By an odd coincidence, for the first time in the five plus years of rock nyc I was writing about wifebeaters the other day and here we are again in the Paul Simon “domestic disturbance” case, though, really Paul is 5’2″ and 70 years on and Edie Brickell has been known to eat her Wheatabix so it might not be as clear cut as you’d think.
The question of violence against women is a numbers game. If men and women shared temperament and physique the only thing that would matter is who won, but they don’t, and even now, while it is socially taboo in the West, violence against women is as always at epedimic proportions.
What makes woman beating so nauseating is that it is such a bullying response, it so isn’t a fair fight but rather form of cowardice and self-loathing. Man on woman violence is a type of terrorism which has gone from the emotional to the physical. Where the occasional, or more, beating, with the possibility of worse than that nearby is a terror that runs through the heart of a woman.
In boarding school in the UK that fear was there all the time and what made it terror in the true word was the randopm nature of what you were punished for. It could be tardiness, high spirits, bad grades. It could be almost literally anything at any given time. And that is the horror. You don’t know what you’ve done wrong but you know you’ve done something wrong and you know you are going to pay for it.
With husbands and wives, with lovers, it is worse,because it is the last person you should be hurting. It is as if you are hurting yourself, it is just about unconscionable to hurt somebody you love even if it is as huge a carriage and liability as imaginable. Also, it can be an ongoing denegerative situation and it seems to cut through class, social, financial realms. And while, unlike, say, the Middle East where it is socially accepted, even the stigma attached to woman beating doesn’t stop it.
I hate it, and don’t do it, for all those reasons and more: I just despoise the unfairness of hitting people who are weaker than you are. Mental torture? Sure, it is part of being in love? But physical torture? That’s the worst way to leave your lover.
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