Wednesday, April 23, 2008

For the Young

In last Monday night's class my students turned in their responses to Judy Brady's "I Want a Wife", the assignment requiring of them some degree of creativity in giving their own opinions of the relations between the sexes. Then I read aloud a few responses of former students, gathered over the years, which I thought might amuse them, papers with titles like "I Don't Need a Man", "Girls Rule, Dogs Drool," "My Three Husbands," "The Better than Perfect Man", "Feminist Judy Brady Whines about the Hard Life," and "My Wife is a Mental Transvestite." (Some of these used to be found on my old .com site, but didn't make the transfer to my current archives. I'll repair that eventually.) After we'd had our fun, I told them another story - about one of their own classmates. I told of how the previous Monday I'd gone to my mailbox to find two overdue papers waiting for me, a research paper and a narrative. Underneath those I'd found a brief missive from the registrar, notifying me of the death of one of my students, and with the purpose of preventing any further accidental communication with the family. It was the same student whose papers I now held. The date of death given was March 10th. Something didn't sit right so I looked at the overdue papers and attached to the research offering - "In Favor of Pro-Choice" - was a handwritten note:

Dear Prof. Luse, This is my revised research paper, as well as my story. I emailed them both to you this morning about 11:30 A.M. I am also turning them into your box just in case they didn't go through. Thanking you, Stephanie.

The date on the note was March 25, 2008.

"So," I asked, "how do you die on March 10th and leave me a signed, handwritten note on the 25th?"

I had their attention. A few mouths dropped open.

"She sat right over there," I said, pointing to the spot. Heads turned, and in spite of her erratic attendance, all remembered.

"Yeah, the dirty blonde," said one fellow. Another thought her a strawberry blonde.

"Her name was Stephanie," I said, "and this is her story." I held up the typewritten paper found in my mailbox: "I Should Have Listened to My Parents." I did not read the whole thing, but mostly summarized: about a girl who'd met a guy under apparently auspicious circumstances, how wonderfully they'd hit it off, and how she'd planned to move in with him after graduating high school. She asked her Mom's advice, who didn't like it. Her boyfriend's advice? "You are eighteen years old. You don't have to listen to that. You can just move out."

So she did. After a year there was an argument during which the boyfriend yelled at her and "smacked" her in the mouth. "He had never yelled at me like that before. What did I do wrong?" She called a friend and asked again of her what she might have done "to set him off."

"What you did wrong? What the hell is wrong with you?"

She returns to her parents. The boyfriend later offers a weeping apology. He gets her a puppy to prove his sincerity. She goes back to him. The cycle begins again. The arguing resumes, and eventually he (in her words) "punched me in the eye and busted my lip."

And I told the class how, during the intervening week, after reading the story, the incident had begun driving me to distraction. I called the English department, told the secretary of the date discrepancy, and asked whether, when a student died, they were notified of it. No, was the answer. The secretary, who seemed genuinely concerned, suggested I call the family, which I was reluctant to do. So I googled her name, and found an obituary in the Orlando Sentinel, giving no information but that incongruous death date, March 10th. I also found a couple of MySpace pages, one in which her name was mentioned but lacking any other details, and another which appeared to be a memorial administered by her brother. But still no word of why, or how. I even thought of calling the sheriff's office, for the story she had written was a disturbing one. Surely there was some Source of Information I could contact to find out if someone was really dead. And then, after almost a week, I get an email - from the girl's mother.

Dear Prof, I am Stephanie's Mom...There is much more to the story that we are just now finding out.

I wanted to give you the ending... On Sun March 30, Stephanie passed away in her sleep, with the person she speaks of in her story. Her continued relationship with him cost her her life.

If you want to share her story and my e-mail with her class, that would be great. Because I am going to share it with anyone who will listen. It won't bring my daughter back, but maybe it could change the life of someone else.
Sincerely...

At the words "passed away", several of the girl students let out a gasp, for they had thought until now that it might all have been a big mistake.

So I acceded to the mother's wish. She provided many details Stephanie had left out, which I have time only to summarize here; it involves drugs and alcohol and a girl who knows she should sever her ties with the "man" in her life but keeps going back to him anyway. One night, after deceiving her mother about where she would be spending the night, the worst finally happens. She's already on an anxiety medication, which she supplements with alcohol and, according to the boyfriend, a couple of methadone pills. She goes to sleep in the wee hours of the morning and never wakes up. He was on a methadone program to combat an addiction to pain medication, but claims that she had acquired those pills on her own, not from him. At my last communication with her mother, the investigation into the circumstances of her death is ongoing, though the police claim that it will be very hard to prove that he supplied the pills.

I passed Stephanie's picture around the room. She had seemed to me - in the few conversations I'd had with her - a nice kid, genuinely sweet. She seemed to want to do well, apologizing for her spotty attendance and swearing to do better in the future. It was all just an impression, but I liked her.

As anyone who reads here regularly knows, I don't understand women, even as I find their nature the most fascinating and annoyingly complex thing on the planet. But do I really need to tell you, ladies, (as I told the class) that a man who hits you is not a man, but a barbarian? If he does it once, he'll do it again. If he can hit you, he can kill you. If he can even think of inflicting harm on the one person for whom a tender solicitude should possess his being, there's an evil brewing that love will not cure. You are supposed to be the object of his adoration, not his therapist. Do you think you can change him? You won't. And you don't really love him, either. You love an idea of what he could be if only...he would change, if only that good side you once saw would take control. But that won't happen either. If you think you love him enough, you may end up dying in his presence.

Hell, I don't know what to say. Another young light goes out, and for what? It's been dragging me down for the past couple of weeks. The mother, of course, just wants her daughter remembered, so I did my little bit. Here's Stephanie on a happier day, in her stepmother's embrace (a woman described by her biological mother as "a wonderful person").












The class ended on a suitably somber note that Monday, but by the next week we seemed back to normal. We talked some more about marriage, I expressing surprise (somewhat feigned, actually, having witnessed it for years) at the cynicism students invest in any prospect of matrimonial success.

"You guys are approaching it in a way that never occurred to me when I was your age," I said.

"Well look at the examples we've got to follow," said one fellow, which got laughter all around.

"Well don't look at me," I said, and they laughed some more. Many of them come from broken homes. I can't tell you how many "My Parents' Divorce" papers I've read.

And then I said, "Why don't you just make the world a better place, and stop using others as an excuse?"

But through it all I was keenly aware of the empty seat two rows back against the left wall, and probably will be whenever I'm assigned to that classroom. And maybe some of the students were as well, but simply gave no sign. It's almost understandable that they would rather not think about it, pretend to forget. Almost. That's how it will be for most of us. Except for those closest, the world will forget, and quickly at that, almost as though you were never here.

Maybe some of you can take the trouble to remember Stephanie, for a few days at least, and add her, and her family, to your prayers. Her Mom will thank you.
-----------------------------------

A couple of weblogs have linked to this post. They are Alicia at Fructus Ventris, and Genevieve Kineke of Feminine Genius. Visit them.

Add to those Opine-editorials. And add to that one of my old favorites, Dale Price.

38 comments:

Lydia McGrew said...

Wow, what a story. It makes me think of Dr. Laura's phrase "10 stupid things women do to mess up their lives." I still don't understand about March 10 vs. March 30. If she died on March 30, why did the obituary and so forth all say March 10? Did I just read too quickly and miss something?

William Luse said...

A student asked the same question after class. We can only assume that it was a mistake, a typo. Odd that the school and the newspaper would make the same error.

Ellyn said...

That is a powerful story...which I shall be passing along to my daughters. They are very tender hearted, but with a lack of prudence that leads them to try to 'save' everyone they come in contact. Tender hearts and soft brains could eventually lead to some very bad choices in companions.

Ellyn said...

PS - After a rather contentious dinner, in which the more Irish side of my temper came out, I think my husband would be very interested in reading "My Wife is a Mental Transvestite."

Mama_T said...

This is heart-breaking, and I will certainly remember Stephanie in my prayers. I've written her name down on my list.

I volunteered for a long time at our local women's shelter. It is truly frustrating work, because so many women go back, and back, and back.

They told us in training that the average woman leaves an abusive situation 7 times before she leaves for good. Sometimes they don't get to that number.

It was then, and still is, hard for me to comprehend. One smack and the man who thought he could do it would be thinking differently. But that was because I was raised knowing that I was worth an inestimable amount. My mother (a single parent after I was 11 and my dad died) let me know all the time that I was valuable, smart, beautiful, etc, etc, etc, and that anyone who thought different was certifiable.

The best we can do is pick up the pieces where we can, and do everything we can to inculcate an unshakeable sense of *self* in our daughters and granddaughters.

Ora pro nobis.....

William Luse said...

Thanks, ladies. That "7 times" is an astounding figure; almost seems a grotesque parody of the apostle's question: "How many times must we forgive, Master? 7 times?" But girls need to remember that their willingness to forgive is not the thing at stake; it's their safety.

You know your worth is inestimable because God says so. I wonder if any genuine sense of self can survive without it.

Ellyn, I'll try to get those responses back in the archives, for your husband's peace of mind, and an all round pleasanter dinner table experience.

alaiyo said...

We once had neighbors who were visted by the police several times because of "domestic disputes." She finally left him, moved to the other side of town, started back to school . . . then insanely let him in the door of her new house one night and he murdered her.

I've had students in abusive situations, some who've left them, some whom I wonder to this day about. I often find myself looking out over a class of 18-22-year-olds and wanting to weep for all the pain that I'll never know of -- so much of it caused by sexual sin. I want to protect them, especially the young women, who are so terribly vulnerable in so many ways. . . but one can't. One can pray, and avail oneself of every opportunity to speak truth . . . But on days like this it seems so terribly inadequate.

It is only the love of God that keeps me from despair. May He have mercy on us all.

Mama_T said...

Absolutely, Bill. Raised in the church, knowing that "Jesus loves me" from the moment I could speak--certainly the underpinning of my mom's work.

McKid's mother, now so much a part of my life, knows that God holds her in his hand NOW. But she still misses what she didn't have growing up in an abusive home. It makes a huge difference, even in a situation that *looks* successful, like McKid's mom. There is still a hole in her that it seems no amount of attempting to fill up later (as we are trying to do) can do. So, yes, God says it, and I believe it. But it is vitally important that babes hear it from the lips of loved ones consistently as well.....

And I'm with Alaiyo on this one. Grace is all that can keep one from despair on days like this.

William Luse said...

I often find myself looking out over a class of 18-22-year-olds and wanting to weep for all the pain that I'll never know of -- so much of it caused by sexual sin. I want to protect them, especially the young women, who are so terribly vulnerable in so many ways. . . but one can't.

Yes. If only you could give them the gift of perspective, transport them 20 or 30 years down the road so that they could look back and see themselves as you see them. You have to try, anyway.

TS said...

What a story indeed, and how ineffably sad. It's completely inexplicable to me also how a guy can hit a girl and the girl won't dump him immediately. Even girls with plenty of options won't. If there were zero tolerance for it then guys wouldn't do it, but they can get away with it and therefore it happens.

William Luse said...

It's completely inexplicable to me also how a guy can hit a girl. Full stop.

If there were zero tolerance for it then guys wouldn't do it

They'd do it once, to that particular girl. Zero tolerance won't deter a depraved mind. (IMO, of course.) And even if she leaves after the first time, these are the guys that turn into stalkers.

Also IMO, guys who like, or feel that they need, to hit girls, need to be shot. But that probably won't fly with the proportionality of punishment crowd.

TS said...

I see a similarity with the sex abuse scandal. There will always be predators and woman-beaters among us, acting out of passion (be it anger or lust). But what disappointed me so greatly was the bishops who would, you think, act dispassionately and yet who looked the other way, who allowed the activity to proliferate. Women who accept beatings remind me of bishops who accepted bad priests, and in both cases it leads to more depraved behavior.

A difference of course is that the women in relationships with these guys are not dispassionate, but are in the midst of a relationship, dysfunctional as it is, which easily clouds judgment.

Paul Cella said...

I wonder if poor Stephanie ever sought medical treatment for the injuries inflicted by this lowlife. If here is a medical report somewhere, alongside the evidence of the puppy, friends' testimony, etc, there ought to be enough to indict for aggravated assault, or at least what Georgia calls "family violence battery."

Probably not enough to convict, but the indictment and the mysterious death might put a scare in him at least.

William Luse said...

The mother included a lot of details, but nothing about seeking medical treatment for those particular injuries. They may not have required such treatment. But you'd think after the second time she'd call the police who could charge him with assault. She never did, though. Didn't want him to get in trouble - for whatever reason. It wouldn't be a reason that I could understand.

Mama_T said...

I know what her reason would be. It's a reason we heard time and again. "But I LOVE him."

It was what finally drove me to other volunteer duties. I just could NOT wrap my head around that.

He hurts you, but you LOVE him so much that you don't want him to be in trouble?

In the end I just couldn't get it. EVER. I had to leave the work to others who had more empathy or something. I ended up just driving myself (and probably them) crazy.

smockmomma said...

the reasons women stay with their abusers vary as much as the women themselves. and i speak from experience when i say that it doesn't matter what anybody tells you, you have to be in the right headspace to decide that the bastard isn't worth it any more. the scary part is that not many women seem to be able to find that space and not one can ever find it alone.

Anonymous said...

Bill, I don't know if you take anonymous comments, but I am respecting the choice of another to remain anonymous here. My daughter was in a relationship that ended abruptly and violently when he beat her horribly. She managed to get out, called the cops, waited there until they hauled him away to the hospital (he had cut himself and she was in pretty bad shape herself). It was the first and the last time. We had met him once and had no clue that he had that potential within him. Anyhow, my daughter pursued the legal recourse available to her. She moved across town, took out a restraining order, filed every charge against him that she could. Even though (as it turned out) he had a prior offense, and was high on alcohol and cocaine at the time of his arrest, he was allowed to plea bargain down to a fairly minimal sentence with 'anger management' classes tacked on. My daughter was able to get him blacklisted in his line of work in their community, but she still lives in fear that some how he will find her.
She did everything right, and still she has in so many ways less freedom than the person who beat her does.
I don't know what the answer is. Many of these males (I hate to call them men) grew up watching their male parent beating up women around them, or were themselves the target of violent rages. That is not an excuse, just an observation. The cycle has to stop somewhere, somehow.

William Luse said...

Well, I've already mentioned how to stop the cycle. A woman-beater is a particular form of narcissistic low-life. The girl's just an extension of his ego. If the justice system won't protect the innocent then someone has to. A few years ago out at the school where I work, a girl who'd gone through all the same formalities as your daughter got killed by her stalker boyfriend in the parking lot. It sounds to me as though your daughter's living as the victim of a second crime, just one that doesn't happen to be on the books because of who committed it.

I don't know what I'd do if it happened to my daughter. I won't know unless it happens and I don't want to find out. But it's a war and somebody has to win. People think it's just tough talk, but I have a pretty good idea of what's in me.

Probably not the kind of response you wanted, since it's not the Christian way. I'm not trying to put ideas into your head, btw. I hope your daughter gets the peace she deserves. I hope the guy gets so high on cocaine and alcohol that he walks into traffic, so that she can have her freedom back. The one Christian thing I'll do is say a prayer for her.

(The girl I wrote about in this post, btw, is not the only one from this semester alone who had a story to tell about a jealous, screaming, fist-wielding boyfriend. There were several. So young it would break your heart. I wanted to adopt them all, but I can't.)

Philangelus said...

Any woman trying to leave an abusive relationship, or anyone who wants to help a woman leave an abusive relationship, should read "The Gift of Fear" by Gavin DeBecker. Among the things he writes is something touched on in the comments, which is that often a restraining order is most useful for identifying the woman's murderer when the cops find her body. :(

I wanted to say, I'm intrigued by the commentary that talks on the one hand about women's inherent dignity and the fact that men shouldn't hit them, but repeatedly says things like "men shouldn't hit girls." I think that language itself is partially responsible for some men's acceptance of domestic violence. By calling her a "girl" but him a "man," we've unintentionally set up a linguistic hierarchy where he's her superior; he's almost her parent. It's okay to spank a child for misbehavior, so in an abuser's mind, it becomes okay for him to hit his girlfriend/wife because she's "a girl." His inferior. His child in a way.

Unless the victim is under fourteen, she's a woman. If we change that one little part of the way we speak about domestic violence, we might be able to seed a different perspective in those around us. It won't change the opinions of men who think it's okay to hit women, but it might change the opinions of judges and police officers and district attorneys who think hitting one's wife is a lesser offense than hitting a stranger.

William Luse said...

I'm not getting the linguistic cause and effect between the use of "girl" and "woman", since every woman is somebody's little girl,
whose inherent dignity is the full flower of that long ago innocence and fragility that elicits from decent men a desire to protect, not attack. Punishing one's child is a far cry from the kind of smash- mouth we're talking about here.

Now I have on occasion tried to convince my wife that I'm her superior, with decidedly mixed results. Her most common response is a sneer. She has hinted in her softer moments that she still thinks of me as head of the family, but it's largely a ceremonial position.

I do think it's a problem that so many "judges and police officers and district attorneys...think hitting one's wife is a lesser offense than hitting a stranger," as though it were somehow more understandable (when in fact it's the exact opposite), but I doubt it's for the reason you give.

Lydia McGrew said...

"She has hinted in her softer moments that she still thinks of me as head of the family, but it's largely a ceremonial position."

I don't know quite why, but I find that line hysterically funny.

Is it really true that there are no clues to a violent type of guy, no warning signs? I'm asking this seriously. I wouldn't know, having no experience with one.

zippy said...

HVLD. (High velocity lead deficiency).

William Luse said...

I find that line hysterically funny.

Your amusement is the knowing laugh of women everywhere.

...no clues to a violent type of guy, no warning signs?

Sometimes, sometimes not until the first blow has landed. Maybe I'll tell the story sometime about the couple who lived across the street from us. The guy never touched her, just screamed her humiliation through an open window to the whole neighborhood.

I see that Zippy's on my wavelength.

From Terry and Micki (and others) I conclude that, though I do not understand women, there's a certain kind of woman that even women don't understand, parallelling my further inability to understand a certain kind of "man."

Further pondering Philangelus' comment: I don't think I ever saw my children as my inferiors - my subordinates, perhaps, in an ordained hierarchy, but not inferiors. I found their innocence a constant delight, but also a reproach to the inevitable corruptions of "maturity," my own, that is, just as I find my wife's feminine graces a reproach to my male ego.

Before anyone jumps all over me, keep in mind I imagine this from the deracinated male scumbug's persepective: but if I had to choose an analogous relationship to the woman-beater and his victim , it might more be that of a pimp to his whore, in which the proven technique for cultivating dependency requires sporadic moments of lavished affection, after which she is returned to her essential status as property, resistance to which condition will not necessarily be futile (if her efforts are heroic), but is likely to be painful. The woman who does not break away sees her survival, even her human worth, as somehow depending on this animal's good will. Why remains a mystery. For those who do break away (Nicole Brown Simpson comes to mind), the only mystery is why the law pleads its inability to protect her from the knucklewalker who turned her face black and blue. I should think the honor of women ought to be a main measure of a 'civilized' society.

Philangelus said...

The kind of man who would hit a woman has hierarchicalized the world into people who are beneath him and people who are above him. It would seem to me that he hates both, but he only fears the ones above him. The ones below, he feels he can do with as he sees fit. As you said, like property.

You don't view your children as inferior to you because you are a decent human being. But to someone who views coercion as a valid means of obtaining love (or a servility that passes for it) his children and his girlfriend would, in fact, be viewed as inferior.

I didn't mean that referring to the victim as a "girl" would *cause* domestic violence, only that it's a holdover of the idea that women in general aren't worth as much as men. What we need, linguistically, is the female equivalent of "guy," because using "girl" for everyone from the woman answering the phones to one's potential spouse to the person behind the counter at the bakery has a diminutive effect. No one talks about "the boys down at the parking bureau," right? I'm 36 and have had five children, and occasionally I still hear myself referred to as a girl.

It's part of the cultural norm right now to refer to a woman as a girl under certain circumstances, and challenging that in part will challenge the cultural norm that allows wife-beaters to continue beating their wives.

William Luse said...

No one talks about "the boys down at the parking bureau," right?

Wrong. My wife used to let me have a night out with the boys. When I worked at a public golf course, we referred to the boys over at city hall, or the boys in maintenance,etc. I've heard it a million times. I've called my wife a girl on many occasions, as in "It's a girl thing, isn't it?" She considers it a term of endearment. You're straining at a feminist gnat.

Lydia McGrew said...

I agree, Bill.

Ellyn said...

Having been part of the generation that held the term "girl" in such low regard, that makes me old enough to long to be called a girl. Twelve year old girls find some sort pseudo-empowerment in referring to themselves as women, but women of a certain age don't mind being called girls. Though, maybe in about twenty years I'll find girl to be a patronizing variation on ageism and wish to be a woman again. Through it all, I do remain female.

And I have the habit of referring to people of all both genders as "guys." I should cut back on this, not for gender reasons, but because it probably sounds a little too casual and goofy. But cordial...very cordial.

Mama_T said...

I would say to Lydia that there are very often warning signals given before the abuse ramps up, but very often these are taken to be signs of "how much he loves me" rather than the precursors to abuse that they are.

Very often it starts with excessive anger and/or jealousy. "Were you talking to that guy? Were you? Were you?"

It also starts with isolation--"We just need to be the two of us"--all the time--effectively cutting out anyone who might warn her that he's taking advantage of her. Or it might be "Your friends don't like me" so they hang with *his* friends all the time--who won't say anything to him, 'cause they either share his ugly viewpoints, or they're too afraid of him to be more than yes-men.

Girls (women, whatever) often take these kind of things as some darkly romantic start of the relationship. "Oh, he loves me so much he's jealous....."

And it moves on in small but steady increments. The closer she becomes to him, the further the violence (physical, verbal, emotional) progresses. The woman finds herself in deep before she realizes that she is in trouble.

And the women engage in something that counselors call "magical thinking." "If I just keep the house cleaner" or "If I just don't look sexy for the rest of the world" or any one of a hundred thousand things that he has told her is the reason that he does what he does, then everything will be all right. Only it never is.

Abusers are masters at isolation--removing ever so surely the support group around their victim. Women often find themselves far away from family and other sources of help. And it's hard to leave when you have no skills and a bunch of kids.....

So, sometimes it comes out of the blue. But most women look back on the courtship period and see signs that could have warned them. But they explained them away or ignored them.

And the women aren't just young, or uneducated, or stupid. One of the women I met at our shelter was a doctor--who turned over her whole paycheck to a scumbag husband who told her she was fat, ugly, and stupid. And this woman, who had done so much in her life, believed him.

William Luse said...

I agree, Bill.

It's good to have a girl on my side.

And I have the habit of referring to people of all both genders as "guys."

I don't know what "all both genders" are - two seems enough- but you're right. Now that I think about it I hear it all the time. I've even heard my wife address the two daughters that way. Lydia used to start her emails to the W4 group with "Hey, guys..." Of course, we were all guys so, uh, never mind.

Terry, that's a fine, insightful comment, especially about the isolation. It was in fact true of Stephanie.

smockmomma said...

as mamaT pointed out most girls -- and i mean girls -- are flattered by the isolation before they're battered by it.
isolation is a HUGE red flag that more parents need to be aware of for their children. by children i mean "young people" because, while it isn't as common, there are boys out there as well who are being abused by their girlfriends.
in our contraceptive/abortion-minded society, human dignity has crumbled so low that this is a problem we're bound to see explode in generations to come. God help us all.

William Luse said...

And those girl fighting videos you've probably seen in the news will only exacerbate the boys' sense that it's okay to smack her now and then.

The only girls who've ever hit me were my daughters. They seemed to think they had a license to do it. It was all in fun, but Bernadette throws a mean punch that left my shoulder sore.

Anonymous said...

my mother posted anonymously my story.
reading it from her perspective made me cry.
I never thought i would be a person who would be the survivor of DV... (victim is a word that leaves you powerless).
and yet here i am, over a year after, still haunted by the memories and the fear.
screwed by a legal system that gives people passes - see, according to them, since he was "mentally ill" and "addicted", he needed treatment, and his priors carried no weight. because it's a misdemeanor in my state.
in response to your "I don't how I would react"... after being told a part of the story, my aunt told my dad she could "pray for someone as she kicked their ass".
I look back and see how he was trying to isolate me, cutting down my friends and family and co-workers. but it happen so slightly, so subtly, that it's only in retrospect that I see the full effect.
his mistake in not getting away with it was timing - I still had my job, my independence, my family ties. I had to sneak around to keep them, but I still had them.
and, when it hit the fan, i still had people to call. in that way, I was / am a lot different than the average DV story.
thanks for this posting. If it raises just a little awareness...
anyway, i said a little prayer for Stephanie and her family.

Ellyn said...

I double checked...indeed there are only two genders. (I do remember typing all and thinking that was dumb and changing it to both... call it hyper-PC language all and/or both.

Mama T is right about the magical thinking. Too many woman have a mindset akin to that 'old' perfume commercial - you know, "Want him to be more of a man? Try being more of a woman?"

William Luse said...

Anon, your comment doesn't need any help from me. Stay safe.

runningtheasylum said...

Heartbreaking story, thank you for posting it. One more note on "girls"-- that is the word used around our house, since my five sons are still boys, and the usual formulation is "You never, ever hit a girl." In this context, it's in reference to their three sisters, in a house full of kids where missing sports equipment, "borrowed" candy, short fuses, etc. spill over into wrestling matches fairly easily. I don't think I can stop the wrestling and fighting entirely-- there is a reason for the cliche "Boys will be boys." But I'm trying my best to make sure they are boys who don't hit girls, and would find it shameful and unmanly to do so in their future adult lives.

Margaret

William Luse said...

Sounds like you're doing pretty well, Margaret.

LYL said...

Hi, I came here via Dale Price's blog. I will say a prayer for poor Stephanie and her family.

The woman who does not break away sees her survival, even her human worth, as somehow depending on this animal's good will. Why remains a mystery.

It is because of the Fall: "You will yearn for your husband and he will lord it over you." This is the disordered relationship of woman and man.

It is because a woman is putting a man before God, ultimately. As a Christian, I can order my relationship with my husband by yearning for Jesus and putting Him first in my life. DH comes a very close second, but come second he must. And that is the only way a woman can ensure this kind of thing doesn't happen to her.

William Luse said...

No doubt there's a lot to that.

I think I'll ask my wife tonight who comes first, me or God? She will probably say God, but I'll give her a hard time about it just for fun.