A Male's Perspective by Donnie Bell

The subject of verbal abuse is one that is near and dear to me. From a male perspective, however it may seem unusual that the normal offender in such circumstances has, well, a unique view, knowledge and a desire to help those who are victims. The first order of business is recognition. With the dawn of social media, I was blessed to reconnect with the vast majority of my high school classmates. We, once again, became a tight knit group. Being a tad socially "challenged" I wasn't exactly the captain of the football team type. I was somewhere between geek and clown, with a hint of dork. Universally accepted, but, mostly shy, quiet and reserved. With the advent of social media I was able to conquer most of my shyness, aka the "she's too pretty" disease. Think Raj from the Big Bang Theory. As I began chatting, then texting, then talking and eventually meeting the ladies from high school, one thing seemed so clear. They all suffered from some type of effects from numerous types of abuse. The physical scars from abuse are easily treated. If that term even can be used in the same sentence as abuse, but follow me here. A woman, unfortunately, is physically abused, can, in theory, go to the doctor, get stitches, medication, and time to physically heal. Emotional, sexual and verbal abuse, however, often go unnoticed, and untreated. The women I befriended showed obvious signs of verbal abuse. Altered personalities, borderline subservient behavior, shyness, awkwardness, and even fear. In extreme instances, drug and alcohol abuse. The common denominator with all of these ladies was this... No one ever noticed, asked about, or discussed with them the effects of their "day to day" life. The usual abusive interactions, the condescending tones, words, insults, complaints. The most discussed issue seemed to be weight. For whatever reason, in the minds of so many males, when a woman gained a few pounds, her attractiveness diminished, her IQ dropped, her personality faltered and her love faded. And, sugar, this just ain't true. By definition, love is unconditional, or it just ain't love. Regardless of fault, blame, issue, or circumstance, if you invest your life and your love into another person, it never waivers, and it never fades. So many times, marriages just seemed to dissolve into torturous dungeons of abuse, cleverly disguised as a happy home. This also applies to children. I happen to be the proud father of 2 daughters, ages 14 and 2, and blessed to be a central figure in the lives of 3 other kids, girls ages 18, 13 and 9. Each word I speak to them is carefully thought out, and always with the utmost respect. Yes, we kid, we laugh, we tease, we carry on, but it's a home built on laughter and love, never anger and hate. The results? Well adjusted, confident, happy young ladies. Do we have issues? Of course, all families do, but in my home, situations, regardless of fault, blame or subject, are handled with grown up mature conversation, and always laced with humor. My fiance and I have been together since 2013. Her and I first met in 1998, and we remained in contact for most of the last 15 years. In that time, she was married once, and in a long 10 year relationship with another. Her husband lost his life to a drug overdose. This individual introduced my fiance to drugs with this....Two needles, one with heroin, one with bleach. Refuse the drugs, receive the bleach. The second relationship she was in was a myriad of drug use, accusations, abuse, violence, and the one thing that finally grabbed the attention of my fiance....Prison. She lost everything, freedom, kids, everything. The day she got out, she made contact with me. And I took the most rewarding, frightening step in my life. I invited her into my home. I found a woman who had no idea who she was. Never in her life had she been given the freedom to just be. Without fear of penalty, consequence or criticism. In the last year, this woman has blossomed. She has overcome drug use, crime, and abuse. And how did she do this?...Welcomed into a home that believes in positive reinforcement, cheerful environment, kind words, and constant encouragement. These are the basic principles to success. A life where the default reaction is love, and the default expression is a smile.

I want you to know, There is a way out of abuse.

Natasha JohnsonComment