Friday, February 24, 2012

Getting Bitchy

Everyone knows February is the month of Valentines...but did you also know that it is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month?  

I have to confess:  I didn't.   But I've been thinking about the subject of dating violence a lot lately, for a variety of reasons.  Tonight, while reading the newspaper, I ran across two articles in different sections that reminded me of the need to keep spreading the message that DATING VIOLENCE IS NOT OKAY!

Celebrities Chris Brown and Rihanna are back in the news, apparently reunited (or at least acting as if there are, for publicity reasons) just a few years after he was charged with assaulting her.

What I found most interesting in the article?  This:

“We can never ignore the fact that many abused women actually love the men who hit them because the men who hit them don’t always hit them,” says DeKeseredy.
While there can be situational reasons for a woman’s return, adds Stosny, affection and guilt often play a greater role: “When you talk to the women who go back, they rarely will cite fear, finances or social pressures. They will just say that they still love him.”
One of the biggest criticisms of my book Painting Caitlyn is that some people think Caitlyn is stupid to stay with Tyler when he begins to display controlling and violent behaviour.  But domestic violence prevention organizations such as Sprucerun recognize that getting out - and staying out - is not just about practicalities for many women.  Whitney Houston was another example of someone who had trouble escaping her own violent situation:  her husband, Bobby Brown, was charged with domestic assault years before they divorced. 

Both Rihanna and Whitney Houston have/had the financial means to escape abusive relationships.  But clearly, they were lacking the necessary self esteem.

Here's another article  from tonight's newspaper, describing the trial of a man accused of stabbing his girlfriend through the stomach, forcing her to clean up the mess and have sex with him, and then leaving her alone to die.  They weren't teenagers, but this part struck me:  

"When the friend was about to call 911, Jamieson said he was on probation and supposed to stay away from Brunet, whom he had previously been convicted of punching in the mouth. He said: “Well I don’t need this kinda stuff . . .” and fled."
It wasn't the first time.

She may not have felt that she had the financial means to be alone.  She may have worried about social pressures.  She probably even loved him.  But the minute he assaulted her, she needed to leave.

If dating violence is affecting you, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.  There are lots of resources out there to help.  Start here.

Of course he (or she) has redeeming qualities.  You wouldn't even consider staying with him if he didn't.  But you have good qualities, too.   And you don't deserve to be mistreated.  Nobody does.

And yes, it might hurt emotionally more than it ever hurt physically.  There are chemical reasons for that - quitting love can be like quitting a drug.  And you'll feel like a bitch.

But if someone's treating you badly, maybe you need to get bitchy.