A few days ago, a friend of mine posted this. Very well said.
It also got me thinking.
Especially after looking at all the pictures of myself as a nineteen year old...
I was married to a man who honestly believed he was kind and loving and good to me. He completely believed it when he told me, "No man will treat you as good as I treat you." and, "No one will be able to love you like I love you." and even, "No one will be as kind to you with sex as I am. You sure are lucky you have me and not someone else."
These things from the man that was violent during "sex" on day one. I spent my wedding night sobbing in the bathroom while he ranted and raved about how stupid and selfish I was:
"A man NEEDED sex, and I was his WIFE."And when I came back to bed, because I didn't have anywhere else to go, he did it again.
These things from the man that also buried my face with a pillow during "sex". These things from a man who told me it was my fault he had to get violent, if I would just give him what he wanted, he wouldn't have to take it. These things from a man who threatened my (then twelve year old) sister because I was crying. These things from a man that also made disparaging remarks about my body. My body was fat, unattractive, vile, and disgusting to him. He was embarrassed for me to be seen in public in a bathing suit. (Might I add, I have never EVER been fat. I've struggled to keep my weight up, not the other way around.) He'd say these things before, during, and after forcing himself on and in me. These things from a man that if I didn't just lay there and let him do what he wanted, he became violent: He got sex when he wanted it and never even ASKED what I wanted, or if I wanted. Not once were my desires, wants, or preferences EVER taken into account. It was always about him. I was nothing abut a possession to gratify him... And he thought I was lucky to have someone as kind as him.
Abusers are known for saying things like what Larry said to me. I used to think they said those things as a means to control... but after reading this blog post and observing other abusers... They don't say those things to control - they honestly believe they are normal. They fully and completely believe that anyone in their situation would do what they are doing. They really do believe they are kind and wonderful and their spouse is lucky to have them. Unfortunately, I believed Larry, so when he said those things he DID control me. I believed I would never find anyone better, so I never left, and I kept right on letting him rape me. Every night. Sometimes more than once a night. For two years.
A quote from "To all those men"
"A lot of people accuse feminists of thinking that all men are rapists. That’s not true. But do you know who think all men are rapists?
They really do. In psychological study, the profiling, the studies, it comes out again and again. Virtually all rapists genuinely believe that all men rape."Rapists believe that all men rape. Only, they don't even think about it that much. They don't see what they are doing is rape. It is the same with all forms of abuse. Abusers believe that anyone in their situation would do what they are doing. They really, truly, honestly think that everyone else thinks and acts the way they do. Some just hide it better. They think hitting their spouse is completely justified. They believe hateful speech is okay, because (fill in the blank here. Some way to blame the other person. Or to justify what they do.) Some even believe they are being helpful.
Prairienymph wrote a blogpost a while ago: Rapists are not Monsters. Believing that only monsters are rapists, or that you can tell who is a rapist because they are "bad people" just isn't true. I married one. I know. I loved him. He treated most people with kindness; he was incredibly charismatic; everyone else loved him too.
I have long wondered why it couldn’t be like in the movies: Bad guys are ALL bad, and good guys are ALL good. The world would be far less confusing, but it isn't that way. By trying to classify abusers as "bad" and victims as "good", everyone gets hurt. I knew Larry was not a bad guy, so obviously, he wasn't abusing me. (WRONG!) I knew I wasn't good or perfect, so obviously, I had no room to complain. (WRONG AGAIN!)
There's a lot of emotion inside me as I write this, and I wish I was calmer so I could say it better...
Very few people set out to completely destroy the people they love, AND sometimes, in their fear, jealousy, ignorance, self-righteousness, self-centeredness, or whatever else is going on inside their heads, they still do. And most, keep right on thinking they are "normal", which means they keep on doing and saying things that really hurt the people they "love".
To most people who would rape another person, talking about it will do NO good. They believe everyone is like them, so even if you speak out against rape and abuse, they won't believe you. Deep down they know what you are REALLY thinking, REALLY feeling... and that is one of the things that make rape possible. They convince themselves that they know what the woman really wants, really needs, so even if she is crying and screaming and trying to get away, they won't even notice. They will just keep right on going, and never even see that there is a person in front of them in a lot of pain.
Larry thought he was doing me a favor. Larry thought all men would treat me like he did or worse. Larry thought I would be miserable without him. He was wrong. OH SO VERY WRONG. I am so grateful for that. SO SO SO grateful. I'm so glad that I found the courage to get out (still don't know how I was able to do that), and discover that he didn't know what he thought he knew.