How often do we see domestic disputes play out in front of us?
By definition, domestic violence occurs in the home. Thus, unless we are around that type of environment, then we may not see it much of it at all. So, what happens if you’re in public and you see a physical relationship fight? What do you do? I’ll tell you what I did.
I justified it.
How sickening, right? Yes, I agree with you. When I look back on the situation, I justified a man’s actions because his ex-girlfriend was more than a handful. That doesn’t make it right, but that’s how I assessed the situation. Before I analyze the situation, let me give you the story.
When I was in college, I was with my best friend and her boyfriend for a night out. It was our usual scene. The same music, place (at the time), and friends. So, it was shaping up to be a good night. The boyfriend had a baby in a prior relationship, and the mom happened to be there as well. This is where things get interesting. The baby momma (BM) was that outrageously annoying woman who would cause a scene quicker than a screaming toddler in Wal-Mart. She’s the one that is loud, brash, and bold enough to put you on blast in front of everyone.
Yup, she’s that woman.
I didn’t know the entire situation between the boyfriend and his baby momma. Frankly, it was none of my business. I just knew she was a box of drama waiting to happen, and my best friend had to deal her nonsense. As such, I automatically had mixed feelings about the BM. It wouldn’t take much for me to completely dismiss her, and on this night, I got to see her in action. As the night progressed, something sparked the BM’s ire and she proceeded to let her ex know all about it. I was standing near the dance floor, and the music was blaring. I turned around to see the boyfriend storm through the door with the BM right on his heels. It was clear the conversation was over for him, but she was not nearly finished. And she was giving it to him. What happened next surprised me. The boyfriend turned around, got in the BM’s face, and launched her to the floor. When I say launched, I mean a full-force pre guy fight shove.
And she went flying!
My initial reaction was one of disbelief. My mother, grandmother, and grandfather had always taught me it’s never okay to lay hands on a woman. I had a sinking feeling in my stomach because I knew what had witnessed was wrong. It was flat out wrong. Yet, I didn’t say anything. I didn’t move. I just stood there watching it all play out. They took the argument to another room where the boyfriend punched a hole in the wall. I asked my best friend if everything was okay. She gave me a rushed answer and went to go check on her boyfriend.
It’s amazing how many thoughts ran through my mind in the span of two minutes. Hopping in meant a fist fight with my BF’s boyfriend. I didn’t want to insert myself in the fray. So, I stood there with my thoughts racing trying to process the events. The more I thought about it, the more I began to see his side of things. Here we have this woman who is bound and determined she is going to get her baby daddy’s (BD) attention. She’s nagging him. Following him. She just won’t leave him alone. It feels like she’s stalking him. She hangs onto his car when he tries to drive away. She incessantly calls his phone. She set up a fake MySpace profile to mess with his current girlfriend (my best friend). Every chance he takes to walk away is thwarted because she just keeps coming. Fed up, he let his emotions build and they exploded. Nothing would have happened if she left him alone. That’s how I justified it. It’s funny how it’s the “victim’s fault” until it happens to someone you love.
Then, the story changes.
Fast forward some months to a year, and I found myself with an uncomfortable feeling about this guy. Something just wasn’t right. He was eerily moody about little things. This was a departure from what I knew to be the norm. He was usually pretty friendly when we saw each other out. Then, my best friend began changing as well. We would still laugh, but she wasn’t free. She had a little less joy in her voice. She was herself, but she wasn’t herself. What was going on? Little did I know the same guy who shoved his ex in public was now assaulting my best friend.
This made my blood boil! How dare he disrespect my BF?! What kind of man is he? Do I need to come whip him? Doesn’t he know he shouldn’t physically assault a woman?! No, because he did it before. And I ignored what was clearly before my eyes.
He’s an abusive guy, and I chose not to see it.
Seeing these situations and understanding relationship violence is unacceptable should be common sense. However, I’m finding more people are justifying misguided actions instead of speaking up for what’s right. Proper assessment of situations has become ingrained in American culture. We analyze, over analyze, and under analyze situations to fit our beliefs. We dismiss the facts in favor of “our truths” which leaves us missing out on the truth. The night he pushed his BM, this guy showed his true colors. Instead of realizing this, I blamed the BM because her personality made it easy to excuse his actions.
Shame on me.
Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. These girls were being abused, and that’s not right. My best friend, who admittedly has a mouth on her and then some, did not deserve to be treated that way. Neither did the BM. Both of them did not deserve to be pushed, shoved, punched, or choked. They did not deserve to be degraded. To be stripped of their dignity. To be publicly made to feel inferior. To lose their self-worth. To wonder what they could have done differently. They didn’t deserve it, and there’s no justification in the world for it.
His actions were not their fault.
Hindsight is 20/20. Even on matters where right and wrong should be cut and dry. I’ll look back on these situations and use them as a learning experience. Now, even if it’s blatant, I know what to look for in an abusive relationship. The sad fact is, I knew what to look for when I was 22. I saw the warning signs.
I just chose to ignore them.