The Shame of It
Within a general society that sees itself as socially advanced, moderate in social and political outlook, well attuned to respecting cultural and traditional differences, accepting of minorities and immigrants, how is it that the fundamental protection of the most vulnerable is so often imperilled? Where the necessities of life are available to everyone, and the kind of poverty that kills the spirit is absent, why do we fail one another in personal relationships?
What can be more fundamental than the dynamic of mutual attraction between a man and a woman? From that springs the potential for love, for accommodation of one another's personality traits and characteristics, leading inevitably to forming a close emotional bond and ultimately the production of a family.
Yet in the greater society which is Canada's an incredible proportion of marriages fail. Perhaps indicative of a society that is attuned to the individual, where the individual sees his or her personal wishes paramount. Unwilling or unable through the loose acceptance of the individual's needs and aspirations prevailing above the interests of a tandem where warm conciliation has its place.
That in and of itself is a failure. All the more so when the give-and-take, the patience, the caring tolerance and love for one another is incapable of surmounting the emotion of self-entitlements. With the failure of marriages comes the failure of children to know the security and emotional attachment of two parents, mother and father. The result, too often, of scarred psyches, children incapable of surmounting the trauma of parental loss.
If that is a failure, far worse is the dysfunctionality of character that leads some men to believe that differences can be solved by force. That through brute force an order can be established that cannot question his authority and his control. Not understanding that authority has been lost when control over emotions leads to the oppressiveness of physical violence.
And then society reads newspaper stories about women having been murdered by their husbands in a rage of emotional distemper. Social service agencies called upon to take in these children abandoned by fate to a parentless upbringing.
Over one hundred thousand Canadian women and children left their homes in the past year to escape from an abusive relationship. What on Earth did women and children do to help themselves before the compassionate advent of shelters for the abused? Well, one might imagine a lifetime of despair, with children growing to functional immaturity through an inability to resolve emotional disputes.
The younger generation patterning itself on the witnessed behaviour of a dysfunctional family. And while women are capable of driving men to distraction through verbal and behavioural acts of aggression, it is, by and large, men who drive women to desperation through verbal and behavioural acts of aggression far beyond anything most women could or would resort to.
The simple matter of gender differences in physical strength making that not only apparent but very real in outcome.
Is there an identifiable type of person who can be recognized for a propensity to physical violence against women? A controlling male, insisting that there is one disciplinarian, one authority in the family, and it is not an equal partnership, but an oppressive one with no room for gentle civility. Abusers come from all walks of life, from the bottom rung and the poorly educated to the professionally-schooled, the political and social elite.
That these abusers represent a very small proportion of men on the whole is a truth, but one that fails to resonate with the victims of men's violence.
Women are often obliquely blamed for the predicament they find themselves in, with the revelation after a period of co-habitation that they've engaged with a mental monster. They can be persuaded that violent outbursts are aberrations to be forgiven, and they can place themselves in a situation of self-perceived shame with a secret not to be divulged to anyone.
That number of one hundred thousand is the revealed number of women and children who flee the persecution of oppression and fear. The unrevealed number is thought by those who follow abuse and addiction to violence, to be much, much higher. What often looks on the exterior to be a well-functioning family has been on close inspection something entirely else.
Unknown, unsuspected, even by the woman's closest relatives and friends until it becomes public. A functional family tragedy that has really been all along, a closely-held, and shameful family secret. A shameful secret that spells failure. No one likes to be brushed with either shame or failure. An admission of victimhood, of poor judgement and improvident choice.
Leading to silence and to submission. But for those women who have reached the end of their tether and gather their children and leave. And then have courts place restraining orders on the men who threaten them. While the men, whose perspective has been utterly deranged by the reality of having been left, stalk them and eventually wreak the final revenge. And society looks on in horror.
There is a solution. One that will never become reality. That only well-balanced men and women truly capable of respecting one another, and harbouring no hidden pathologies of gender distrust may bring children into the world. To love and nurture them, provide them with the security and emotional trust that all human beings deserve and require to grow into responsible adulthood. Ending the generational cycle of misery and dysfunction.
And even that bit of idealism can be picked apart, since who knows how the human heart can be impacted by the dark emotions that settle so close to the surface of all of us, ultimately destructive of a few of us?
Labels: Social-Cultural Deviations