I suffer from fury. My fury is contained and constricted. I keep it in a box and rarely take it out to look at. I spend hours making myself presentable for social occasions and to talk to friends and family. My fury is not innate. It is not how I am. It was engendered within me over the years after being beaten and abused for so very long. Men’s meaningless and foundationless fury is lauded: they are macho men, they are warriors, they are soldiers, they are victims of a society that piles on the pressure. Even when a woman has been beaten and raped repeatedly, with society around turning a blind eye and barely, if ever, punishing the violent man, her rage is unacceptable, even if her rage does not spill out into fists or fights and is contained within her own outrage.
There are a few ways to win the war if you are a woman who has been trapped in the sights of an abuser. For me it was withstanding and living long enough to run. I had to bite down my fury. I had to eat my rage dry and cold, choking it down every time he violated or beat me, or smashed chairs over me. My body hurts. It is worse over time. My leg hurts where it was broken. My ribs hurt. My shoulder that was dislocated hurts. My back hurts. My bad eye hurts and my sight is deteriorating. My deaf side, deaf after being hit so hard I lost my hearing causes problems. I am permanently damaged by his abuse. It is getting no better. In recent months I have come to accept I might not be able to live that long life I hoped for. I am getting no better.
I have been derided many times for not fighting back. I’ve been told by women who were not me, who don’t know the man who tried to kill me, that if I had just hit him back, he would have settled down and learnt his lesson. They are fools. One of us was going to die if I hit back. He would escalate it that far. That person would have been me. I would be dead.
You see if someone has never been confronted with deadly violence and someone who is willing to take it that far, even if you only want them to stop, cannot possibly understand that it is either fight to the bitter end and win or lose…or retreat, submit, go limp and let yourself be beaten until their rage has nothing but a blank wall to hit. No sound. No response. Grey stone those murderous motherfuckers. Then, when they stalk off, run, run run for your life, no shoes, no coat, babies in your arms, no shoes on, doesn’t matter. Run and survive. Run and live. Run for your life. Then, of course I ended up with Hague issues for carrying my babies to safety. I am the one criminalized. I am the one on the run forever. I am the outlaw. It is laughable, really. My husband gets to live his life with no real issues, and I am the one who has to hide forever more. Society is a joke, it really is. They barely mourn us when we die, and find reasons to justify why we died and didn’t survive the man. And people wonder why I am furious?
I am an old woman now. I will never love or be loved again. I will never have a relationship or companionship. I will live out the rest of my days in pain. I will live out what is left on the run. I will live out what is left criminalized and fighting the law to justify why I chose to run and live instead of stay and die. Who cares? The law is an ass, and hates women. It is not set up for women to survive bad men. Fuck the patriarchy. What have men done for me? Ruined my life? Hurt me? Raped me? Beaten me? Failed to lock up the man who tortured me for even close to long enough?
But I am meant to be quiet. I am not meant to be angry. I should be looking forwards to the second half of my life being comfortable with freedom and watching my remaining child grow and thrive. Instead I am wondering how much worse the pain will get, how long I have before running catches up with me and destroys what happiness I have grabbed back from the Pig, and knowing I bought time, but time is all I won, and that time is running out rapidly.
If I didn’t have my rage I would collapse. If I was quiet and accepting I would disintegrate. I would have loved a quieter life full of art and writing and happy things. I would have loved a safer less painful life. I didn’t get that because of men. I didn’t get a decent childhood because an adult man could not keep his hands to himself. I didn’t get a life because of men. I can’t have relationships because I can never trust anyone not to hurt me or fuck me over. The slightest sign, even from another woman, that they are not fully on side and loyal, and I can’t take the risk of sticking around. I will never kiss again. Never hug, or walk hand in hand along a boardwalk, or sit playing guitar late into the night writing songs and smoking weed and putting my head on someone else’s shoulder. I am middle aged, not dead. There is no companionship for me. No future for me. I don’t know if I will even have next week.
The DV ‘support’ (Hah! What a joke! She is vile to me) told me not to pay my rent ahead of time in case I ‘have to leave the country’. I can’t live with this amount of pressure. I need to have some security and stability. The boy needs a future. He needs to stay put. I have got him this far, perhaps he will be ok without me soon enough, and I can run again. I will never be ok without him. He is my life. He has been the reason I carried on after the desperately terrible year when he became all I had left. To be frank, I didn’t want to carry on, but he needed me so I did. When he doesn’t need me any more perhaps I will go walk off to a canyon somewhere. Perhaps I will go get out of this terrible physical pain I am stuck in. Perhaps I will drift off and the world not miss me much. I wonder when I am no longer taking up space in this world will anyone even notice? I hope I have longer left than I suspect I do. Even if I only get a few more months of happiness, it will do.
Time flies…So does happiness…generally away from me. All because a man decided to beat me, torture me, rape me and hurt me, forcing me to protect my children with my body under his fist. Was it fun for him? Did he enjoy it? Did it make him feel better? Was I good stress relief? I certainly didn’t have any fun. Sometimes when I go to sleep I dream of those days stuck in that apartment in Tokyo, windows barred at the front, no escape except past his hulking frame and fists and the kitchen knife in his hand. I see the blood run in sheets down my arms. I look down at my pregnant belly and beg him, “Please no. The baby. The baby, ___! You will kill the baby!” And I see his blank eyes, and the glint of metal, and I try not to scream and startle him, and hear myself talk in wheedling pathetic tones, begging him not to hurt me. Making deals he can do whatever he wants as soon as the baby is born, just not now, not now. I feel that baby kick, and I try and slow my breathing down. Then he roars and stabs the knife into the pillow next to me, thudding with the next stroke into my head with his fist, strangling me instead. Then I wake up and I try and calm my heart down. I am left for eternity in hell.
I lived for that kid. I survived for him. In the end when he goes and I am alone I don’t think I will even know who I am anymore. I don’t think there is anyone left that isn’t ‘mom’. I am hollow. Empty. Destroyed. A zombie girl. But I protected those children with everything I had. Gotta be worth something Gotta be worth a little.
The Boy went out for a run yesterday. “I saw a cop when I was out. Don’t worry, ma I stopped running and started walking and went the other way, so I didn’t startle him.” For fucks sake, World, I wasted my fucking time trying to survive. Is the world trying to destroy me entirely? I think so. I don’t trust anyone. Not really. Not even myself. Especially not myself.
Thank goodness you are not quiet. I know I say that from a risk-free place. But you have words for everyone–for women, especially, and I can only hope that that community grows stronger with her own real power. Really, though, everyone can change and should. I know that sounds ideal.
Thank you my friend. If anything I write helps one woman know she is not alone, then I have won something, right? Thank you for being one of the good guys, a solution to the problem. Male violence is destroying the world. Look at Russia – it is all dick swinging patriarchal posturing with high stakes…and I am not the only mother’s heart that breaks…
It is strange, my friend. I really enjoy male company as friends. I make a good ‘guy friend’. I can talk baseball, and music, guitars and shoot the breeze. I adore my son. But that said, there are so many men that are so misogynistic, so offensive, so disgusting….I dunno…I really dunno…I just end up being very lonely and very isolated.
Great text. Specially reading in this sad day for a brazilian. The day was suposed to be happy for the entire nation but we have the misogenous Bolsonaro.
Fuck Bolsonaro. He is disgusting isn’t he! I hope he is thrown out of power soon and things can recover. I am so sorry for your suffering. Your friend, Detroit.
Today Brasil celebrates 200 years as a republic, Bolosonaro speach was extremaly mysogenous,
The devil hides behind talk of God. I saw the news. I truly believe Bolsonaro is evil.