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.