I needed to be taught a lesson – My husband was man enough to do it.

I didn’t have a fairytale upbringing. I didn’t even have a normal, mundane, run of the mill upbringing. When my mother died before I turned three, it left my siblings and I in the care of a father who was physically and emotionally abusive. I grew up thinking that it was normal for a man to hit – normal for him to hit a girl, normal for him to hit children.
I knew what it was like to go to school with welts from my waist to my knees. I’ve felt the sting of a hand across my face more times than I can count. I’ve seen my siblings punched in the face. I knew the heart pounding terror of rage. I knew what it was like to constantly watch facial expressions and read moods for signs of anger. I became an expert in making myself small, in making myself invisible.
I grew up believing that men hit, and that it was a woman’s fault (my fault) that they did. I promised myself when I left home at 17 (the day after my last HSC exam) that I would never allow a man to lay a hand on me in anger again but I still feared that really all men hit, that no man was really able to restrain himself and that sooner or later I would be in a relationship where I would be hit again.
When I met my husband at 24, I was carrying some pretty heavy baggage and even though he knows I’m strong, even though he knows I’m capable, he loved me too much to watch me keep carrying it. So over the last 16 years he has lovingly, respectfully and gently taken my baggage off me and carried a burden that he didn’t create – because he is that kind of a man.
My husband has shown me that it is possible to have conflict without violence. He has shown me that a strong man is not the one who displays his physical power in order to dominate and intimidate but a strong man is the one who having that power, chooses to exercise restraint and treat others with respect and dignity. To a strong man, the very idea that anyone would raise a hand to a woman in violence is appalling. My husband is a strong man. He has shown me what safe looks like, he has shown me what loved looks like… Ultimately, he has shown me what a real man looks like (and whilst he is showing me, he is teaching our 2 sons how to be real men).
Today is the International Day to End Violence Against Women and around Australia people are taking a pledge.
They are swearing “never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women”. The 9 year old girl in me is begging you to take this pledge. The 15 year old who told her year 10 school Guidance Counsellor about the beatings only to be discounted and ignored, is begging you to take this pledge. The woman I now am; safe, secure and confident that not every man hits, is begging you to take this pledge.
Take this pledge, and then live it out every day. Real men do not hit women.

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3 thoughts on “I needed to be taught a lesson – My husband was man enough to do it.

      1. chattykerry

        It took me a long time to forgive my absent father but I did eventually. Forgiveness gives you freedom to move on from a difficult past.

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