Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Bloody Inheritance

I come from a place where there is still a high incidence of domestic violence. It's more even-handed in that the wives fight back but it's still a part of everyday life for too many women.

Men that don't beat their wives are proud of that fact, they should be, but it's sad that it's seen as an achievement in my area when it should be ordinary life. It's still a really real concern of parents when their daughters marry. I remember the only time my parents seemed to be proud of my ability to fight and gobbiness was during a conversation with a neighbour who had remarked about how I'd 'never allow herself to be beaten by a husband'. I was though, once, by a man that I had been seeing. I would never have been stupid enough to have married him if it had ever come to that. He was much larger than me, 6'4" but I gave it everything I had to fight him off and held my own until help arrived. The next day I took a hockey stick to his head. I very nearly did too, until the boss talked me down. I grew up being told never to marry a man from a certain nearby town because they're all wife-beaters there.

I've heard the sounds of a neighbour and his wife going hell for leather at each other late at night, the sounds of her screaming, wondering if you should call the police when you know for a fact that she'd be fighting him too and it was probably a pretty even fight. I've helped friends patch themselves up after being beaten by boyfriends and husbands. But then I travelled, met a wonderful man and forgot all that exists.

Until tonight when talking to an old school friend. She's recently had a broken finger. It was broken so badly that she had to have surgery on it and wear a metal frame. She'd just said it was a fight when drunk, which led me to believe that it was just the average out and about kind of fight that are common in my home region but no.

Tonight she told me that her fiance did it after she hit him in the face with a metal bar. I think she did this because he cheated on her and yet she is still marrying him.

It's been a nasty reminder. I'm worried for her, for them. Why are they marrying?

I'd forgotten how common this kind of thing is back home.

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