…on the bus monday morning, that went something like this:
“… he get’s abusive when he’s been drinking.”
The young lass that was sharing this info behind me was on her way to school. She was talking with her friend about her full-on weekend; how busy it got – how she had troubles with her boyfriend. You know, the usual teenage background noise when you’re on your way to work most mornings. Well – all except for that – hence it catching my attention so. It was follwed by:
“He doesn’t hit me – he just swears at me… but he did push me once.”
Her friend’s tone worried me all the more – it was one of those types of tones that suggests ‘Oh – is that all? Well – that’s ok then.’
I’d halfway expected a “What a loser…” lead-in right about there – but was dumbfounded by the way this conversation seemed to allow for this bloke to act in this way. Right there – in both of their tones was an acceptance for this type of behavior to occur.
But wait – there’s more:
“It’s his friends that break us up all the time…”
What? Let me get this straight right – this fella carries on in this way, you’re 16 maybe 17, you don’t actually like what he does to you and you’ve gotten back with this fella – more than once?
Drunk as, she says – but it’s his other mates that cause her to break up with him – not his behaviour. Argh!
This run’s parallel with an incident two house down from us on our street. Young lass there decides whilst Mum’s away working all night, she’d have a big party. It got loud and boozy – she’s about 16 or 17 too – and it’s mostly young blokes. No one around to make sure she’s safe, no-one around to attend to the young bloke that got too silly – got very angry – and decided to get nasty with it. He got loud first (didn’t hear him immediately – as I was dead to the world), then he got physical.
I woke up and heard the young lad speaking nasty, whilst he obviously (by this time) was holding her down and hurting her. Before I could get outside though, our next door neighbour woke-up and quickly sorted the situation out herself:
“Shut up and get off her – or I’ll ring the police right now!”.
The lad did and he racked off (left). My neighbour called the mother at work. Her reply, was that she was sorry my neighbour was disturbed!
When I heard this – my jaw dropped. Her daughter was being physically assaulted by a drunk and violent young man – your neighbour rings to tell you – and your sorry your neighbour was disturbed?
I wanted to go around there the next day and tell the lady that the young fella was so effective in making himself heard that night – he woke me up. Worse still; as I was trying to get my boots on – I could hear her daughter trying to sweet-talk the lad down with ‘Baby this’ and ‘Baby that’. She was physically constrained and struggling to talk because the fool holding her down had her by the throat and your daughter was still trying to mollify this young fella.
Now; I’m sure mum was really embarrassed to receive that phonecall that night. I’m sure that the young lass involved wishes that night didn’t happen (for whatever reason). I’m sure too that the young lass on the bus doesn’t really want to be treated like that by her fella – or any of his ‘friends’ – and I’m sure also, that her friend doesn’t want to read about her – beaten half to death by some drunk fool – in the local newspapers.
People please… this is how insidious this nasty business is in our lives. It masquerades as something that some people consider ‘normal’, yet there’s nothing normal about the results of this type of behavior. Women (and girls) are beaten black and blue. They’re terrified to speak in their own homes. They hide the bruises and marks on their bodies. They die as a result of such violence people… they die!
What I wanted to say to this young lady on the bus was this:
No. It’s not ok for a bloke to get a few beers in his head and treat you like that! Grog ISN’T an excuse! There IS no excuse for treating someone you supposedly care about, in this way!
I didn’t and I”m not happy about it.
I know it would have been a gross violation – interrupting and involving myself in her conversation then. Teenage girls – on a bus – yarning amongst themselves. Me – older man… yeah right! The trouble that would have caused me. I just know it wouldn’t have gone down well – so I didn’t.
And I feel like crap because of it.
If you’re reading this and you’re a bloke who thinks you have the right to cause women pain; to disrespect them, belittle them, deride them and hurt them – simply because you can – because you’re a ‘man’ – think again! There isn’t a single ‘manly’ thing you can attach yourself to – in ANY of this type of behaviour. None!
Do you want to be the man in your household – stand up and be counted – show others who you are?
Then do one thing: STOP!
Seek help mate… hurting people because you’re hurting too – just isn’t good enough! I’ve got news for you – it never really was. So, be sorry for the pain you’ve caused those you reckon you love and own the crap you’ve dealt them. They deserve at least that – a smattering of responsibility for such a lot of pain.
Do this now! Determine that this is the right path for you and you’ll finally start taking some Man-sized steps for the first time in your life. If you do this well and you make it happen, you’ll stop your son’s from taking on this type of behavior. They, in turn, will stop their son’s from doing this and on it goes.
If you’ve got daughter’s – you’ll help them to realise that they have a value beyond the abuse they might stand to receive from men such as you. The only legacy you’re likely to leave your daughter’s – really – is that they will more than likely hook up with men like you. Their lot in life will never fully be realised and they will become damaged well past the hope of ever truly recovering. If you’re really lucky – and you act before it’s too late – you’ll get in early and your children will still have the chance to learn the true value that exists in you. They can still grow to love you mate – not hate you and everything you stand for.
Wouldn’t that be worth it?
I’m still stumped as to why this question is so hard for these types of blokes to answer… after all – what’s the alternative?
Belongum – Out!
* I’ve had some extraordinary mentors and friends in my life that have survived domestic violence and recovered their life as best they can. They have taught me some amazing things about the spirit and determination of women who have grown through this part of their life. They might not want to remember this business – but they never forget. One of them is long gone now – but I remember the things she’s taught me, as if it was yesterday. This one’s for you A.