When is it abuse?
I Have People deals with domestic abuse. While it is a warmhearted romance novel in parts, some scenes are a bit intense. One of the issues I attempted to touch on is the oft-asked question: When exactly does a perpetrator’s behavior constitute abuse?
Image courtesy of [smarnad] / FreeDigitalPhotos.netUnfortunately, it’s not an easy question to answer. Why? Because the legal answer will be different from the logical answer.
Let’s go with logic.
While writing I Have People, I visited with a lady who had endured an abusive situation. Her ex-husband never hit her. Not once. BUT, the implied threat was always there. While her husband threw a temper tantrum and destroyed a throw pillow with his bare hands in a fit of anger, she said that this thought was always in the back of her mind: “Will that be me one day?”
A chilling thought. Mental and verbal abuse are just as real as physical abuse.
If any physical harm is implied or threatened, make no mistake, it IS abuse. Even if the perpetrator never once touches his victim.
No one should have to live in fear. Can you prosecute for this type of abuse? Nope. You can try, but the odds are against you.
But you can and should free yourself. Protect yourself.
Image courtesy of [Ventrilock] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
My hope is that I Have People will help women to realize this. And maybe it will help one woman to escape her unhappy situation. Even if it’s just one—I will have succeeded.
Below is a short excerpt from I Have People wherein the main character, Holly, faces this very issue:
Cal took a few days off to solicitously take care of her. He was attentive and sympathetic, ridiculously so. She called her work to let them know she was very ill and needed to take the week off. While she lay in bed, waiting for her body to heal, she pondered over her life.
It was a mistake to marry Cal, she knew that with certainty. Her love for him was dying a slow and painful death. He could be so wonderful one minute, but once something set off his temper, he turned into an entirely different man. The crux of the problem was not just that Cal had a temper, but that when he lost it, he was capable of turning violent—he was capable of turning on her, of hurting her. The thing was, he’d never really hit her. He was rough, he liked to use physical force to intimidate her, but was he really abusive? After all, he hadn’t meant for her to fall onto the glass table. How far does he have to go before his behavior is labeled as abusive? Was she wrong to even use the word when considering his actions?
She didn’t know. She was baffled and in pain. She couldn’t think logically. Should she have reported Cal? He’d been angry and he’d been pushing her around, but he hadn’t meant to hurt her. He’d apologized, he was taking care of her, and he loved her. Where did that leave her?
Confused and unsure, that’s where. Completely perplexed. Did he love her or didn’t he?
This sounds like a very hard subject to write about, but I know your writing will make magic of it. I can't wait to read it. I am finishing off a few other books in my pile, and will soon start I have People. Yea! Hope you're having a fun summer.ReplyDelete
Hi Charissa! I wrote a reply to your comment earlier--and now it's gone. Not sure why. So, let's do this again.Delete
I look forward to hearing your take on I Have People because you write about a similar topic in Secret Keepers. The 'shark biting incident' really got to me. But I think that increasing awareness of abusive situations is crucial. You handled it very well in Secret Keepers.
Hope you're having a wonderful summer as well!
As more is published about abuse, I think women are being encouraged to break from these situations. Mental abuse is just as harmful as physical abuse and can turn to that as the abuser gets more bold.ReplyDelete
Sorry I've missed a few of your posts Taylor. I have been overwhelmed with reviewing and my job has just left me drained!
No problem, Laura! I love to hear from you whenever you have the time. I always appreciate your comments.Delete
I agree that all of the frank publicity about abuse is a good thing. I think it helps to empower women to leave their abusive situations.
Take care and get some rest!
I'm reminded of a short movie one guy made about the verbal abuse he suffered at the hands of his then wife, which is a difficult topic because abuse can be so insidious that it's hard, and from the outside nigh impossible, to spot ere it has taken a firm hold.
And there's always the fear then that people will not aknowledge that it was abuse.
Good thoughts. Thanks for your input. It's true that sometimes it is very hard to tell when someone is abusive. Often it only happens behind closed doors and the abuser puts on a facade around others. This is why I feel it is important to educate women, as well as men, about what is acceptable behavior and what is not. We all have our 'bad mood' moments, but there is a line that no one should cross. Thanks again for your comment.Delete