Friday, July 12, 2013
People expect life to be fair, for everything to turn out right, for justice to prevail. But, really, for many people there is NO SUCH THING.
In years past men had the power to commit ‘their women’ to institutions for life with such ease that it is shocking. Men used to have the power to tell the doctor what his wife’s medical care would be; whether she would have her female organs taken out etc. If a woman became disabled in any way she was shipped off to an institution quicker that you can say, “What the ---?”
Even now people are STILL expecting life to be fair, for everything to turn out right, for justice to prevail. But, really, for many people there is STILL NO SUCH THING. There are many, many women in situations or marriages they cannot get out of, especially if they have kids or a disability. But when it comes to disability this injustice doesn’t just hit women. I have known women who put their husbands that have serious health issues or disabilities, into nursing homes and then quickly divorce their husbands so that they can avoid the hardships and expenses that comes along with those issues.
People now really expect that a woman in a bad situation can just sue in divorce court for her needs to be taken care of, for her to have health insurance etc., but when reality comes for those women, they often find themselves out in the cold, with no real funds, no housing, and if she has serious health problems her husband may just slam her into a nursing home and divorce her. Even if she is healthy enough to avoid the nursing home, there is no surety that a man will have to pay health insurance, life insurance in case something happens to him so she would have funds, pay enough alimony or whatever for her to subsist on. People who espouse these (ideals) don’t really have clue of what reality is going to hit some of these women in these situations, if they listen to the advice they are being given, and have any trust that the system will do them right. Cause more than likely those women who listen to the advice and act accordingly, are going to find themselves in a ‘real world of hurt’ when the real facts of life hit them like a ton of bricks; when they find out that, as the saying goes, “You can’t bleed a turnip.”, and they find - after they left the home - that they can’t get any real funds to survive on, there is no subsidized housing to be found, etc. And, then what? If a woman leaves ‘before having all those ducks in a row’, and THEN LEARNS that the justice system isn’t going to give her any justice, that the courts aren’t awarding her a fair settlement, that there is no housing anywhere that she can afford, then what?
And, if you have serious health issues: what if, when your husband learns you are making some kind of plans to leave, and he slams a divorce through and you are forced into a nursing home? Are you ready for that?
Sure it’s the real pits to be in a no-win situation. Everybody thinks ‘fair’ and ‘just’ wins out. But, I have seen over and over and over, that it doesn’t. That even today, women usually get the very short end of the stick when dealing with men, doctors, the legal system, and the courts. Men still have power women just don’t have when it comes down to tough situations, UNLESS a woman has a well-paying job, money of her own, her own wheels, ability to be independent, physically able to take care of herself etc, so that she isn’t really at the mercy of a system that is NOT fair or just. If she doesn’t have these ASSETS of her own, then she will be at the mercy of her husbands behavior, the courts, the social workers, and possibly even be put into a nursing home.
This is what I have seen:
~~ Life is not fair.
~~ Life does not equally dole out justice.
~~ Power is given to those with power, and power is taken away from those already powerless.
~~ Money is given to those with money, and those without money usually become poorer.
~~ ‘The system’ and those in power cannot be trusted to give justice or to not abuse their power.
I have never actually known a woman who got out of an abusive situation. I’m not saying it can’t be done. A Few people have contacted me online to let me know “they got out”, so I know it does happen. But, in ‘real life’ I have never seen any woman get out.
I come from a very long family history of extremely abused women. Some tried to escape, but the police did not intervene to stop their husbands when terrible things happened, and the women were forced to return to the marriages, and no matter how horrible the behaviors, the husbands never spent time in jail. Even the parole officer of the city I grew up in, was extremely abusive to his wife and children. She never succeeded in escaping either.
I escaped my first 2 abusive marriages. The first one I ran with only a paper bag of clothing. The second he knew I was leaving, but I left with only enough funds for first month rent and groceries, and he let me ‘borrow‘ the car for 3 months. And, I had a two year old daughter at the time - his daughter, who I never even got any child support for. My 3rd marriage I have never escaped from, and really see no 'real' hope of that ever happening. But I have made great progress in changing the dynamics and starting setting up a different life for myself. And I have my own finances, but at poverty level.
In my life I have seen nothing to encourage me of successful escape. The 2 directors that have ran the Women’s Abuse Shelter here are themselves in very abusive marriages. One tried to escape. She literally ran away, leaving her young son behind with plans to get a court order for custody. But, her husband is a VERY powerful man in town, and he told her she would never see her son again unless she came back to him. She did, had another son with him, eventually ran the Abuse Shelter for years, and then went into total isolation and became totally reclusive, leaving her home rarely. Her health is destroyed, as I am sure her soul is. The successor of her to run the Abuse Shelter, is also very abused, but she has never attempted to leave and won’t ever even try to leave.
Another woman I know is a professional woman who has been, and still is being, extremely abused her whole marriage, & she's now well into her 70's. She certainly had her own money to leave on all during her marriage, but she never did. First she said, “When the kids got into school she would leave.“ Then she said, “When the kids all graduated she would leave.“ She never did, for whatever reason. I think a woman just gets so bogged down in this 'lifestyle' that she simply is 'broken down' and doesn't see any other life. She did make a life for herself outside the home with her nursing career, but her feelings are dead and numb.
Another woman I knew who was severely abused, developed cancer and died in I think her 50’s. She never tried to leave.
A doctors wife here tried to leave many, many years ago, but he held her hostage by gun for 3 days while the cops here tried to get him to release her. He only released her when she promised not to leave him again. The cops here did not charge the doctor with anything at all, just told him “that was not acceptable behavior“ (just like they told my husband). The woman stayed with him, and they moved to the city, where 15 years after the first time, she left him again. He held her hostage again, she survived, the police there did arrest him; he spent a few days in jail and lost his medical privileges for 6 months. No other consequences at all! (No fairness there! Unless you count the high alimony she got as an ex doctors wife.)
The local vet here I am sure is also abused, as she quite often has black eyes. She always says, “She was kicked by a cow.” but I really never knew that cows had the ability to always remove a persons glasses before kicking the person. (sarcasm) Cause I've even asked her "If her glasses got broke or bent up", and she always says, "No. No damage at all". Geez! Those are some really talented cows! (sarcasm)
Oh, I remember, I (did) know a woman who escaped. She told her abusive husband, “when the last child left, she too was leaving”. And, she did (1973). She got NO SETTLEMENT at all! She lived by supporting herself with a 30 hour a week minimum wage job, with NO health insurance. I don’t know what she did when she had health problems, as welfare does not help people pay medical bills if the person is not disabled or has small children. She was just over 60 when she left (cause he had kept getting her pregnant into her early 40’s so she couldn’t leave).
And, I do know a woman here who got out ONLY due to being kicked out when he moved his girlfriend in. She too ended up divorced from him, and go absolutely NO settlement, health insurance or anything except her personal belongings and one of the cars. And, enough money for a couple months rent and food. (No fairness there.) She was a total mental wreck when she came to town - and the towns people turned against her due to her mental state. She has since come along pretty good over the last several years, but people's initial judgement of her still stands. She trusts no-one, confides in no-one, has no friends or social life, and does nothing but work (60+ hours a week in her late sixties). That is how she copes, and tries to build herself up financially, so hopefully someday she can actually retire. (Her husband retired right after he kicked her out. He is living good.)
SO, in ‘real life’ I have only ever seen that one abused woman escape. In the dozens of abused women and children I have seen, I have not seen any others successfully escape/leave, and I have never seen the police, social services, court system, or legal system give any of these women and children justice. The system is broken!
I think a woman can only leave if she has the ability to depend on (no-one but herself), and has the funds or means to do it alone, or by sheer tenacity. For most abused women, their 'tenacity' is taken out of them if they have been very long at all in the marriage.
If not one, but TWO directors of Abused Women Shelters - women who know the system, who knows what options are out there for women - cannot put their trust in that system enough to leave their abusive marriages, what message does that give us women who are relying on those directors of The Abused Women Shelters for guidance and help getting out. To my mind, if they of all people can’t get out, that doesn’t engender much, if any, trust and hope in me.
So, I will NOT trust anyone in the system; I will not trust cops (which they have proven extremely untrustworthy here); I do not trust the courts (as they have already demonstrated unfair balance to women); I certainly don’t trust social workers (since they did not protect me as a child of severe abuse, and they 'did' try to commit me to a nursing home for leaving my burner on ONE TIME 13 years ago - with nothing even on top of it) (Geez! How many of the general population would be placed in the nursing home for leaving their burners on if that is the basis for instituting someone?); I do not trust that my current therapist won’t try that too, as in my last appointment she strongly implied that (all for the likes of power and control).
No. I will stay here while I create a life outside this house. When and if I do succeed in putting together the steps to move, I will cut all ties with anyone who has the power to negatively effect my life. I will probably become a person with quite a few ‘walls’. I do that already (in this town) pretty much, except for here on SP. SP is my release. If I move it will be far from here, so I can put all the people behind me from this town.
I am not saying that I am willingly staying in this situation. I am REMAKING this situation to fit me, until and when I can succeed out there. And, then to self-protect I will be very wary with people, and keep my walls up, and play my cards 'close to my vest'.
With Chuck, I am going to run a balance between ‘keeping the peace’ and ‘rocking the boat’ (doing what applies best in each situation and at each time, to best suit what is necessary for ME to not be bullied and to have a life). I'm really strongly and assertively determined to learn to ‘stand on my own’ here.
I begrudgingly ‘accept’ that the system is unfair and gives no justice, and that things often don’t turn out right for those without funds and power. So from here on out, my whole goal is to take care of ME. I trust no one any more.