This article deeply resonates with me. A little over a month ago, I was VICIOUSLY and VIOLENTLY attacked by someone I know very well…and before this completely trusted.
This attack destroyed a 40 year relationship. I don’t want to ever see this person again. Except maybe in his grave. Except, then again, I don’t know…if he could just maybe… AND see! Therein lies the problem.
My relationship to this attacker makes the situation very tricky…and yet…it’s not what you think…IT IS a family affair. But not in the way that you think.
What do you think? If you think anything at all about this? Do you think the attack was my fault? Do you think I did something to bring this on myself…goaded this particular male into this very toxic and violent place?
Sure…I’m sure a lot of you do think that…even without getting all the facts, knowing the circumstances around the attack, that’s clearly what you think. It’s what you want to think, because then that would absolve you of any responsibility to be fair to me, to hear me out, to try and help me. And you don’t want to try and help me…because helping me IS HARD.
Deep in your heart you know this…and you don’t want to get involved. You may not even want to finish reading this commentary.
Like Alexander, you know something deeply foul is up. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark…but you don’t want to smell it. It stinks.
I think subconsciously WE ALL KNOW…we all know about things like this. We all know about homes where we suspect women are being viciously and violently attacked. We just don’t discuss them or deal with them effectively because it’s extremely difficult to do so.
The reason for that is because of the way humans are hard-wired, especially when it comes to sex and sexual practices.
Now hear me out…it’s not unrelated at all. Human hard-wiring around sex CAN, get very damaged where violence is involved. In these damaged relationships the sex and the violence get intertwined, and once that happens it becomes extremely difficult for either partner to leave the relationship…it becomes addictive in a very dangerous and bad way. Basically it’s like dealing with not just one, BUT TWO, addicts who are addicted to each other. They both need a lot of help…and for the most part the dynamic of this particular problem is not well understood by most of society, ah, make that the world.
It’s a very human problem, that’s not well understood, but often leads to the death of women — the sudden violent death of women, but it destroys the life of men too. The men who commit these heinous acts of violence, as well as the sons of these men.
Yeah, kids are the most vulnerable and victimized in all of this…and yet HARDLY ANYONE considers the effect of all of this on them.
I grew up in a violent home, with this family that Alexander describes as typical…he’s right. This problem is INCREDIBLY PERVASIVE.
I discovered this when I wrote my memoir, The Way Through, Lessons Learned in Life, Love and the Journey which was about growing up in a severely violent home, the damage that did to me, and all the things I had to do for myself to overcome that difficult childhood experience.
What I learned when I began reading from my memoir, was that so many people claim to identify and relate to these horrifically violent experiences happening inside their homes. I was deeply saddened to learn of the overwhelming numbers of people, both male and female, who struggle with these problems and have NO IDEA, and I do mean NONE, on how to reach for any solutions.
And so…in an effort to help be a part of the solution, I personally began researching how to deal with this problem.
I got training at a local nonprofit agency that deals with this issue in my community.
The training was mind-blowing. As a society, we are so ill-equipped to deal with this problem. Just completely unequipped really…and the failures effect EVERYTHING and EVERYONE.
This IS NOT a woman’s problem. This is a HUMAN problem. Unfortunately, though, it is women who best understand the problem and the viable solutions to it because as Doyle points out, women’s lives DEPEND on them understanding the solution, in a way that men’s lives don’t…not directly anyway. Mens lives are slowly destroyed by this phenomenon, whereas women’s lives end suddenly and violently in all of this.
As a child who experienced extraordinary violence being directed at my mother, at the hands of my father (and lesser violence directed at me) even I failed to understand how dangerous and damaging this was for my entire family. I didn’t completely grasp the danger.
It wasn’t until I grew up, sought the training…sought to be a part of the solution, that I realized how extraordinarily dangerous the whole situation was. It used to be, I could just look back upon it and say, hey…you know what…I’m grateful…so very grateful to have survived that.
I can’t say that anymore.
Let’s revisit my recent attack, that threatened my very life. Do you think the attacker was my boyfriend, husband or lover?
Wrong. It’s a fair assumption, but still, just wrong. The identity of my attacker will reveal that this is quite a FAMILY problem, which is to say a HUMAN problem.
It affects both, and if you want to be very expansive in your thinking ALL genders. And yet, it is a very gendered problem, which is to say, it primarily stems from one gender (typically male) thinking that it should have a certain kind of power over another gender (typically female).
But…even those gender stereotypes can bend and break when we’re discussing children and members of the LGBTQ community. At the end of the day it’s about power…and what happens when that power is corrupted and turns toxic. A lot of masculine power in this American society and in this global community has turned quite toxic. I’ve experienced it first hand.
Recently, October 25 of this year, I was violently and viciously attacked…wait for it…wait for it…by my psychotic younger brother.
It blew me away. Didn’t see it coming…and yet, he came at me in THE EXACT SAME WAY, that my father came at mother.
What was the attack about? I have no idea. My brother has suffered from chronic psychosis for the past ten years, and he engages in these paranoid delusions, whereby everyone is out to get him. I had largely been immune to that. But this time I got wrapped up in it, and was attacked like many other members of my family have been also.
My brother is severely mentally ill, and maybe untreatable. My family has struggled to get him treatment for the past ten years, but THAT SYSTEM, is also one that fails sick people…fails them terribly.
And these failures put us ALL at risk. My brother could very well walk into any public place and begin shooting it up. He is sick in that kind of way and even that…I think, is a function of the horrorific violence we were exposed to growing up as children.
Why, you maybe wondering, is he permitted to walk around freely if he’s such a threat? Well…again that would be the system, and the way it fails to deal with family violence, that ultimately spills out onto the public.
But as a new victim…so much of that childhood stuff I had forgotten…I can tell you that experiencing that kind of violence is terrifying.
And the levers in place to help women in the situation that I found myself within? Terribly ineffective at solving the problem…saving a woman from a sudden and violent death. The system is extraordinarily ill-equipped to do so.
And…I’m a lawyer…so I actually do know how to work the hell out of that system…but that system failed me…and it also failed my brother. And so…here I am, on pins and needles daily, wondering if myself and many members of my family as well as members of the general public will be subjected to a psychotic rampage of toxic masculinity — and if I am, I’ve left quite the paper trail, pointing out exactly who failed within this system and who did not.
But…what good is that to me and my family, My husband, my sons, my aging parents (whom I was trying to protect my psychotic brother from) and my siblings, (who have also been doing the same) if I end up a corpse?
As a society, WE MUST do better. We must do better at solving a problem, a very pervasive problem, that is killing us, ALL OF US, in the most deadly, painful and horrific ways.