Monday, May 4, 2009

Recession recession blah blah blah

I know its real but I'm sick of it being the reason for everything lately. It seems like everything that happens whether it's the weather or bad public schools is because of the economic downturn. However, I recently read an article from the Baltimore Sun, "In Families' Tragic Deaths, a Hint of Paternalism" and it caught my attention since what does actually seem to be happening a lot lately is men going down in financial flames and subsequently brutally murdering their families.

What interests me even more is that in the past month and a half I have witnessed three instances of domestic violence. Not that this abuse doesn't happen all the time but I find it weird that all of a sudden these situations are so blatant and public. Which brings up a whole other set of issues since every time I intervene I'm so worried that I will be making it worse for the woman, in the moment or later.

Last night as I sat on my porch reading, my neighbor pushed his partner out of the front door screaming at her, twisting her wrists and shoving her nearly to the ground. She was asking him to stop and trying squirm out of his grip.
A) I really don't want to say anything that is going to make him later beat the shit out of her, blaming her for drawing attention
2) I can't just wait to watch her get punched in the face
C) But I also don't really want to get punched in the face

I just went down there and walked up slowly and said, "Umm hey, how's it going?" He let go of her and started telling me how he would never put his hands on her but she's a goddamned ho who isn't worth anything. Meanwhile she, who is a sheriff btw, is threatening to call the cops. (Knowing her job made this even more complicated to me. I have considered her strong and smart not only bc of her profession but also her personality. Also one time she helped me break into my house after I broke the front door. I had the thought of, she can handle herself, right?) When he went inside she told me they'd been together for nine years but weren't married and that he'd been drinking. That she could but wasn't going to have him arrested, then she went to the neighbor's house and stayed there. He came out a minute later, drunkenly yelling more insults till he drove off.

All this is not to say that murder/suicide by a patriarch and increased public domestic violence in my life are related, but maybe they are? Is economic stress making people flip out in their private lives to the point of assault? If so, is this going to continue to be terrifying for women whose husbands/partners see them as a responsibility and even as their property? What do you guys think? How do you men feel about this? How do you women feel about this? Seeing three women abused by their partners in the past couple weeks has made me fucking furious but also really freaked me out. Partly I'm worried whether or not I'm handling the situations correctly. Mostly it just scares me to witness these violent and belittling outbursts by men directed towards women they clearly feel like they're entitled to treat in such a way. Thoughts?


Mo_Mack said...

i never would have put the two together, but now that you say something... on the flip side, i think the pressing gender roles can also come negatively from the female perspective which in many relationships could cause a tip in power and thus lead some men to resort to violence. my friend is a tattoo artist and his wife is a nurse. his business is suffering but hers is same as always. lately she has been treating him like a second class citizen in their home, like he's no longer "the man of the house". He would never hit her but feels frustrated and powerless in the situation since they are recently married and have a one year old baby girl. But when thinking that this is happening to a lot of people, I can see how domestic violence could spark... not that i am in any way condoning that or saying it's the woman's fault! but now that i say something about it i can see a correlation with the recession.

harrison grrgeron said...


there is a connection. the national domestic abuse hotline reported a very significant 20% increase in calls back in november. when the recession was just a sub-prime mortgage crisis. i can only imagine that it has gotten worse as our tragic hobo parade has grown larger. i also wonder if the weather has anything to do with the more public displays of domestic violence. maybe there have been issues of violence in the past with your neighbors but it all happened behind closed doors. i want to see a chart, well two charts. one that shows the connection between a failing economy and domestic violence and another that shows the connection (if there is one) between weather and domestic violence.
holy cow! read this horrible scary man blog about domestic violence: yes, i think it is an actual pro-domestic violence blog.

GrrlMonstrr said...

total buzzkill, debbie downer...and yet, i am intrigued, disturbed and provoked to comment. i guess that's the curse of us social justice-y types. as for sam's question as to whether there is a correlation between warmer weather and a spike in violence, my intuitive response was yes. in cities there always seems to be newspaper headlines broadcasting the rise in gang violence etc as soon as summer hits. check dis