This is not satire. This is not parody. This is not a joke or a literary gimmick. This is for real.
A recent post on Facebook by the prime minister’s press secretary ostensibly aimed to discuss domestic violence and turned into a kind of organized Facebook political assassination of a known terrorist.
It was sad to see domestic violence become a victim once again, this time, not in the household, but in the political arena.
I had hoped that the abuser in question would face down the specific allegations honestly, sub-textually daring the rest of the men on the post to deny that they are any different than him. He didn’t. He scored some political points, took some political hits (including what might be a death blow) and totally avoided the question of his abusive behavior when confronted by his peers.
Unfortunately, I had not forgotten Jada Jn.Pierre’s original challenge to have an honest discussion of domestic violence. With her intended target on the run, I picked up his blindfold and stand now before the firing squad.
If you’re looking for a guy who beat his wife, you found him. It’s me. I am guilty of what you accuse Amatus Edwards of. The details might be different, but in substance, we are the same. Domestic violence is not just the doing of deranged heavy drinkers with penis issues. Sometimes, it’s nice guys you would never expect it from. Sometimes, it’s someone you hoped would know better.
Most importantly, in this article, sometimes, when you heard your neighbor screaming as her husband abused her…sometimes, it was me.
Before you shoot me, I want to make a true statement. This is not some kind of allegory. Everything that follows is an actual fact.
DAYS OF THE DOG: 2000 WORDS OF PAIN
I’m trying to be a lion. I was raised as a lion. But somewhere along the way in my life, I became a dog.
I will waste no words on the reasons or excuses for my actions. The story begins where MY violence begins...
THE BROKEN GLASS: She held the thick glass mug her hands just above her head. I wrestled it out of her hands easily and smashed it violently on the floor near her feet. It was my first taste of violence. She pretended to be strong, but it shocked her. I was not angry and shouting. I was calm as the early morning sea. I had never tasted violence like this. Violence without fear.
I didn’t think it then, but with hindsight, it was the first time I began to understand the addiction of violence that grips psychos and gangsters and cops and soldiers and…but I’m diverting attention from myself. As she walked away silently to the baby in the bedroom, I picked up the shards on the floor, retrieved the torn and crumpled novel she gave me for my birthday and resumed reading.
THE BEER BOTTLE AND THE FLOOR: She sat at the computer, opening files of St Lucian girls who had taken their clothes off, some of them specifically for me. Very recent pictures. She grabbed the beer bottle by the side of the computer and small part of me thought, “Oh man, the one beer you drink all year is going to burst your head. This is why people put things away before they go to bed.” The rest of me grabbed her hand and dis-lodged the bottle. It fell to the floor as I grabbed her by her neck and dragged her from the bedroom into the living room, explaining all the legitimate reasons why I was going to do something wrong. We weren’t together anymore. She didn’t live here. She had humiliated me with violence enough. I wasn’t her bwa. I was tired of being a pussyhole. Blah, blah, blah. I could see myself, as though I was watching myself, panicking and helpless at what could happen next. But I was also powerful and domineering, asserting myself in a way I never had in any relationship. I threw her to the floor, thinking, “She’s a lot lighter now than when we have sex.” Then, as she cowered, screaming for help or attention or whatever, I sat on her chest, straddling her and choked her with one hand as I slapped her with the other. I slapped her hard enough that my hand hurt. But I didn’t stop slapping her. I cursed and spat and strangled, watching the veins around my eyes rage in the reflection of her eyes.
Watching myself commit these crimes from above myself, something screamed, “Jason, WTF, Rasta? You were not raised like this. What will Aunty Martha say when she hears about this? Aunty Cynthia? Aunty Julita? Women who raised you. Women who could never be hit by a man. Jason. Jason!”
But she was screaming and I was cursing and the floor was wooden, reverberating with the fighting, so I could hear myself trying to stop myself. I can’t remember why I stopped. I think I realized that I had what it took to kill her. And it wasn’t that I didn’t want to kill her. I just didn’t want my son to grow up without his mother. When I got off her, I threw her shoes outside. I threw the bag. I grabbed her from the floor and dragged her to balcony and down the steps to ensure that she did not remain sobbing within my range.
You see, I was filled with rage, my voice was an insensible growl, my blood filled with strength I never knew before, my emotions like horses stampeding out of control. But somehow I had not lost control. I was not crazy. I was still in my right mind. Which means that every time I hit her, I chose to do it.
I could have thrown her out from the beginning. But I wanted to beat the shit out of her. It didn’t feel good afterward. But it felt good at the time my hands were constricting her trachea. It felt good when I tossed her like a rag doll. I like I experienced something about ‘being a man’ that I never knew before. I felt like I was showing her something about me that she had not taken account of needed to know.
Somehow, in the midst of being the worst version of myself I have ever been, I felt like I was right. I felt like I was both the victim and the goddamn hero.
THE PHONE AND THE FLOOR: She was living with my mother and I spent the night because she and I were going to lose something important the next day. In the early morning, I got a call. To save money, I made the person call the landline. She came at me with a pair of scissors. I grabbed her wrist so that the scissors were disabled and tripped her so she fell backwards. I straddled her and holding her neck, I banged her head into the floor. I didn’t use all my strength because I didn’t want to wake up the baby. The baby woke up anyway. I didn’t soothe him. I left them both alone to lose that something valuable by themselves as I comforted myself in somebody’s daughter’s vagina. I realize now that she was trying to cut the phone line. She wasn’t trying to attack me at all.
THE WET DIAPER AND THE FLOOR: This is after the wedding and before the second baby. I was in bed. She in was in my phone. She threw a wet diaper at me and it hurt a hell of a lot. It hurt for weeks on that side of my face. But it wasn’t the pain that sparked me off. It was that she was accusing and punishing me unjustly. I grabbed the wet diaper and flung it at her. She dodged, but that was part of my wicked plan. As she dodged, I lunged forward and braced her on the wall. My hands were at her neck again. I head butted her a few times while whispering what I was saying very calmly. She screamed as I threw her to the floor. In my mind, I was already slapping the shit out of her. My two-year-old son took hand and said, “Ok, Papa, calm down. Let’s go inna room.” My son had never spoken a complete sentence before that. He wouldn’t even put two words together unless it was absolutely necessary. The first sentence my son spoke was to stop me from beating his mother.
THE MOST UNPROVOKED VIOLENCE: I was angry with her about something else, but I hadn’t told her what it was or that I was furious inside. When she accused me of exactly what I knew she was guilty of, I flipped out and left the living room, went to the kitchen, put her down on the ground and started hurting her. I wasn’t using punches or slaps or choking. I was pinning her down and hurting her with the pressure. I remember that after weeks, even months, of being repulsed by her, I was suddenly aroused.
Disgusted by my own perverse, rapist erection, I relented. I stopped. She was still pregnant with my daughter. I wanted to hurt her, but I didn’t want to hurt my daughter. But…I wanted to hurt her. I wanted to hurt her for what I thought she did to me. Sometimes, I think I still do. Sometimes, I still have violent fantasies involving real people for no good reason. I am consoled only by the fact I am far more interested in pain and death than in sex. Imagine that.
THE REVERSE SLAP: For some reason, there was a time when she had taken a preference to slapping. Having had a conversation with myself about the rewards of turning the other cheek, I resolved to walk away. I was scaring myself. And while this demonic side of me was growing, I was also finding out that I’m not a bad father at all. The good guy in me had the best reason to live. To not hurt others. One day, I came up with a slightly different strategy. When she slapped me, I grabbed her hands and started slapping my face violently with them. It soon got to the point where her hands hurt far more than my face. She closed her fists, but that was a mistake. I started punching my face with her fists. I think I was hoping to break her fingers or something. I told her that when she is telling people I hit her, to describe to them how I broke her hands with my face. So much for the good guy.
THE PHONE, THE SLAP AND THE OTHER SLAP: I tried to take the phone away from her but she grabbed it in a way that accidentally broke my finger. I didn’t hit her then, but she went outside and made our argument very public, including saying some truly scary things about me. Inside, we fought and I slapped her so hard, it stopped time for a moment. I picked up my son and walked out of the house. She came to the balcony, as the neighbors gathered, screaming, “That’s how you’re treating me. You’re punching me! You’re punching your child mother!” I turned back to her and said loud enough for everyone to hear, “I didn’t punch you, I slapped you. Like this.” And I slapped her so hard, it stopped time again. While she and the neighbors stood paralyzed, I said, “Want to see it again.” Pow. I slapped her again and walked away with my son. As I walked away, I felt somehow vindicated. I don’t know from what. I had just demonstrated to my neighbors that I was a wife-beater. Lucky for me, I live in a place where no one cares. That day, my son didn’t talk very much. We just kinda limed around in silence.
There were other incidents of violence, some quite public, but as these are not stories of MY violence, I don’t feel like those are my stories to tell. I don’t consider myself a victim and so while the memory of those incidents fill me with shame and hurt, I don’t consider them relevant to the discussion of the violence of the male abuser.
I meant to analyze this stuff a little bit more. I have some principles I learnt from the entire experience that I want to share. But I’m exhausted from remembering this stuff.
Being a wife-beater must be like being a drug-addict, where no matter how long it’s been since you last did it, what matters most is that you now know you are the kind of person who does that.
I can never again be that loveable, innocent boy who never abused a woman. I can never look at a public service announcement about domestic violence without thinking, “They’re talking about me.”
Perhaps because I was not convicted of anything, I will probably never really be free of the guilt…
All I have left in this moment is to be a man about it and admit that pretty much everything said about Amatus Edwards is true about me.
And because I didn’t think I was even capable of this, now, sometimes, I think maybe I’m capable of worse than that.
Telling this story did not make me feel better and I don’t know if it will do anyone any good. I don’t know if other men will identify with this or if it’s just who is this sick inside.
But you know what?
This is my small contribution to the ‘Honest Debate on Domestic Violence’ started on Facebook by Jada Jn.Pierre. This is what I know firsthand. Statute of limitations be damned.
Let the chips fall where they may.