A few days ago, I read a woman’s blog in which she spoke of a severe flash back she had in relation to a previous abusive relationship.
At first I was very much touched by her account, and then… she said “don’t ask!!” her who this (apparently godly?) man had been as she won’t ruin his reputation and had forgiven him or something. This… Just… Rubbed me the wrong way.
First of all, I’m not one to ruin reputations. I could give a flying fuck that she doesn’t want to name and shame… But I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anyone ask a stranger to do so anyway. It wouldn’t even cross my mind to ask for that information.
Though my friend has told me previously – I didn’t have to change names because “the guilty don’t deserve” such protection – I’m not that kind of person, anyway. So the fact that she doesn’t want to share that doesn’t bother me. Perhaps it was the assumption that she would be pushed for the information that made me pause in the first instance…
But the thing that really bothered me was not even the forgiving of her abuser – forgiveness is good for the soul as it is – but the way she wrote it… The way she indicated that he was reputable and she seemed to have some kind of admiration or respect for the man anyway.
To me, this trivialized the experience she was trying to relay. This man had apparently hurt her so badly that when she had an accident – knocked herself unconscious and then waking on the floor – she started screaming and crying from what sounded like a PTSD reaction – flashing back to her old relationship. …and crying repeatedly for days afterwards.
But, um, ok…. Then tell us in a cheerful tone that he is a good man of whom you wouldn’t want to ruin his reputation.
I felt a gag reflex and couldn’t read further.
We do have a tendency to trivialize our own domestic violence experiences sometimes. I know I have done that myself in the past… So I have no interest in linking the post or calling her out personally in any way – but I want us to start thinking more clearly about this aspect of ourselves.
I want us to read our own writing before we hit publish and ask ourselves the question “Does any of this trivialize my story, my experiences, my feelings?” I want us to ask ourselves how will this post help another woman?
Will indicating some form of admiration or respect for our abuser in any other aspect assist other women in feeling that they too should push their gut feelings about their abusers aside and forgive because after all he is a good man in whatever other respect? Does that even make sense? I feel like I’m rambling now…
My point is this: Forgive if that makes your soul feel better; but don’t forget… don’t downplay your experiences, don’t let him off scott free. I don’t give a flying fuck if you name and shame – in most cases that may not be the best choice anyway… But don’t tell me or other women it’s because of not wanting to ruin a good man’s reputation.
He ruined his own reputation the very moment he raised his fist to you. He is not a good man if he knocked you out on a bathroom floor; the cold tiles of which have the ability to put you into PTSD like hysterics.
He is not a respectable man if he ever beat someone the way he beat you.