Monday, December 07, 2009

Invisable Line of Domestic Violence

Posted by Hannah at 10:47 AM

We had area where we used to go and visit for long weekends.  It was a rural area, and the deer were plentiful.  Time had already taken out the natural predators (like wolves, etc) due to the threat to humans, and the deer were over taking the area.  They were killing all the vegetation.  You see the animals knew the boundaries of the vacation areas, and knew the hunters could not cross that line.

What the animals may not have realized is they were killing off their food sources as their numbers grew, and the food sources were not as plentiful anymore. They were facing a new type of death, and that was starvation.

Soon people realized they had to do something with this booming population, and they brought in professional sharp shooters to bring the number of deer down to a manageable population.  As you can imagine some people were very upset over this.  They felt the death of these animals over the vacation homes flowers, trees and vegetation was just plain sinful. 

I can understand their view on the surface okay?  What they didn't see was the bigger picture of what would happen to these animals - and the area - if the food sources disappeared.  It wouldn't benefit anyone, and animals aren't likely to move outside the invisible line at the time just for food.  You would think so wouldn't you?  The deer meat was donated to local homeless shelters, and rest of the deer population had enough food to survive the winter.

Some deer were cocooned in that small vacation area for so long they didn’t realize there was life outside the invisible line.  There were deer that stayed inside the invisible line once the sharp shooters came, and then you had those that scattered. 

What would happen if the sharp shooters never entered the area?  In time after the land completely went to waste the deer would have moved on, but not until the resources were completely gone and many deer had died. You now have a whole section of land that went to waste, and those factors that surround that issue.  Then you have this population of unhealthy deer, and the effects of those deer integrating into the more healthy population of deer outside that invisible line.  Most people I think realize you don’t want sickly animals within healthy ones without a plan of action.

So why the story today?  No, it’s not to fight about animal’s rights, or the right way to handle the deer population.  It was a visual I had today about the invisible line of silence regarding domestic violence in society today.  It’s about the denial that society uses to not see the sickly deer coming across the invisible line, and integrating within their society.

It’s not about the depicted victims with the black eyes, and monstrous stories of their abusers.  Its about their children that people like to forget are there.  The ones that were malnourished of normalcy, a healthy type of love and care, and the fear of the world they bring with them.  The fact they were not taught or shown the healthy ways of handling disputes, or have experience with boundaries of proper behavior.  They grew up in a dying area with disease around them, and how society expects them to act healthy now that they are outside that invisible line.

I read an article today about Patrick Stewart, and his childhood experiences with domestic violence.  Patrick speaks about aspects that society doesn’t wish to talk about, and how he as a child knew this fact very well.  Its how we force the children to live within the boundaries of that invisible line, because we can't acknowledge how their home is turning into a wasteland.  We can't admit they will struggle with their lack of proper direction, sense of peace and love. We are so sure these children will acknowledge how one of their parent's  provoked things, and how it takes two to make a fight.  They don’t realize the realities of a small child knowing that danger is about to surface, and not know how to deal with the fact they love this person and yet they fear the other side of them.

From Monday morning to Friday tea time he worked as a semi-skilled labourer, and was diligent and sober. Often funny and charming, he was always rich in the personal stories of warfare and adventure that thrilled me. But come Friday night, after the pubs closed, we awaited his return with trepidation. I would be in bed but not asleep. I could never sleep until he did; while he was awake we were all at risk. Instead, I would listen for his voice, singing, as he walked home. Certain songs were reassuring: I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen; I'll Walk Beside You . . . But army songs were not a good sign. And worst of all was silence. When I could only hear footsteps it was the signal to be super-alert.

Our house was small, and when you grow up with in a confined space you learn to gauge, very precisely, the temperature of situations. I knew exactly when the shouting was done and a hand was about to be raised – I also knew exactly when to insert a small body between the fist and her face, a skill no child should ever have to learn. Curiously, I never felt fear for myself and he never struck me, an odd moral imposition that would not allow him to strike a child. The situation was barely tolerable: I witnessed terrible things, which I knew were wrong, but there was nowhere to go for help. Worse, there were those who condoned the abuse. I heard police or ambulancemen, standing in our house, say, "She must have provoked him," or, "Mrs Stewart, it takes two to make a fight." They had no idea. The truth is my mother did nothing to deserve the violence she endured. She did not provoke my father, and even if she had, violence is an unacceptable way of dealing with conflict. Violence is a choice a man makes and he alone is responsible for it.
Yes this adult did figure that out, but the dynamics of the sickness within his family did haunt him once he passed that invisible line outside his house of horror.  You can imagine the sigh of relief he had when his father came home singing the 'right' song, and know that tonight he can safely fall asleep without danger.  What is awful is the nights that he came home singing the wrong song, and since everyone felt he must have been provoked or you didn't pick your fights correctly there was no safe zone available.  You can clearly see his acute sensations within the dynamics of his home - knowing when the emotional abuse had stopped, or the physical abuse was about to start.  Why do we feel that is acceptable for this child, and is NOT going to effect their views on life once they grow up?

No one came to help. No adult stepped in and took charge. I needed someone else to take over and tell me everything was going to be all right and that it wasn't my fault. I wanted the anger to go away and, while it stayed, I felt responsible. The sense of guilt and loneliness provoked by domestic violence is tainting – and lasting. No one came, but everyone knew. Our small houses were close together. Every Monday morning I walked to school with my head down, praying that I would not encounter a neighbour or school friend who had heard the weekend's rows. I felt ashamed.

Its amazing to me that people can say that victims are in denial, and yet the 'everyone knows' is still present today with still the same excuses given out as when Patrick Stewart was a child.

Today we have all added to the list now to divert dealing with it directly now. We can now state how feminism is our downfall, or how we don't have numbers right about WHOM is the real victim - so now lets throw gender into the mix.  None of which helps the issue at all.  The dynamics are there no matter WHOM is involved, and race, gender, faith, activism and all the rest don't do squat to help the denial that is out there about the invisible line.  We are all effected, and now we have in fighting along with society's lies they claim they believe.  I suppose you can say the factors can play a part, but no one wants to get into the meat and potatoes of actually acknowledging the sickness that invades our world.  If we can't do that?  The rest really doesn't matter, because it will never be dealt with.  You can't deal with something you can't acknowledge is there right?

Patrick Stewart spoke about his struggle with relationships once he got older.  The traits of his father soaked into him, and he fights with the demons of the past.

Such experiences are destructive. In my adult life I have struggled to overcome the bad lessons of my father's behaviour, this corrosive example of male irresponsibility. But the most oppressive aspect of these experiences was the loneliness. Very recently, during a falling-out with my girlfriend, I felt again as though I were shut out and alone, not heard or understood. I was neither, but it was such a familiar isolation that it was almost a comfort and consolation.

It sounds like he is fighting the good fight, but there are those that don't bother.  No one is going to tell them they are wrong ever again!  No one will make them feel 'less than' again.  They will STOMP all over those people, and it helps that society says they believe the lies they use to NOT deal with it!  Why?  It enables the cycle to continue.  We as society make it easy for them.  We never think about what Patrick just mentioned about how he was not heard, understood, etc when that wasn't present at all.  We encourage those feelings by our response.  Society allowed his mother to deal with this burden because his father wasn't strong enough to admit it.  If we never deal with the warped world and mindsets of abusers they teach that, and pass it on to their children.
I managed to find my own refuge in acting. The stage was a far safer place for me than anything I had to live through at home – it offered escape. I could be someone else, in another place, in another time. However, whenever the role called for anger, fury, or the expression of murderous impulses, I was always afraid of what I might unleash if I surrendered myself to those feelings. It was not until 1981, when the director Ronald Eyre asked me to play the psychotic Leontes in The Winter's Tale, that the breakthrough came.
He quietly told me that the play would only work if I gave myself over, completely and totally, to the delusions, madness and murderousness of this man. "If you do that," Ron said, "I will be at your side. I will be available to you 24 hours a day." From that time forward I was never again afraid of my feelings on stage.

We all have different paths to dealing with the hurts, and I wonder if he is still afraid of feelings off the stage?  We have different ways in which we face or deny the reality of how those hurts effected us.  Its to bad that church has such a hard attempting to be like a neighbor Mr. Stewart had when he was young.  One woman that had the guts to stand UP and say ENOUGH!

Very occasionally one person would come to our aid – Mrs Dixon, our next-door neighbour, the only person who would stand up to my father. She would throw open the door and stand before him, bosom bursting and her mighty weaver's forearm raised in his face. "Come on, Alf Stewart," she would say, "have a go at me." He never did. He calmed down and went to bed. Now I wish I could take Lizzie Dixon's big hand in mine and thank her.

We don't use sharp shooters to address the deer population, but allow the land to go to waste and ignore the sickly deer coming into our 'healthy' population.  There are people that will say Lizzie Dixon didn't address the violence in the proper way.  She was the sharp shooter a couple of nights for Patrick Stewart, and whom do you think this small child appreciated more?  Lizzie Dixon with her attempt or society that KNEW what was going on and all they could say was, 'What are you doing that makes him so mad?"  They feel that is a GREAT question, but never ask WHY is he doing this and how can we help him to stop?  Could it be the grandfather did the same?  Could it have been the grandmother?  WHO knows but we know denial happened within the land of hurt.  Children maybe able to cross that invisible line in time, but what do we do to help them once they do?

The church places the covenant of marriage over and above the realities of true hurt of the victims and the abusers.  They treat the families just like those that objected to the sharp shooters, because they didn't see the dynamics of the fact it effects more than one surface aspect.  They see the marriage together, and that is good.  They don't see how the cycle of abuse continues to the next generation, because no one wanted to deal with it.

The child grows up and leaves the wasteland that was his home. Society welcomes them, but ignores the Vitamin deficiency, anemia, or scurvy for example. They see no need to treat them, because the danger has passed. They never realize the effects on their health, welfare, and outlook may have been damaged as well.  They don't stop to think that those effects could be passed on to their own children.

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Mara Reid on 9:53 AM said...

Another good one, Hannah.

And may I add, I'm sort of a closet trekkie from way back.

Loved Patrick Stewart. He's the one that made me realize that there COULD be another captain of the Enterprise, just as good, perhaps even better than Kirk.
Love his portrayal of Picard.

His story is heartbreaking.

And it's true. There needs to be more Mrs. Dixons.

May God give us each the strength to become Deborahs/Mrs Dixons in the lives of more of these downtrodden women and children.

I want to tell a story where I came close. But will save it for another time. But it was an encouragement to me that we can, with the help of God, rise up to be, as you call it, 'sharp shooters' for the sake of these these little ones.
I think doing so would be like giving a child a cup of cool water in His name.

Waneta Dawn on 10:40 PM said...

Comparing the deer herd to domestic violence makes a very strong point. I'd like to add that in New England there was an entire protected species of deer that got wiped out due to disease. They all got the same sickness and died.

Similarly, when abusers are protected and their families forced to stay with them, far too often the whole family dies. Sometimes the abuser is so "sick" with his sense of entitlement that he kills his wife and children and often himself.

Yet, as you point out, Hannah, far too many churches think keeping a sham marriage intact is more important than dealing with the disease of sin. In fact, their focus on blaming the wrong person can be likened to blaming the starvation of a herd on having too much nutritious food. It makes no sense, for either the deer population or for the marriage that is being destroyed by domestic violence.

JaneDoeThreads on 2:09 PM said...

Hannah, everyone,

I knew there was reason God lead me to this site...because a huge part of my struggle [and I have been at times, the abusive woman--as well as the oppressed, that seed that germinated in me from the horrid child abuse which included sexual from my own mother who hated my guts and never hid it, even After she became a Christian, she never told me she was sorry--not truly sorry] but anyway, I've gone back and forth, between healing and rage and healing and well, a roller coaster, seriously, but through all I've been praying and God has been doing so much--

and well, it hit me yesterday, last night actually, when I was praying about how dark I was inside, though I knew the scriptures mentally, inside, I was cold, as winter, so often, from the years of abuse and hate of my own soul and how I really saw God...and I read something in the back of my Bible and boom, this morning, it just flooded, like a puzzle put together. Anyway, I had been doing some writing on the obsession with wifely submission and its relationship to the 'pedophile fantasy' and I didn't tie the link there to child abuse too--the hate of 'women and children's souls' until now,

Jesus said, 'forbid them not, the children, for Such is the Kingdom of God'.

To hate women, to erase their souls, to hate children, to erase/crush their souls, is to HATE THE KINGDOM OF GOD. Literally to Hate the Kingdom of God.

I saw it, clear as, here, read, because I am getting scripture after scripture confirming this, and I will be writing on this A lot, because I am seeing, so much healing AND restoration for women and children, so, well, anyway, see

its on top, I will leave it up for a while, love Jane

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