Thoughts on an early Thursday morning…
According to resident black magic witch Kellyanne Conway, if a woman is strong and intelligent, she can’t be abused. Hmmm… I guess that makes me a weak idiot. Because I was in an abusive marriage. Not for long, but for what now seems like a brief five minutes in my life, I learned that someone you think you love can be unbearably cruel both physically and mentally to you. And what that happens, the initial confusion makes rational decisions difficult to impossible.
I had never seen abuse growing up. My father and mother had their arguments. We were Italian and arguments happened loudly. But I never heard either of my parents disparage the other in any way during those arguments. There was a line of that was never crossed.
Maybe that’s why when my marriage turned abusive, I was initially confused and horrified. The one person I thought would always love and protect me was the person hurting me. The fact that I was intelligent enough to try to dispassionately figure out what was happening neither stopped it from happening nor gave me some secret door out of the relation.
To begin with, I was totally embarrassed to have made such a bad choice. How could I have not seen the streak of meanness? How could I have missed the signals of an abusive spouse? I still don’t have those answers. I was young and in love. And now my love was beating and raping me inside my marriage and I was too ashamed to admit just how big a mistake I’d made.
It took me three years to get away from the abuse, three years of excusing it, trying to placate him so he wouldn’t hit again, pretending all was well. But it wasn’t. And one day I went to work, walked into our local psychologist’s office, sat down and simply said, “I can’t go home tonight if he’s still there.” Again, I was lucky. I was in the health field, I knew the professionals, I knew what help was available and after the three longest years of my life, I finally utilized all those resources to get out of my marriage.
A lot of women aren’t as lucky as I was. I had a job. I had income. I had a place to live. Getting rid of my abuser came down to me finally deciding one day that I was never going to change him, he was never going to live up to his promises that it would never happen again and my life would never be good as long as he was in it. I didn’t have to worry about kids, finances, living arrangements… I just had to find the courage to walk away.
So no, Kellyanne, strength, intelligence, college degrees, power or celebrity… none of that protects you from abuse or an abuser. Any woman who has been abused by a man has a moral obligation to make sure the next woman he targets at least has the benefit of being told what she was about to marry. You may not be able to change her mind, but at a minimum she deserves to be warned.
Abusers rarely change their stripes. And if Hicks Hopes goes into a relationship with Mr. Porter knowing what the world now knows, well, it just goes to prove that being an intelligent woman is no protection. Some women are just destined to endure their own black eyes before they see the light about their relationship.