Don’t You LOVE When Things are Black & White?

There are so few things in this world that are so completely cut-and-dried as domestic violence = WRONG.  But over at the Brazen Careerist, queen of TMI (she once live-tweeted a miscarriage and talked about checking her cervical mucus during a job interview) Penelope Trunk has added domestic-violence apologist and victim-blamer to her resume.  In her latest post about the immaturity and selfishness of those that choose divorce, she jaw-droppingly equates divorce with mental illness and for those that choose this path due to domestic violence she posits that they just suck at drawing boundaries because it “takes two people to fight.”  Scoop your jaw off the floor because the worst thing about this is the fact that she has admitted, and has blogged extensively about being the victim of physical and emotional domestic violence in her own marriage, even going so far as posting images of her bruising at the hands of her husband.

“I am at a hotel. I think I’m dying. I have a bruise from where the Farmer slammed me into our bed post…The Farmer told me that he will not beat me up any more if I do not make him stay up late talking to me.”

I think that her premise, that divorce is too often entered into for reasons that are perhaps capricious and that people don’t work hard enough at making their marriages work, has a lot of merit.  My parents’ divorce is a shining example of this.  There was no “good” reason that it couldn’t have worked out except the two of them were miserable and refused to really work at it.  I admit, there are times, even though they are both much happier than they were while married, that I secretly judge them for divorcing.  There were no special needs children.  No homelessness or joblessness.  No illnesses to overcome.  No overt abuse.  Staying together for the kids only works if you do it happily and willingly.  Hanging on in silent but obvious misery until most of your kids are out of the house however, is not.  For situations like this, I fully understand why one might not be willing to give the parties a “free pass.”

However, it is inconceivable to me that someone like Penelope, who is in such a dire situation, who almost nobody would fault for ending the relationship, instead digs in ever harder and doubles down by calling the rest of us that bailed on abusive marriages selfish, immature, mentally ill, child-destroying shit-disturbers that are at least 50/50 to blame for our own abuse.  What her husband did to her was wrong.  I don’t care if she spit on him, called his mother a whore and set fire all his worldly possessions.  I don’t care if she is an impossible nag, or won’t put out, or calls him names.  There is absolutely NO GOOD REASON TO HIT YOUR SPOUSE.  Full stop. That’s it.  Period.  End of discussion.  Lest you think I am only talking about man on lady violence, this declaration is gender-less.  There are plenty of men out there that are hit, struck and abused by their wives.  That is so NOT ok either!  (This is a whole other blog post, but I almost feel WORSE for men that are victims of domestic violence because of the shame surrounding them from a cultural perspective).

I understand the need the people have to justify whatever fucked-up situation they are in.  I know because I myself was a domestic-violence apologist and a victim-blamer.  Now I can’t get into the psychology of why Penelope Trunk not only allows herself to be abused but also defends her abuser, assigns the blame for the abuse on herself and subsequently slams anyone that chooses to leave their abuser.  I’m sure it has something to do with her childhood of heartbreaking, breathtaking sexual abuse.  However, the fact remains that it is 100% OK to divorce an abusive spouse.  Black and White.  No apologies necessary.


13 responses to “Don’t You LOVE When Things are Black & White?

  • Lisa Summerlin

    Wow, read a some of her stuff and had to stop. Not getting her at all. How can she post pictures of bruises given to her by her husband and then say that is her fault? Did I read that correctly? Wow. Having been in abusive relationships myself I can say that anyone who abuses their spouse/partner is sick and needs help. I disagree with her that it’s her fault and it saddens me she feels that way.

    • The Reluctant Monogamist

      I used to really, REALLY love reading her blog and this just made me so frustrated and sad. She’s always been a controversial figure, but there is a time to disagree and there is a time to shout WRONG. This is one of those times. Those 2 little boys of hers are being damaged more than she can ever imagine, far more than they would be by a divorce.

      • Lisa Summerlin

        That part is hardest for me to understand. Why she can’t, doesn’t, or just won’t see what this is doing to her kids. Agree with you – there is a time for disagreement and a time to call wrong and this is just plain wrong. Very sad.

  • Confessions of a Single Blonde

    I can’t believe her blog is real. I can’t fathom that someone could actually think that way. I can’t understand how she thinks staying with that insecure fucktard is OK for her children. She’s going to end up left for dead. It’s really sad and no one will ever make her see how her situation is so wrong. In one article she said that divorce is never good for children. As someone who had an abusive father, when my mom told me that her and my dad were divorcing when I was 7, it made me the happies kid alive. I didn’t have to live with that monster any more. How can no one get that?

  • Chris Sheridan

    Wow… Glad that you made your statement that domestic violence is WRONG, with no valid excuses for it ever, and that it is 100% OK to divorce an abusive spouse. Your message needs to be heard to counteract the incredibly wrong message that this misguided and self destructive victim is broadcasting out to others in situations similar to her own. Following her advice is what can get people killed. How tragically and pathetically sad.

  • benzeknees

    I ended my first marriage BECAUSE I did not want my daughter growing up thinking what she was seeing from her father & me was what a marriage looked like. There was no overt abuse, my husband didn’t hit me, but there was a lot of psychological abuse in that he would go days & weeks without saying a single word to me. I tried everything in my power to make my marriage work, but when I thought of the effect our modeling would have on my 7 year old daughter, I needed to end it.
    I also ened a long term relationship with a man I was very much in love with between my first & second marriages. I ended this relationship immediately the first time my lover hit me. No one but me knew he had done it, but I knew & I knew it was wrong. I also knew if he hit me once he would do it again.
    My sister stayed in an abusive marriage because she did not have the strength to get out with her 3 small boys. The damage this has done to her & her boys is immeasurable. They have a long recovery ahead of them.

  • Cadence Harper

    AMEN sister.. Even reading about Penelope’s blog was hard. Sad she feels she is to blame & stays.. In my opinion, she is teaching her children that spousal abuse is acceptable. She is probably teaching them just what she was taught all her life. This is exactly what perpetuates spousal abuse in our society. What I can’t fathom is how she can continue to deny the deep inner feeling that HE IS WRONG. It’s got to be there deep down inside.

  • Summer

    She seems so brainwashed.
    What’s sad is that her children are seeing the violence. It’s not uncommon for children of domestic violence to turn out to be abusers themselves. She’s doing so much more harm by staying in an abusive relationship.

  • CatAlyst

    I actually know two women who are in relationships with abusive men. One is physically abused, tries to hide it, and never talks about it. I believe she stays because she doesn’t believe any other man could love her due to suffering from Bell’s Palsy.

    The other is married to a man who cheats on her repeatedly. He even impregnated a young woman at least half his age while his own wife was pregnant and the babies were born within months of each other. She always blames herself for his infidelity.

    My first husband was abusive and I left him when my daughters were ages three and four. I had no job, no car, and had to live with my mother… but I did have self-respect and I knew I didn’t deserve to waste any more of my time in a loveless, abusive relationship.

    I think the women who stay are either terrified of leaving (because they might not be able to support themselves) or they lack any sense of self-worth. This whole, “Women should stay in an abusive marriage and fall back in love with their husbands,” BS is infuriating. I’m going to force myself to stop writing now. This is an issue on which I feel very passionate. Enough said.

  • Jason

    I just wanted to add something to the discussion. I notice in the first comment it says “Anyone who abuses their spouse / partner is sick and needs help.” I don’t mean to criticise the person who wrote this at all, but I just wanted to point out that there is usually a big difference between violent / aggressive behaviour and mental illness. Assuming that a violent person is mentally ill is a myth which causes a lot of people to have misplaced sympathy for abusers. ‘They can’t help it, they have problems.’ etc.

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