In Memory of Allen Wells
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Re: Wives abusing hubands? (was Re: Divorce Post-Mortem)
Fri Feb 22 17:17:54 PST 1991
Article 26268 of soc.men:
>From: allenwe@microsoft.UUCP (Allen WELLS)
Subject: Re: Wives abusing hubands? (was Re: Divorce Post-Mortem)
Date: 15 Feb 91 17:44:59 GMT
References: <70623@microsoft.UUCP> <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: allenwe@microsoft.UUCP (Allen WELLS)
Organization: Microsoft Corp., Redmond WA
In article <JOSEPH.91Feb13131846@odin.albany.edu> email@example.com (Jody
>(The next logical question is
>how common is this? I assume, not very. Especially compared to
>the rate of husbands abusing their wives.)
In the US, the rate of physical abuse of husbands is slightly higher
than the rate of physical abuse of wives. This pattern (for the
most part) seems to hold true in all but one of the countries that
have been studied (in that country, wives were abused about twice as
One of the reasons that the topic of husband battering is so poorly
understood is that research on battered husbands didn't even begin
until about 10 years ago. At that point, some of the researchers on
battered wives started realizing they were only seeing half of the
If you want an excellent overview (with citations from a lot of
studies), see the chapter on Husband Battering in The Handbook of
Family Violence. It not only notes the statistics, but has a
number of quotes from battered husbands and talks some about the
dynamics of the abusive relationship.
To any battered men out there, I repeat my offer. E-mail me and
I'll mail you a copy free. Reading this, understanding what I had
been through, and realizing I wasn't alone was one of the most
valuable parts of my healing process.
>Although I haven't read any kind of text on abusive
>relationships, I think I have a minimal understanding of these
>issues. The question I have is not why anyone would stay in such
>a relationship (Allen seems to me to be a very brave person by
>recognizing the problems early in the marriage and trying VERY
>hard to get out.) The difficulty I have is imagining a situation
>where the MAN is consistantly and/or systematically physically
>abused. (Allen says he experienced "Regular physical abuse over a
>period of 3.5 years") And I have already admitted that the reason
>it is difficult for me is my traditional view of the man as the
>physically stronger, more aggresive of the pair.
Your quote here reads very close to the Guardian ad Leitum's
statements in his final report. He basically was unable to believe
my claims - especially given my 'assertive personality'. The fact
that he didn't believe me on this destroyed my credibility in
everything else I told him.
In reality, this sort of attitude shows that you (no offense) do NOT
have an understanding of what an abusive relationship is like.
Physical abuse and the infliction of pain have little to do with
it. Power and control are what it is about. Domination.
In my case, I began with an inability to strike back. I had strong
moral inhibitions against the use of violence. I've been mugged
before and never struck back. This was even harder. The person who
was attacking me was someone I cared for and someone I felt
responsible for. It never even occurred to me to strike back.
But let me point out that the beatings were only a small part of the
problem. I was also cut off from any meaningful contact with
friends and family (one of the consistent threads in abusive
relationships - this helps the abuser destroy your sense of reality
by getting rid of any 'anchors'), I lost the ability to have any
control over my life (I wasn't even allowed to dress myself - under
thread of violence), and you end up spending all of your time just
trying to hold on to a shread of sanity and keep things from totally
I'm sure there are people who have been abused 'worse' than I was.
I was bruised regularily, but I was only attacked with a deadly
weapon once (a steak knife - I stopped it before she got me with
it). In reality, most of the times I thought my life was in danger
was when she would beat me while I was driving - and she was putting
the lives of herself and my son equally in danger then. To be
honest with you, the verbal and psychological abuse were much
worse. And that's part of the key. She was actually able to
half-convince me that I DESERVED to be treated that way.
After a year and a half of being abused, I finally decided something
had to be done. I was gradually facing her insanity, and realizing
she wasn't sane helped me understand that I was (it was clear that
both of us couldn't be). So - I started restraining her and
slapping her when she beat me. My rationale was that maybe the
reason she was beating me is because I was letting her get away with
it. Not too dissimilar to your understanding, I suspect.
The result was probably predictable to anyone who understands
abusive relationships. She escalated. There is always a line
beyond which any sane person will not go. The abusive mentality
finds that line and crosses it. With me, it was my son. She
started grabbing my son whenever she wanted to beat me. She would
hold him screaming in my face with one hand while she pounded me
with the other. How can you possibly respond to this? (Note: This
isn't just me, either. I posted this once previously, and I got
e-mail from two men who had EXACTLY the same thing happen.)
My final realization came a few weeks later. I had been trying to
keep the conflicts to when Steven was in bed (she would never leave
the room during a conflict - so he was safe then). We had a violent
outburst. As always, I was feeling torn-up and burned out
afterwards - curled up in a corner on the couch crying. She came
over and 'made up' (something that I was always desperate to do
after a fight), she then tried to comfort me. Her holding me was
bad enough, but she started rocking me - while telling me that the
whole thing was my mother's fault. If only my mother hadn't yelled
at me so much as a child, I wouldn't have any problem with her
abusing me. (Of course, there is a germ of truth in this - which is
a common syndrome in abusive relationships - the twisting of the
truth in such a way that reality becomes massively warped.) She
kept repeating this over and over. I tried to get her to stop. I
begged her. She only kept yelling it louder and louder to drown out
my objections. I then tried to get away from her - to run away from
it and get out of the apartment. She just held me tighter and
tighter. I couldn't get away. I finally pushed out as hard as I
could with my feet (I was curled up, remember). The first time this
didn't work - so I tried again harder. This time it worked, but it
launched her off the couch onto the floor. It also bruised her.
Again, the result of this is likely to be obvious to anyone who
understand abusive relationships. She milked this for all it was
worth. She went to the hospital to get it checked out - and made
sure I realized I was damn lucky she wasn't filing charges and was
'covering up' for me. I never saw her body so much in our marriage
as I did in the next few weeks - she never missed a chance to
parade that bruise in front of me. Two days later, she beat me (I
was feeling guilty enough that I didn't even try to restrain her)
and bruised me just as badly. The next time she showed off her
bruise, I countered with mine. She just laughed - that was MY fault
for making her mad. That's when I knew there was nothing I could do.
As to why I didn't leave - the reason was my son. How can you
possibly justify leaving a son with someone so violent and abusive?
I had no delusions that I would be able to get custody. I DID have
a delusion that by staying I could somehow protect my son from the
same abuse that I had been receiving. It took two things before I
was able to file for divorce:
- I had to realize that I was powerless if I stayed, and that
there was nothing I could do to protect my son.
- I got so suicidal that I finally faced up to the fact that
I would be dead in a year anyway, and that wouldn't do my
son any good either.
>Of course not. But isn't it true (as I suggested above) that the
>vast majority of abusive (marriage) relationships cast the man in
>the role of the abuser?
See above. You are simply wrong.
>Is this to suggest that women are as violent as men? If so, I
>don't believe it says anything. Let's compare
>arrests/convictions of men and women for ALL murders committed in
>America. Or all violent crimes.
Domestic violence has nothing to do with non-domestic violence.
Even if so - you are being extremely sexist in your interpretation.
Not only are most non-domestic murders committed by men, but most of
the victims are men as well. I'm tempted to carry the analogy
farther, but it's a worthless argument. They simply aren't the same
There are two violent crimes which (according to FBI statistics)
women dominate as perpetrators. They are infanticide and child
abuse. I don't see how the claim can be made that women don't have
the potential for domestic violence.
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Next article by Allen Wells:
Re: NOW VP wants women in combat
video of violent women
Posted 2006 09 04