Harold Monteau: Male domestic violence hidden in the shadows

"He never saw the blow coming because he was driving at highway speed. She hit him as hard as she could in his right temple and sent his glasses flying onto the dashboard. Out of the corner of his eye he saw another blow coming as he hit the brakes and steered the car toward the shoulder. He instinctively threw his arm up to protect himself and deflected the blow; she would claim later that he had “backhanded her.” She flung the car door open. Called him every name in the book as she walked away. Still seeing stars, he searched for his glasses. By the time he found them she had disappeared into the night. He knew when she spoke to her family next that it would be he who initiated the fight, he who “hit her” and made her walk in a dangerous area at night. It was important to her to never be seen as the one who was abusive. He had told her how he had vowed to never hit women because he had grown up seeing his mother beaten regularly (until, that is, he and his brother came of age and protected her). She would use that knowledge throughout their relationship.

The first time she hit him, and most times after that, she became enraged over something that he had done for one of his kids, particularly when it involved spending money. He paid his child support regularly as clockwork but she believed that anything extra was out of “her money” too. She refused to even meet his children.

She had become enraged again on Christmas Eve because he had exceeded what she thought he should spend on the kids. He took at least two dozen blows and kicks and did the best to protect himself. He knew that to even restrain her would result in claims that he had “attacked her.” These assaults had taken place at Christmas three times in five years. Twice it occurred at her parents’ house. They must have heard it, but no one said anything. He knew the routine. As he wiped his bloodied nose, he got his jacket and keys and headed out the door. She would be drunk when he got back and probably lethargic from the legal narcotics she took every day. At least that made her mellow and apologetic—sort of. The arguments seemed to excite her and she would make it up to him physically when he got back, unless she was passed out."

Get the Story:
Harold Monteau: Circle of Violence: Male Abuse, Lost in the Shadows (Indian Country Today 7/23)

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Harold Monteau: Somewhere in Indian Country, domestic violence (7/18)
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