CXX. Battering and Abuse

I write humanitarian documentaries – profiles of artists and scientists, of individuals who are environmental stewards and humanitarians, of those who sacrifice themselves to help others. I write truth for a living. I say this because there is the other side, too, that needs examining, the sole of the shoe that stepped in the wrong place in the cow pasture – the abuser.

It starts subtly, often in an email, a few words, a line or two – “I don’t like your shoelaces, I don’t like your tone, your avocation, your career choice.” You heed it little, go on with your life. And then it escalates. This is battering; it is abuse. It escalates into verbal bullying and/or physical abuse. The abuse can be perpetrated by man against woman, woman against man, woman against woman, the prevalent teen-against-teen, or a group bullying a single individual, as in cyber bullying, lobbed by petty terrorists brandishing sharp-edged words from behind the shields of their computer screens.

Verbal battering comes up behind you. It knocks the pins out from under you, because it is unfounded – and often sprung on you by someone you trust implicitly. It doesn’t stop: it is a battering diarrhea. It is cruel. It can cut deeply. Verbal abuse will kill your spirit if you let it in.

Whether by physical force or verbal, abusers follow a classic pattern: the abuser batters, then apologizes – yet delivering an apology riddled with accusatory words; for example, “I am so sorry; let it fall on me that you are not realistic.” And then batters again. It is an effort to control.

It is important that individuals learn to immediately recognize subtle signs of abuse before they escalate, and they will.

Recognizing and identifying the early signs of battering and abuse cannot be stated often enough. Therefore I believe it is time I resurrect the two magazine stories I have published on this issue, under my journalism byline. These stories never fray around the edges; indeed, they elucidate the classic pattern of abuse, what you can do about it and where you can get help. Of course, since these stories were published in the past, you will need to research help organizations presently operating in your neighborhood.

Here are the links to these stories:

Linda Lovelace: The Deeper Implications. I published this essay under my byline Carol Child in South Bay Magazine, Redondo Beach, Calif., 1980.

Witney’s Lights. Bringing the issue of domestic violence from darkness into light. I published this story under my byline Carol Child in Middletown Life Magazine, Middletown, Del., Spring/Summer 2009. Quincy Lucas, now Quincy A. Rose, Ed.D., is currently Department Chair, Master of Arts in Teaching at Tusculum College, Johnson City, Tennessee.

—Samantha Mozart