A woman (it’s almost always a woman) comes forward stating that she’s been abused by her partner (almost always a man). How she does this isn’t important. Although- if she doesn’t press charges she’s assumed to be lying and simultaneously blamed for letting her abuser go free. If she does go to the police, she’s assumed to be overreacting and blamed for destroying a good man’s life over one little mistake. She can’t win.
The next thing that happens? People go to the partner. They ask him for his side of the story. Invariably- yes, invariably- he either denies everything or downplays what happened. Maybe she’s making it up. Maybe she really wanted it at the time. Maybe she provoked him and her provocation was just as bad, wasn’t it?
So he says that he didn’t do it, or that it isn’t something we should bother worrying about.
Why does this surprise us? Why does it make us less likely to believe her? What do we expect him to do? Do we think that someone would abuse their partner but feel that lying about it is crossing a line? Do we expect them to put their hands up, saying “damn, you got me!” and offer to be led away? Maybe break down in tears ashamed of what they’ve done, giving the rest of us a hefty dollop of superiority and the feeling of justice being done? Is that realistic? Really?
What do we expect abusers to do? Continue reading “What Do We Expect Abusers To Do?”