Today we have another example of why I stopped being a battered women's advocate.
Last week a women staggered into a hotel lobby where she worked and died of stab wounds. She left three kids.
Her husband was a person of interest, naturally. Soon he became a suspect. Yesterday he was picked up walking on a road in Indiana. He'd abandoned his car at a truck stop and was walking back to northern Illinois, reporters said. Or he may also have been walking to Florida, since apparently he has relatives there.
Here's the good part: he had previously spent several years in prison for trying to kill his first wife and attempting to abduct their daughter.
So why did this pretty, thirty-something latina marry an ugly 58-year-old white guy in the first place? And make babies with him? That's a
rhetorical question because there is no answer that ever makes sense.
She had recently filed for divorce and had an order of protection against this great American. But, like so many women who think they can control these guys, he probably called and she agreed to meet with him. Hello??!!! Why do you think they call it an order or protection? She probably thought that she could see him just this once and the order of protection would still be enforceable afterward.
A long time ago I began to realize that if I can predict your behavior, you do not have free will. Of course in the eyes of the justice system everyone has free will unless you can prove you are crazy. Otherwise there might be nobody in jail.
Abusive men leave clues about their potential behavior. Five indicators include jealousy, isolating you, controlling behavior, verbal abuse, and threats to harm you, your pet, or your family.
You can follow the signs like breadcrumbs. Did I mention that one of the clues is PAST behavior, say doing time for murdering a previous spouse?
Eventually after all the emotional and physical bruising, death starts to loom as the final option, especially when you make the mistake of telling someone who hurts you that you're leaving.
But I owe him that much. Shut up. Just do it.
Of course, just as predictable are the women these mopes have battered. They don't believe a stranger who tells them that their lives are in danger. Almost always, they will ignore any and all warnings, until about the seventh time around -- assuming they live that long -- no matter how urgently you try to communicate the danger they're in.
Here's the part I loved -- when something abusive happened to these women, they'd get mad at ME because I was the one who warned them, instead of being angry at their abuser.
I've never had any one call me to say, "Sorry I ignored your advice. He threatened me and I got out just in time."
With one exception. There was one woman who actually did listen. She was afraid
to get a divorce from her drunk, abusive husband who used to shoot his
gun at the living room ceiling, because she had two kids. However, those kids were
boys, a guy magnet if you want to remarry, and she had a nest egg from
her parents. I told her she'd be married again in two years. She dumped
him and two years later married a guy she met at a scouting event.
Later she told me she remembered what I said and that gave her the
courage to do it. The difference was she was a neighbor who knew
But nine times out of ten, battered women don't think your advice applies to them so they ignore it until after the fact.
After going through this rinse and repeat drill a few more times, I was burnt toast. And now there are three more children who don't have a mother because, unfortunately, as the old joke goes, she just wouldn't listen.