviors, and socially isolate the victim before any physical violence starts. This woman actually did leave in the build up stages and then the abuser, who thought that she was property and wanted to control her, escalated the abuse in order to try to reassert control and as punishment for her defying him.

    Also, let's say that during the relationship, this man behaved like an angel and the woman behaved terribly. That would not excuse his behavior at all. You have no right to beat up, stalk, etc. someone for breaking up with you. Ever. Even if it were the case that the problematic dynamics did not exist before the breakup, she is certainly better off having divorced him, given that he is the sort of person who is a dangerous threat when you break up with him. The fact that he is behaving this way is enough to indicate that people should be glad that they got out of the relationship as soon as possible, before he murdered them in their sleep.

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  13. evilwhitemalempireOctober 23, 2010 at 3:19 AM

    "That's repulsive. That kind of sentiment seems more like it would fit in Afghanistan not America. Absolutely barbaric."

    http://www.lonenutcomics.com/2010/09/family-court.html

    http://www.the-spearhead.com/2010/09/24/the-effects-of-western-feminism-%e2%80%93-an-islamic-perspective/

    Islam appears to be slowly taking over the west.

    Can't imagine why.

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  14. evilwhitemalempireOctober 23, 2010 at 3:31 AM

    "Abusers are very controlling of the victim and tend to see the victim as rightfully their property and as owing them obedience."

    She sure does!

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  15. EWM, despite the sarcasm in this case you can't really blame the woman for much. There are a lot of bad reasons to divorce a man, but adultery and poor financial skills are a pair of the good ones. And even if you want to claim it's still her fault for divorcing him, women don't deserve any rights, men can do no wrong and anyone who says otherwise is a feminist/mangina, you still have to admit that the husband in this situation is being a total idiot. How is smashing your ex-wife's shit going to help ANYONE? Your kids are going to be freaked out, the courts won't look at you any more fondly, and you're giving the feminists another excuse to call the rest of us men violent. I don't see why we should give this crazy ex-husband a free pass for being this foolish.

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  16. Frank, you seem to have taken an obscure comment from a religious site, misrepresented it on this site and then associated it with someone else that you have a vested interest in discrediting.

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  17. "...you're giving the feminists another excuse to call the rest of us men violent."

    Police blotters and newspapers provide a never-ending supply of those "excuses."

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  18. Yep, they do. And who wants to be another name on a police blotter or murder report? I don't see any point in letting a man off for allowing himself to become another statistic.

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  19. evilwhitemalempireOctober 23, 2010 at 7:30 PM

    "you still have to admit that the husband in this situation is being a total idiot."

    Well here is the problem. I disagree with your premise. You actually expect me to BELIEVE that a guy with no prior history of abuse suddenly and unexpectedly went berserk upon being divorced?

    Either it's a lie that he didn't abuse her before the divorce.
    OR it's a lie he abused her afterward.

    And since it wouldn't hurt her case to admit it if he was abusing her before the divorce...

    "She doesn't even claim he did any of that."

    ...then that kinda narrows down the possibilities doesn't it?

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  20. You actually expect me to BELIEVE that a guy with no prior history of abuse suddenly and unexpectedly went berserk upon being divorced?

    Well, yes. Guys snap, it happens. Some people are good at hiding crazy, brother. I've had the misfortune to meet a few folks (both male and female) who acted 100% normal most of the time, then one day just went batshit. Freaky as hell, and it's one reason I try to stay cautious around even people who seem to be okay at first glance.

    "She doesn't even claim he did any of that...then that kinda narrows down the possibilities doesn't it? "

    Not really. She never claimed he did any of that stuff *while* they were married. But like I said, folks can snap. It doesn't surprise me that a guy like him with no previous history of abuse could suddenly start after a divorce, I've seen more than a few people (again, male and female) who seemed sane go nuts with seemingly no provocation. For every crazy man/lady in the world there are probably a bunch who are good at hiding it.

    I think you're the sort of guy who assumes women lie about everything, men can do no wrong except when provoked by women, etc. (and there's nothing necessarily wrong with that, it's not the place to get into that debate now), but in this case, I don't see how you can say this fellow is making anyone's lives easier. How are his actions going to help his kids, or help other men fighting against accusations of violence? Why should we give him sympathy for what he's doing? Even if you don't consider the wife a victim, even if you don't consider any woman a victim of anything, and even if you think only men, being the superior, noble sex, can be victims of anything, then us men are being victimized by guys like this, at least indirectly.

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  21. http://www.vpc.org/press/0804amroul.htm

    http://neurologicalcorrelates.com/wordpress/2008/05/15/why-do-men-kill-their-family/

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  22. P.S: Okay, you could say "The guy's not doing anything at all! The woman is lying, making everything up! She's slashing her own tires, etc.! After all, women are liars!" Again, this might be true, but I don't think it's the case here. If there really was suspicion this wife was just making it all up, the OP at "Truth Shall Set You Free" would have mentioned it--I get the feeling he shares your views on women, generally. Again, not criticizing you, but if even he believes that something really is happening to this women, and if Professor Hale (again, another guy who isn't a white knight/mangina) thinks this guy is deserving of criticism, then...yes, I think it's most reasonable to believe that he really is a crazy guy with no previous history of abuse who really did just snap after his divorce.

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  23. "I don't see how you can say this fellow is making anyone's lives easier."

    Never said he was.

    "he really is a crazy guy with no previous history of abuse who really did just snap after his divorce"

    Possible but NOT probable.

    Of course quiet, soft-spoken 'mama's boy's' routinely stab women in motel showers or break out of mental hospitals to terrorize small towns on Halloween night IN THE MOVIES.

    In the real world it doesn't work that way.
    Violent people have a history of violence.
    There is no way this guy could have done what he allegedly did without the word psycho stamped to his forehead from day one.

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  24. "I think you're the sort of guy who assumes women lie about everything"

    Not by themselves. But with a lawyer anything is possible.

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  25. Violent people have a history of violence.

    Everybody's gotta start somewhere, brother. Maybe this divorce was the beginning of the "history of violence" this guy will eventually have. All I'll say is that, like I mentioned earlier, I've seen a few people who seemed 100% clean and legit suddenly up and lose their marbles straight out of the blue. In my experience, most psychos haven't been nice enough to stamp it on their foreheads from day 1.

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  26. He wasn't crazy. He was entitled. His woman-property was being unruly and making decisions for herself that didn't include him, and he believed terrorizing her was the best way to get her back in line.

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  27. "I've seen a few people who seemed 100% clean and legit suddenly up and lose their marbles straight out of the blue."

    And how long did you know these people? What were the details? Just because you see a guy visit a store once a week for say 10 minutes is hardly enough contact to know much about him even if this goes on for years.

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  28. Good point, but just how contact is enough to "know somebody," then? Some of the crazies were teachers I had in HS--had more than 10 minutes of contact with them a week for more than a year, but I remember hearing about one guy who always struck me as a 100% decent fella (he was a chemistry teacher) slapping one kid in another class--turned out he had anger problems I never saw. Another time a friend of mine--not best friends, but not just acquaintances, either, we hung out after class a lot--had a bit of a breakdown I never saw coming. I was able to help him through it and he was really grateful, but I'll be damned if I ever saw hints of it before.

    For other people, sometimes anger just builds up until they explode, because they never let it out otherwise. Cho Seung Hui, for instance, was just a mumbly Asian kid to most folks, including his parents, but the only way you'd know he was violent was by looking at those crazy plays he wrote...and, of course, the fateful day when he actually went batshit. It's just not true that crazies have labels on their heads--scary as it sounds, the portrayal of psychos in movies is based on more reality than you give it credit for. Thus, for all the reasons I mentioned above, it seems that as rare as it may be, this lady's more than likely telling the truth.

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  29. evilwhitemaleempire, read the post. The guy (supposedly) sustained a head injury that caused anger control issues prior to the divorce.

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  30. No excuse for his behavior. None. I'm sure she's happy she left him, he's got serious character problems and his behavior would be reinforcing that she made the right decision. The guy telling the story does not know what goes on behind closed doors and she is not likely to tell him too much considering he takes the side of the person terrorizing her.

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