This is going to be one of my hardest articles for me to write because it’s extremely personal. I covered this issue somewhat with my article about Sheltered in Place with a Domestic Abuser, but when you add in the paranoia of hypochondria, things get even darker. So, alas, I need to go deeper.
It’s also hard to justify my including myself in a post that is ostensibly categorized as Equal Right. After all, I am, quite frankly, not—nor could ever be—a cis-woman.
To be clear, when we talk about equal rights, we don’t mean that should apply to more men getting abused. Reducing abuse overall should be our goal. I do think, though, men are feeling more opened about admitting when something doesn’t feel right, when things go from simple disagreement to some of the hallmarks of abuse.
That said, I’m sad to say the majority of abuse is and probably always will be of the form men against women, and that’s why this type of abuse deserves the most coverage. That is indeed the main focus of a wonderful article by Sarah Fielding in The Guardian dated 3 April 2020: In quarantine with an abuser: surge in domestic violence reports linked to coronavirus.
One caller to a domestic violence hotline reported that her husband threatened to throw her out into the street if she coughed. Another reported they had been strangled by their partner, but feared going to the hospital because of the threat of coronavirus. An immunocompromised man from Pennsylvania called in after his emotionally abusive girlfriend began hiding cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer from him.Fielding, Sarah. “In quarantine with an abuser: surge in domestic violence reports linked to coronavirus.” The Guardian 3 Apr. 2020: Online.
I am very happy Ms. Fielding was able to show, what I consider hypochondriac controlling abuse, isn’t only affecting women. I feel for both the women is tossed onto the street with a cough, and even more for the one who was strangled (way to social distance, m*th*r f*ck*r!). But that poor man being withheld from necessary sanitizing agents, that’s pretty tragic as well.
Advocates are concerned that this bleak reality has reached the United States, where experts say one in four women and one in seven men face physical violence by a partner at some point in their lifetimes.Fielding, Sarah. “In quarantine with an abuser: surge in domestic violence reports linked to coronavirus.” The Guardian 3 Apr. 2020: Online.
Statistics tell the whole story. While one in four women are likely to be the victims of an abusive relationship, one in seven men are just as likely. So, while women make up the majority of victims, for every two women victims, there is at least one man.
Of course, some may find that hard to believe. How could a big, strong man be abused by a “feeble” woman? But that’s because the ways a woman might try to control or belittle or isolate a man, they are different than what a man might do to a woman. A woman typically won’t use violence against her man, though even if she did, many men are cultured to never raise their hand against a woman, even in self-defense. Many men eschew violence and would never use it to assert themselves. So, assuming a man can always prevent abuse because he’s bigger and stronger totally misses the point of what abuse is all about. Abuse is abuse, regardless of gender.
The crux of my point is that, if you combine a controlling partner, a partner who actively tries to isolate and belittle, with an abuser who is also a hypochondriac, you end of with a cough fit chucking you out on the street—or sequestered in a single room, hoping for some water, not allowed to exit confinement.
I write this from my spare room. I am prohibited from leaving this room because on Tuesday and Wednesday I had a runny nose and the bridge felt so tender, like it had been punched. I had no fever, and I know for a fact that these are not symptoms of SARS-CoV-2, but still I have been ordered not to leave this room, except to use the facilities. If I want something to eat or drink, I must make a request, and be at the whim of the hypochondriac. I may not be out of this room when the hypochondriac is around. And, even if I wanted to leave, #CO2Fre is still at the dealership, so I couldn’t go anywhere even if I wanted.
Nothing is, per se, forcing me to stay here, to be sure. But when you’re told to do something in such a commanding tone, it’s not worth trying to fight your prison sentence. I want to leave my cell, but I am afraid of the consequences if I do without consent. So, here I lie, on this bed, no free chair in the room, wishing to be free but not having the savings to make it so.
And neither do the women and men in Ms. Fielding’s article. That’s the rub.
Only, it’s not.
The National Domestic Abuse Hotline will help. I posted this before but it bears repeating because this is such an important issue and needs to be published. Please, if you are in any danger, call or text the National Domestic Abuse Hotline. They will help.
As for me, I was told I could get out of quarantine jail and retrieve #CO2Fre tomorrow. Then again, I was also told that yesterday…
Stay safe my lady—and gentlemen—friends!