Tag Archives: violence

Abuse and the Afterlife

NFL players charged with domestic violence along with the man who enables them.

NFL players charged with domestic violence along with the man who enables them roasting in Dante’s Inferno.

I am not an expert on the afterlife of any religion, including my own Christianity, but if the afterlife is a means of obtaining ultimate justice from a holy and just God, I am certain of one thing — an especially hot, miserable, and demon infested corner in the lowest bowels of Hell is reserved for people who abuse children, the elderly, the helpless, and animals. Then, right below THAT little slice of paradise will be a sewer just for men who abuse their spouses, girlfriends, and other women in their lives.

It’s one of the first lessons I learned even before I went to kindergarten as a child: BOYS DON’T HIT GIRLS! It is a rule deeply etched into my psyche, into my very bones. Every boy I knew growing up, from all sides of the tracks and every type of home environment had the same lesson drilled into them: BOYS DON’T HIT GIRLS! I realize some of them probably didn’t see the lesson modeled very well for them at home and some of them were probably too busy trying to dodge punches themselves to give much thought to philosophy of gender, but all of us learned it nonetheless.

I am extremely biased because I saw men modeling the lesson for me all the time. Daddy and I have had our disagreements over the years and he and Mama divorced when I was small, but I can swear to this and Mama confirmed it long before she ever died — for all of Daddy’s faults, he never raised his hand to Mama nor lay a single finger on her in anger. Even in the most bitter moments of their marriage disintegrating, Daddy didn’t even raise his voice to argue with Mama. He and my stepmother, Teresa have been married nearly 40 years now and they have had some barn burners of fights, but Daddy has never so much as taken an aggressive step towards her. Neither of my Papas were violent men. I don’t know if I ever heard Papa Wham speak above a normal conversational tone more than twice all the days I knew him.


The face of domestic violence. What if Lindsay was your neighbor, co-worker, or even a stranger in a store?

Apparently, though, many of the “men” now playing professional sports think it is somewhat fashionable to knock the important women in their lives unconscious, as Ray Rice recently did in a horrific moment captured on a hotel security camera. Strangely, once the video surfaced to wide exposure, we find out a veritable slew of other players have CDV charges pending or even convictions. Looks like a lot of NFL “men” aren’t “leaving it all on the field” but instead are “bringing the pain” home to their loved ones . . . although how you can claim to love someone you just knocked unconscious with a left hook worthy of George Foreman is beyond me. What seriously turns my stomach, however, is how so many people are more concerned with whether or not these players are going to be allowed to continue on their teams instead of how they are punished. I don’t think the argument should be on if they get to stay in the NFL; it should be whether or not they get to stay on the streets or even stay in our midst.

But that’s all I have to say about the NFL’s domestic violence woes because I’m not naive enough to think this is an NFL problem — domestic violence is a societal problem. All across the nation in every region and every demographic, men are terrorizing their wives and children. Some stories are nothing short of nightmarish like Lindsay Arp who was left disfigured and partially paralyzed after her live in boyfriend poured boiling oil over her body while she slept. Here in South Carolina a man has recently been arrested for murdering his FIVE children, dismembering their bodies, and scattering the pieces in garbage bags all across four states.

That’s just two cases out of THOUSANDS! What I want to know is why isn’t anyone doing anything about this? These people had neighbors, co-workers, SOMEONE had to have noticed. The were not like the Lykovs living alone a million miles from nowhere. Clerks at grocery stores had to notice black eyes. Why didn’t anyone do anything until it was nearly too late for many CDV victims? This is what disturbs me the most. Have we not progressed any farther as a civilization than the New Yorkers of Kitty Genovese’s time, than the Europeans who watched their neighbors loaded into boxcars in the late 1930s and early 1940s?

Patrick Stewart - Domestic ViolenceOnce upon a time in this country, granted it was long, long ago and seemingly in a galaxy far far away, a man would not idly stand by while another man beat a woman or a child. Oh, sure, every generation has raised its share of people who refuse to “get involved,” but our current generation seems to me especially craven. What are we afraid of, being sued? Do we possess anything more dear to us than another human’s life? I’m afraid that answer is “yes.” Are we terrified of being shot or stabbed ourselves? Is our own life so much more valuable to us than anothers? Again, I’m sure it is “yes” for all but a meager handful of people.

This attitude of apathy must change. If the hands of the police are tied, society must step forward and use pressure to change this odious behavior. We cannot be afraid of embarrassing a woman or her husband by asking, “Honey, how did you get that black eye?” She may well be one of the multitude of women who desperately want to get out of an abusive, dangerous situation but don’t know how to take the first step. Abusers need to know we are watching and we will not tolerate this kind of behavior. Certainly people have their rights to privacy; but we also have a duty to protect those who cannot protect themselves and to defend the defenseless. We will send armies to foreign shores to fight for other cultures, other people, but not lift a finger to stop the violence we see in too many homes today. We cannot afford to forget what Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for evil men to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

Do something.

Love y’all, keep those feet clean.




Budge came home from work yesterday completely wiped out. She’s been doing PASS testing all week and that had taken its toll, but what really had her in high dudgeon was having to break up her first fight in her entire seven years of teaching. As she described it, I realized this wasn’t just an ordinary fight. One boy really meant to hurt the other one. She told how the one boy had knocked the other boy to the ground and then, instead of backing off, the aggressor had begun kicking the other child, resulting in some huge knots on the poor defender’s body. I told her, as a former boy, that wasn’t cool. I don’t know about everywhere else in the world, but when I was growing up, such a display wouldn’t have been tolerated. As tweens and adolescents, we had our own informal code duello that a boy ignored at his peril. Girls fighting girls had their own rules to which we males were not privy, but they seemed to involve copious hair pulling and disrobing.

Rule #1 was you always fought your own size. Now a brave and tenacious little chihuahua of a boy might take on a big ole’ country boy, but a larger boy would be ostracized for starting a fight with someone smaller. Same thing for girls. Generally, girls were NOT to be hit; however, where I come from and in a couple of the places I taught, some girls walked the halls with boys hurrying to get out of their way. The rule was the same. You could not, in good honor, strike a girl for any reason. You couldn’t even retaliate against a girl who struck you. BUT, all things have their limits and a girl who drew back for the fourth or fifth time was putting herself in a man’s place and thereby bringing herself under a man’s rules, so caveat emptor.  Now, if the boy was the significant other of the girl doing the assaulting and she was doing said assaulting because of information she’d found out about said boy’s activity the previous night . . . well, he was honor bound to stand there, protect his face (and nether regions), and take it like a man. He earned it.

The second inviolate rule of our fights was if someone was knocked down, the combatant standing was obliged to either stand back and let the fallen regain his feet or to go to the ground with him. Under no circumstances was it kosher to kick a person who was down while you were standing. See, when you are punching someone or wrestling with someone, you get hurt too. You feel the pain and that encourages you to moderate your blows so no one is permanently injured. When you kick someone though, especially if you’re wearing shoes or, gods forbid, boots, you don’t feel a thing and one wrong kick to the head or kidney can result in more than just a lecture from Mom or the principal.

Finally, the fight continued until honor was satisfied. I’ve seen boys knocked cold by a roundhouse right, I’ve seen boys choked out by a rear naked choke on the ground, and I’ve seen — more than once — two boys just stop and walk away or shake hands and pat each other on the back. Fights were for pecking order, attracting the attentions of a girl, and settling disputes or matters of honor. We were not out to really hurt each other. When one person stopped resisting, the fight was over.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I saw more than one fight that was a blood rage because of the taking of a girlfriend or some unbearable insult to family. Those fights were much more brutal and it was highly unlikely the combatants were going to be friends ever again, if they ever were. Still, despite what the pugilists might scream at each other before battle was joined, I only saw a bare handful of times when one boy truly saw red to the point that he meant to cause serious, irreparable damage to the other boy and on those rare occasions, it was up to those of us watching to keep one from the hospital (or worse) and the other from prison. Those fights were thankfully few and very far between.

Today though, the rules are out the window. We would never have considered using a knife in a fight, much less a gun. A boy who pulled a weapon would immediately be branded a coward and a pariah. After all, no shame was meted out for losing a fair fight. Students today, however, fueled by the violence of the culture surrounding us all have developed precious little respect for the sanctity of life. I have looked into the eyes of two, and only two, students I parted during a fight and knew in an instant that if they had the means at hand, they would kill me right then and there without hesitation or remorse.

Of course, we fought for different reasons and it was seldom deeply personal. The papers today are full of reports of students killing each other over the smallest affronts, real or imagined. Also, boys today fight for territory, for drugs, and for sheer rage and rebellion. Today, many fights that break out in the halls or on the playground could very well be “for keeps.”

That is sad to me. I suppose it is a sign of the times as the “old folks” say. Still it hurts my heart to look at young boys so willing to deal out death or dismemberment — often for little reason if any at all.

Take care, everyone. Stay out of harm’s way. Keep your left up, lead with your jab, and wash your feet!

Love y’all 🙂