The Clumsy Wife

He was always careful that the bruises wouldn’t show.  He’d learned that over the years with her.  Once, early on, he’d been careless and he noticed her sister staring at the purplish fingerprints he’d left on her upper arm.  A joke about her clumsiness and his having to catch her before she fell and the sister forgot what she’d seen.  By now, her “clumsiness” was well-known to their family and friends and it came in handy when he’d needed it to.  But he was careful now.  When they’d first met, she’d been so sweet and always did what she could to please him and make him happy.  She was quiet and respectful.  She didn’t talk back to him or question his authority as her husband.  If he wanted a meal, she stopped what she was doing and cooked for him.  If he needed a backrub, she gave him one.  Nothing that he wanted was too small for her total attention.  And that’s the way he wanted it, the way he wanted her.  She started causing problems when he lost his job.  His stupid boss never understood him, and one day he just couldn’t take it anymore.  He stormed out of the mill in a rage and never looked back.  She told him not to worry, that she could get a job and help pay the bills until he was back on his feet.  “Back on his feet?”  Did she think it was his fault he’d lost his job?  She didn’t understand anything at all.  But he let her take that job at the dry cleaners, while he looked around for something worthy of his talents.  That job of hers was the biggest problem of all, thinking back.  She loved it more than she loved him. Always going in early, staying late, volunteering to work on her day off.  He knew what was really going on, though. It was her and that boss of hers.  Of course, she denied it, but he knew.  He could tell.  So he had to keep her in line.  She made him so mad.  It was really her fault that he hit her.  Any husband would do the same thing.  Right?

Eighty-five percent of the victims of domestic violence are women.  A woman’s greatest risk of violence comes from someone she loves–either her husband or her boyfriend.  Over 50% of men who abuse their wives also beat their children.  Children who grow up in violent homes are more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs later in life, and to become abusers themselves.  In that sense, being an abuser is “inherited” by the next generation, and the cycle of abuse continues.  Domestic violence is learned behavior.  Men who batter or abuse women physically, sexually, verbally, or economically have learned how to mistreat them from watching other men do it.  They believe they have a right to use criticism, intimidation, control, fear, and violence.  Abusive men come from all economic classes, races, religions and occupations.  They may be a “good provider” and a respected member of their church and community.  Typically, they are described as jealous, possessive, and easily-angered.  They fly into rages over small things.  Many try to isolate their partners by limiting their contact with family and friends.
In 1996, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a lengthy statement condemning violence against another person as never being justified.  “Violence in any form–physical, sexual, psychological or verbal–is sinful and often a crime.”  The Catholic Church teaches that violence against someone else fails to treat the other person as a child of God, as someone worthy of love.  Violence or intimidation uses the other person as an object and goes against the love and mercy of Christ.  The Bishops emphasized that “no person is expected to stay in an abusive marriage.”  If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline to find help in your area.  Call 1-800-799-SAFE or email them at:
“Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church.  He gave Himself up for her.”   
             St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, Chapter 5, Verse 25.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Molly Barber
    May 07, 2012 @ 04:28:07

    As a counselor I have had many abused women as clients. What I have learned is that the trauma of abuse causes clumsiness, accidents, even car accidents. It changes women. So just because a woman tells you she fell down the stairs and even if she did fall down the stairs this dos NOT mean that there is no abuse. It may be a greater indicator of abuse.


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