I mention in the introduction section of pretty much every post that he and she is replaceable in these posts. There’s a part of abuse that I haven’t experienced, and it’s unlikely I would experience: physical abuse, and the fear of being injured, or worse. It’s also the part where “he” and “she” aren’t quite as interchangeable.
If you haven’t already, be sure to head over and read part 1 of this series of posts (this is part 4), in particular the Introduction section that puts this into a bit of a larger context, and gives a couple of disclaimers (like, for instance, assuming that I’m talking about a specific person or persons in these posts.) Even if you don’t read the rest of that post, read the Introduction. This isn’t just about a single person in my life, and it’s not about men or women. While it happened to a guy, and it’s being told by a guy, you can change “he” and “she” to any gender you like, and it still fits. Except in this post.
The Physical Dangers of Abuse
Throughout these posts, there’s something missing from me: fear of a physical altercation. I’ve been in fights before, and going toe to toe with me isn’t a good option. And because of that knowledge, I really have no fear of it.
I’m putting this right after the section on yelling and screaming for a reason: sometimes, it’s a precursor. There’s a concept called escalation: first the person yells at other things. Then the person starts yelling at their significant other. Eventually, they ‘slip’, and strike their significant other.
Just like she would apologize after yelling at me, the abuser often apologizes after hitting their significant other. The first couple of times, at least.
Was I ever physically abused? No. She once threw a cup at me – and I easily dodged it. That’s as close as it ever got. But, in my ponderings, I have wondered: could it have ever gotten that far?
1 in 3 women have had some sort of physical abuse from their partner (boyfriend, husband, sex partner, whatever). 1 in 4 men have had some sort of physical abuse from their partner. 1 in 5 women have had severe physical abuse, and 1 in 7 men have had severe physical abuse. Simply put: it’s more common for women to be injured or killed. And, well, there’s also a social stigma involved, too – men won’t talk about it if they are physically abused by their significant other. And, I’ll throw one more statistic in here, even though it’s not actually physical abuse: 1 in 7 women have been stalked, and were afraid for their welfare or the welfare of those around them. Only 1 in 18 men have experienced the same thing. Women, quite frankly, have more to fear, and know they have more to fear.
I had to think about the definition of it a bit: to me, if I were hit and got injured, it would be physical abuse for certain. But, I have quite a bit of martial arts experience – most blows, I’d probably just block for a while, until the other person got tired and gave up. That’s the thinking in my head: it wouldn’t be abuse, because at best a glancing blow would be all that could happen. Fairly dangerous thinking, actually.
With a woman yelling at a man, the chance of escalation is lower. With a man yelling at a woman, there’s a higher chance of escalation. It’s just that simple.
I mention all this in this short section for two reasons: while this may be about the shit I’ve dealt with over the years, I wanted to point out that it’s not that far of a leap from routine yelling and screaming to hitting. It didn’t happen to me, but if you’re dealing with that sort of thing, then you better start looking at things from a bigger perspective. And, if you’re a woman, a 66% chance that it WON’T happen is really pretty bad odds, considering what the consequences could be.