Friday, April 27, 2012

I could really go for some Greek food...

When my husband and I lived in Germany, we frequented a little hole in the wall Greek restaurant near our home.  A lot of times, we'd go there on a Friday night and dine on gyros.  Every once in awhile, I'd have salmon or some other fish dish.  My husband would have some souvlaki.  We'd enjoy some pommes frites, t'zatziki, hot pickled peppers and ouzo and the company of the proprietor, a man we called "The Mad Scientist".

Sadly, we have not found a comparable place where we are now.  We have found good enough restaurants, but no charming "holes in the wall", with local ambience and a charming Greek host.  I've been dealing with crazy food cravings all day... from the Ragtime sandwich from Macado's, which I used to enjoy as a college student two decades ago, to sumptuous Greek food lovingly prepared by our favorite Mad Scientist.

But... since my husband has declared himself in need of a diet and, let's just say I've been needing a diet for years, I'm guessing tonight's repast will be simple and boring.


I really miss dishes like this one...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A rant about Charles and Diana...


I know Princess Diana has been dead now for almost fifteen years.  I know people think she was some kind of saint.  Yes, she was very beautiful.  Yes, she was very charismatic.  Yes, she was much beloved by the world's people.  I can't even imagine what it must have been like to be Diana.  It was like people expected her to be superhuman and she just wasn't.  Diana was a person, like everybody else.  She was extraordinarily gifted in some ways, but she was a human being and made mistakes.

And I know some people look at Prince Charles and think he's a stodgy dickhead.  Yes, he comes across as very reserved.  Yes, he was a lot older than Diana was and, perhaps, should have had the wisdom not to marry her.  Yes, he cheated with Camilla and was sometimes mean to Diana in public.

I can't even imagine what it must have been like to be Charles circa 1980.  He was under extreme pressure to find a wife and produce an heir.  He couldn't find just any wife, it had to be the right wife.  She had to have the right breeding, the right look, and her virginity.  Diana apparently ticked all the boxes for being the right kind of person to be a future Queen of England.  But, from the standpoint of a successful marriage, she was absolutely the wrong woman for Charles.  They had very little in common.  She was much younger than he was and had vastly different interests than he did.  They had different education levels and different tastes.

Moreover, it's well-documented that Diana had, among other things, borderline personality disorder and eating disorders.  Borderline personality disorder is not something that just "shows up" one day.  That was an issue that came from her youth, which it's well-documented, was very traumatic.  People who have borderline personality disorder are very difficult to live with under the best of circumstances.  They have extreme mood swings, fears of abandonment, stormy interpersonal relationships and can be very manipulative.  The fact that Charles and Diana were married for as long as they were is actually very impressive.  Many people with BPD have a long history of fleeting relationships.  Certainly, the eating disorders might have been caused by the pressure to be thin for the media, but eating disorders are also a major part of BPD.  No doubt, Diana was NOT easy to live with.

I understand that many people take sides when a couple has problems.  When you are a couple in the public eye, like Charles and Diana were, that phenomenon becomes even more pronounced.  What I don't understand is why so many people seem to want to give Diana a pass for her poor behavior.  It seems like every time someone brings up Chuck and Di, we hear about what an asshole Charles was.  But Diana had her indiscretions, too.  She cheated on Charles.  She was indiscreet with the press... indeed, she had a love/hate relationship with the paparazzi, alternately cursing them for chasing her and flirting with them.  Diana loved the spotlight on her terms.

This morning, I was hanging out in one of my favorite online communities and the subject of Charles came up.  It had nothing at all to do with Diana.  It was about a ridiculous news story in which a musician presented Charles with a Book of Mormon.  And yet, despite the fact that neither the thread nor the news story had a damn thing to do with Diana, someone had to "go there" and disdain Charles for cheating on Diana with another man's wife.  Hello!  While Charles's behavior during their marriage was hardly admirable, neither was Diana's.  And even if Camilla hadn't been in the picture, it's highly unlikely that they would have had a happy or successful marriage.  They were certainly not soul mates.

I wish that Charles and Diana could have had a successful do-over.  It's too bad Charles wasn't allowed to marry the woman of his choosing instead of a woman who "fit the part".  It's too bad Diana didn't listen to the little voice in her head warning her not to marry Charles.  It's too bad she couldn't wait longer and live a little before jumping into the British monarchy.  On the other hand, I'm glad to see that William has found someone who appears to be an appropriate mate in Catherine.  I hope they have a long, successful marriage.



Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Trapped into parenthood...

Maybe I'm naive, but I don't understand people who claim that other people "trapped them" into becoming parents.  It's one thing if you've been raped.  I certainly understand that pregnancy can happen that way.   But boyfriends and girlfriends and married couples who are having consensual sex... I don't understand how one can claim the other "forced" them to conceive.

Okay... so I know when things are hot and heavy, couples can get "carried away" and that can lead to unprotected sex.  So that's why a woman who doesn't want to get pregnant should take birth control.  Don't want to take a pill?  Wear a diaphragm.  Get "the shot".  Get your tubes tied.  You're a guy who doesn't want kids?  Wear a condom.  Get a vasectomy.  Don't have sex if you don't want to have a baby.  It's just that simple.

Today on Dr. Phil, there were two couples.  In one couple, a woman "tricked" her husband into getting her pregnant.  I related to that story, not because I've ever been pregnant, but because the story was somewhat similar to what happened to my husband back when he was young and dumb.  His ex wife claimed to be on birth control and it supposedly "failed", resulting in her pregnancy with their older daughter.  I remember when we first met, he told me this story in a wistful tone of voice, explaining that he was delighted to have a daughter, but they really weren't financially prepared to have a child.

I remember snorting and saying, "You really believe the birth control failed?  Sounds to me like she was lying to you."

Make no mistake about it.  I do empathize with my husband.  He trusted his ex wife and he should have been able to trust her.  She was his wife.  However, both men and women have a responsibility toward controlling their own reproductive actions.  If you are not ready to have a child, you have the right and the responsibility to prevent pregnancy, even if you are married.  That means either abstaining from sexual contact with another person or using birth control.  That means not relying on the other person to "take care" of the birth control.  Men, that means using a condom every time you have sex.  Women, that means using the pill or some other form of effective birth control.  Don't take a chance on the "rhythm" method or early withdrawal.  You can prevent pregnancy.  You can prevent yourself from becoming a parent when you're not ready for parenthood, and you should!

The second guest on Dr. Phil was a woman who had one son when she met her husband.  She did not want more kids, but he did.  They have now added three more kids to their family-- three more than the wife wanted.  She claimed the first time she got pregnant by accident, she and her husband were fooling around and he claimed he didn't have a condom.  He promised her he would "withdraw".  Of course, he didn't.  She got pregnant.  Later, she found a condom in his pocket... which, to me, was kind of like throwing fuel on the fire.  I mean, why carry a condom if you're going to claim you don't have one?  They had a son.  One time, he even got her pregnant while she was sleeping, which to me, is completely unforgivable.

BUT---  Mom, if you say you don't want to get pregnant, there are many things you can do to prevent pregnancy!  A visit to your friendly neighborhood gynecologist can be most helpful.  The gyno can set you up with birth control, which you can take to prevent pregnancy.  No birth control is 100% effective-- only abstinence is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy.  That's why you insist that your partner uses birth control, too, and you make sure he or she does it before you consent to having sex.

If either mom or dad really doesn't want to have kids again, he or she can have surgery to prevent it permanently.  Trust me, I know.  My husband got a vasectomy when he was with his ex and it's been 100% effective, despite the fact that he later had it reversed.  Please note... because this happened to my husband, I don't recommend permanent sterilization unless you are absolutely certain you don't want to have more kids.  But it is an option for those who know they're done... and getting the surgery can be the most responsible thing you do in your life if you know for sure that you don't want to have a child.  Kids deserve to have two parents who want them around.

Bottom line... I think this really comes down to people not wanting to be confrontational and not wanting to take responsibility for themselves.  I know that's what happened in my husband's case.  It was easier for him not to confront his ex wife about birth control and putting on a condom himself than it was to be certain they were protected from an unintended pregnancy.  It was easier for him to marry her, even though there were little voices in his head SCREAMING at him not to, than it was for him to call off the wedding until he was more sure.  In both of these situations, not taking action led to much bigger problems down the road... a horror show of a first marriage and two kids who are completely estranged and refuse to have anything to do with him anymore, despite the fact that he's a good man who would have been a great dad had he had the chance.

Save yourself!  Don't have kids if you don't want them or aren't ready for them.  Don't have sex with someone unless you are prepared to share a child with them.  You owe it to yourself and to any kids you might have.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Thought for the day... It's not a punishment to be shunned by assholes...

This entry is liable to be raunchy.  Skip it if you have delicate sensibilities...

Some time ago, I blogged about the practice of shunning.  Shunning is when a friend, family member, or business associate suddenly starts giving you "the cold shoulder".  They refuse to associate with you in any way.  They stop talking to you, taking your phone calls, or visiting.  You are, in effect, cut out of their lives.

I have never really been shunned by anyone I care that much about.  My husband, on the other hand, has been shunned by his two daughters.  Their decision to shun him has been very hurtful.  Watching this loving man being shunned by two people he loves more than anything in the world has made me pretty angry.  And since I have no positive emotional ties to these young women, I can be pretty blunt about how I feel about them.  Luckily, my husband recognizes my right to have an opinion.

Last night, we were watching TV and I suddenly said, "You know, it's really not a punishment to be shunned by assholes."

My husband nodded in agreement.  I posted the same thought as my Facebook status and immediately got several "likes".  In fact, it seems a lot of people agree with my sentiment.

In my opinion, anyone who would use shunning as a means to control other people is a massive asshole.  Think about it.  Shunning is an incredibly arrogant thing to do.  The only way shunning can work is if the object of the shunning actually cares about the person doing the shunning.  My husband's daughters know their father loves and cares about them.  So they knew that shunning him would be very hurtful.  But over the years, my husband's once soft feelings toward his daughters have started to harden.  He still loves and cares about them, but he's now not so ready to open his heart to them if and when they decide to stop shunning him.  They violated his trust and have acted like assholes.  And who needs another asshole in their lives, let alone two?

I reminded my husband what having his two kids in his life would mean.  First and foremost, it would mean having contact with his ex wife, the head asshole.  What else would you call a woman who constantly uses her children as weapons to control others?  This woman has lied, manipulated, and abused innocent people to perpetuate her own narcissistic fantasies of unlimited power and admiration.  I think she is an asshole of the very first order and she has raised her children to be assholes.  I only wish that my husband had thought twice before he had sex with his ex wife... or better yet, her parents had thought twice before they had sex.

There's no one else in my life who brings out these feelings of utter disgust and rage in me.  Even though I know what the ex did ultimately could have been worse, I really think the only reason it wasn't worse is because she is a coward who lacks the intelligence and tenacity to make her wrath more devastating.  It's enough that she abused my husband and his family.  They are good, decent people who don't deserve having to live with the legacy of my husband's unfortunate lapse in judgment twenty years ago.  I don't use the "c-word" that often, but I do feel perfectly justified in using it where that horrible woman is concerned.  Her actions fit the moniker.

The fact that my husband's daughters shun their father is disappointing... However, the fact that they shun instead of having the courage to work out their issues means that they probably aren't high quality people anyway.  The last thing my husband needs is more personality disordered, high-maintenance, asshole people in his life.  And if they think they are punishing him by shunning him, I would submit that people who shun have an incredibly skewed image of themselves.  There are so many people in the world to be with.  Why bother wasting time with those who decide to shun?


Saturday, April 21, 2012

I really love my husband...

He makes me breakfast every weekend.  This morning, he made our usual Saturday morning feast along with our usual pot of coffee.  

My husband knows exactly how I like my coffee and he always prepares my cup with two teaspoons of sugar and some half and half.  As I was drinking the coffee, it occurred to me how much I was enjoying the taste of it.  So I asked my husband which coffee we were drinking.  

He said, "It's the Garuda.  One of your favorites."

At that point, I realized yet again how very lucky I am to be married to a man who knows me that well and pays such close attention to my likes and dislikes.  I truly am blessed.  If someone had asked me if I liked Garuda coffee, I wouldn't have been able to tell them... but my husband knows I do.  

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Coddling kids...

I just saw an ad for Epi Pen and Epi Pen Junior on Animal Planet...

In this ad, mom is driving her kid to a birthday party.  The kid is dutifully buckled up in the back seat and mom is talking to him about what a great time he's going to have at the party, even though there will be a cake made with "who knows what"...

I know food allergies are dangerous and scary, but did they really have to phrase it that way?  "A cake made with 'who knows what'?"  Mom couldn't ask the hostess what was in the cake?

It's a sad world we live in.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I blogged too soon...

So not two weeks ago, I posted that 18 year old Jordan Powers and her creepy "boyfriend" and ex-teacher James Hooker broke up.  He's 41 years old to her 18 and has a history of boinking nubile and impressionable teenagers.

 On April 6th, Hooker was arrested on allegations that in 1998, he had a sexual relationship with a 17 year old student.  He's now out on bail.

Meanwhile, Jordan, who had moved from California to Ohio to live with her mom, has evidently decided that she wants to be with her man.  According to the news, Jordan Powers is back with Hooker, who seems especially aptly named in this instance.  Since she's an adult, it's perfectly legal for her to be with this man.  But I think she's a victim of her naiveté and her youth...  This probably won't end well if she doesn't wise up soon.  Too bad.

Monday, April 16, 2012

There should be a statute of limitations on child support collections...

Those of you who regularly read my blog have probably surmised that I am opinionated when it comes to blended families.  Some of you might have even been surprised by my somewhat pro-male opinions.  Actually, I don't think of my opinions as pro-male per se, as much as they are pro-fairness.  I am the wife of a man whose ex wife collected an exorbitant amount of child support from my husband for years for three kids, one of which wasn't even legally his child.  As she collected the child support, she poisoned my husband's daughters against him and his family.  I suppose she has poisoned them against me, too, though I have only met them once in the past nine years and don't really care if I never meet them again.

As of a couple of months ago, my husband's child support days are over.  Both of his kids are over age 18 and can do whatever they want with their lives.  I've started to relax a bit, knowing that my husband did his part for them... as much as his ex wife permitted, anyway.

The other day, a friend on mine on a message board posted about her situation.  This friend is usually very level headed and reasonable.  I respect her a great deal.  She has two sons.  One is a young adult in his early 20s.  The other is a child in grade school.  She is still married to her younger son's father and she says she's enjoyed an amicable relationship with her ex-husband for the past nineteen years.  Lately, she and her ex have not been getting along, in part, because he has a fiancee who apparently doesn't want him to have any kind of relationship with her.

Anyway, this friend had a child support order in place for her older son.  The amount was a pittance-- not even $200 a month.  And she never filed the support order with child support enforcement.  According to her, the ex husband has never paid child support.  He has, however, been good about co-parenting and even maintained a relationship with his former mother-in-law.  It all ended when the new woman came into his life.

So now, their son is in college and well past the age of majority.  My friend, upset about not having communications with her ex, now wants to file for back child support.  Most of the ladies on our board think she's totally in the right to do this.  Only two of us, myself included, think she should let it go.

It's not a question of her really needing the money to survive or even to live well.  My friend and her current husband live a comfortable lifestyle.  Her son even has college paid for, thanks to an inheritance.  For nineteen years, she hasn't pressed the child support issue.  Now that her son is an adult, she wants the money... or does she?  It was pretty clear to me that the money was never the focal point.  If it had been, she would have demanded regular child support payments when her son was a minor.

Let me be absolutely clear.  I certainly agree that a custodial parent is entitled to child support payments from a non-custodial parent if he or she has the child most of the time.  What I don't agree with is custodial parents using child support as a method of controlling non-custodial parents.  My friend said that in the past, she had threatened her ex husband with going to child support enforcement to get the money.  He acquiesced and she never followed through.  Now that she's pissed off that her ex quit talking to her, she's threatening again.  Will she follow through this time?  Or will she finally go after the child support when her son is in his 30s?  When will they get to lead separate lives?

My feeling is that my friend should have gone to child support enforcement from the get go-- the minute he neglected to pay her when their son was still a minor.  The child is now 22 years old and about ready to go out into the world on his own.  Dad, no doubt, is not prepared to pay... probably figured he'd never have to because his ex wife never pursued it.  Now he's going to have his wages garnished.  Maybe it will screw up their formerly amicable relationship.  Maybe his new girlfriend will dump him over this.  Hard to tell...  but I have a feeling he will consider it a dirty trick and there will be much drama.

Let me also be clear that I do think my friend's ex husband is a jerk.  I think it's deplorable that he didn't pay support for his son.  However, had he owed anyone else-- a credit card company, a mortgage company, a car loan company, taxes-- he certainly would have had to start paying long before 19 years had passed.  I think it's irresponsible for custodial parents to let things slide and then demand payment with back interest many years later.  

I'll tell you what I also don't think is responsible.  I think it's irresponsible to make off-record deals that go against court agreements.  The reason I think people should stick to their agreements is because that's what any court will go by.  You may have an agreement in writing, but if you go off the record and agree to something different, a judge will still go by what was agreed upon in writing.  So if you have a child support order that was signed off on by a judge, the judge will go by what you and your ex agreed to in writing.

I don't really feel sorry for my friend's ex husband.  I think he is character deficient and has taken advantage of my friend's kindness for a long time.  However, I don't think she should spring this on him now.  I think she should have insisted on being paid many years ago-- even if it meant she put the money in a savings account for her son and allowed it to gain interest.  That would have been a better-- and much more fair-- plan for both parties and their son.    

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Another narcissist bites the dust, part II

Back in May, I wrote about the very public disgrace of a man my husband my husband used to work for.  This man was fired from his post in Iraq six weeks before he was due to come home and be promoted to general.  A lot has transpired since that public spectacle... The man, now a retired Army colonel, has relocated and apparently found a job in his new state, even though back in November, The Army Times ran an extremely damning expose about him and his toxic brand of leadership.

My husband and I found out about the article when we were on our cruise in November.  A friend sent it to us on Facebook and I remember reading it while sitting in the ship's beautiful salon, sipping a glass of chilled champagne.  The article went into great detail about this man's abuses of his brigade in Iraq.  Particularly interesting was a section about the way the colonel treated women and the very disparaging remarks he made about them, particularly the ones who were forced to serve with him.

Anyway, things sort of blew over for awhile after that article ran.  But yesterday, I was feeling bored, so I started doing some random Googling.  And... wouldn't you know it?  I found my husband's old nemesis again.  No, it wasn't another scathing article about his poor leadership style or abusive tendencies.  It wasn't an obituary or evidence that he had found a high ranking position working for the government...  No, indeed.  It seems our old buddy the colonel is now looking for a woman.  He's listed on a dating site for people over 50.

I called it months ago when I determined that things would be tough for this man's family.  I privately figured his wife would have finally had enough of him and dumped his ass.  Evidently, I was right.  Either that, or he's rather boldly cheating on her.  I'm guessing that they split up, though.

The photo of the colonel is appealing enough.  If I didn't think he was such a contemptible bastard, I would even think he was attractive.  He looked very patriotic and nice in his blue suit and red tie.  He's let his hair grow out.  His profile is a bit dry and dull, but he looks like a solid prospect.  He makes a good living and is clean and neat.  But woe be unto any woman that gets involved with him because he has no respect for them...  Apparently, a woman is useful only as a way for him to stroke his ego or satisfy his libido.  He doesn't want to work with them or for them and he doesn't respect them as equals.

Of course, he doesn't respect men, either.  He abused anyone who worked for him.  He ridiculed them for whatever flaws he perceived in them... everything from being heavyset to balding to having a "nasty artistic streak".  He ridiculed my husband for being sensitive and artistic, basically implying that he wasn't manly enough.  I find that an ironic observation, coming from a man who constantly has to belittle others in order to build himself up.  When he was last in Iraq, this man had his drivers go through a colleague's trash can, looking for evidence that he was eating sweets.  Then, during staff meetings, he would publicize the guy's food transgressions.  He thought it was hilarious.  I'm sure everyone else felt compelled to agree or risk facing his wrath.

Anyway, I hope any woman who find's the colonel's photo and profile intriguing will take the time to Google him.  Despite this man's professional successes, he truly is a loser.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

No cavities!

I went to the dentist yesterday for my six month check up.  I'm delighted to report there were no unpleasant surprises.  No cavities and I had a nice chat with the hygienist.  I wonder why they always want to talk to you when they're working in your mouth?  It never fails.  And they always seem to ask personal questions like whether or not I have kids or whether or not my husband is a childish jerk.

A couple of years ago, I had a very uncomfortable encounter with a hygienist in Georgia who assumed I don't have kids because my husband is enough of a kid for me.  Not true at all.  If anyone's the kid at our house, it's me!  She didn't seem too happy when I told her my husband was a good guy and an excellent provider.

It's also interesting to see how different dentists operate.  The one I use now is very sharp and competent, but she doesn't check my glands the way one of my old dentists did.

Anyway, at least yesterday's hygienist was very pleasant and didn't delve too much.  And I'm always happy when I don't have dental dramas.  I just have to keep it up until October, a month before we head to Scotland for our 10th anniversary!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Irreverent and funny... and based in truth...

Last night, someone from the Recovery from Mormonism board posted a link to this video...

It's basically a parody of a 1950s style health class film, the very same ones I used to watch when I was growing up, only this one is about Mormons and masturbation.

You might think this video is pure silliness, but it actually was inspired by a real pamphlet written by Mark E. Peterson for young LDS males.  That pamphlet, along with Boyd K. Packer's 1976 speech/pamphlet "For Young Men Only" are two notorious instruction manuals for young men in the church.  Packer's speech from a 1976 General Conference is popularly known as "the little factory" speech.  If you read it, you'll understand why.

All I can say is that I'm glad my husband was a convert for a brief time.  I can only imagine how many sexual hangups these instructions caused for so many people.

The video is hilarious, though... even though it does come from actual church literature.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

James Hooker and Jordan Powers have broken up...

Not long ago, I was watching Dr. Phil and the guest of honor was 41 year old James Hooker and his 18 year old girlfriend, Jordan Powers, along with Jordan's mother, Tammie.  Naturally, Dr. Phil raked Hooker over the coals.  I don't generally agree with a lot of things Dr. Phil says, but I did agree with his take on Hooker's relationship with his former student.  Even if it was technically legal, it was inappropriate and unethical.  I couldn't blame Jordan's mother for being appalled and upset about their relationship.

So today I read that Hooker was just arrested for having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 17 year old girl back in 1998.  I think it's interesting that the young woman has just come out of the woodwork now, but apparently it was enough to get Hooker tossed in jail and Powers back to her senses. She promptly dumped James Hooker, declaring that she had "lost everything" for him.

I couldn't help but notice all the Yahoo! comments directed toward Jordan Powers, declaring the irony that Powers had no issues "breaking up" Hooker's family, but apparently was upset that he had been arrested for inappropriate relations with another young woman years ago.  First off, while I don't think what Powers did was wise, I wouldn't expect her to be especially wise.  She's just 18.

While I'm not a fan of other women chasing married men, when it comes down to it, she was not the one who made a commitment.  James Hooker was the one who promised to be married to his ex wife, not Jordan.  He was the one who strayed.  While I think it's unwise for people to get romantically involved with those who are married, I also think the bulk of the blame of affairs lie with the married person, not the interloper.  If anything, so called "homewreckers" may have sorrowful times to look forward to... because a person who willingly cheats one time will likely cheat again later.

Moreover, I'm delighted that this young woman has come to her senses.  In doing so, she has spared herself immeasurable grief.  She has not brought an innocent child into the world.  She is still very young and has her whole life ahead of her.  I'm sure her mother is very relieved.  I would be if I were Jordan's mom.

I know love can be blind.  But in this case, I'm glad common sense prevailed...  and I hope Mr. Hooker enjoys some time out of society and away from girls on the brink of adulthood.      

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I'm a woman, so why am I against the Violence Against Women Act?

Yesterday, one of my Facebook friends posted a petition about the Violence Against Women Act.  The petition, adorned in an eye catching red and green color scheme, blared about how the Republican women haters wanted to repeal the Violence Against Women Act and set women's rights back 100 years. This law, touted by the likes of wanker Dr. Phil, is all about protecting women and children from domestic violence and sexual abuse perpetrated against them by abusive men.  Sounds good, right?

Not so fast.

Perhaps before I met my husband, I might have been all for the Violence Against Women Act.  Back then, I might have been quick to believe that women are always the victims in domestic violence situations.  After all, many women are smaller and weaker than men, right?

Not so fast.

My husband was a victim of domestic violence when he was with his first wife.  While most of her abuse was verbal and emotional in nature, it was not beyond her capabilities to be physically violent.  She threatened his life on more than one occasion.  For almost ten years, my husband lived with a monster and had nowhere to turn for help.  When I met my husband, he was terrified of his ex wife.  It has taken years for him to recover.

The ex, on the other hand, regularly exploits the fact that she's a woman and that most people will believe her when she claims she's the abused one.  I guess my husband can be grateful that she never filed false charges against him when they were married, although she did tell all her friends that he had abused her.  In over nine years of marriage, I have never seen the terrible man my husband's ex wife has described to other people.  

It's because of my husband's situation that I've had to rethink my opinions on sexist legislation like the Violence Against Women Act.  The fact is, abusers and victims come in both genders.  Not all women are smaller or weaker or less violent than their men are.  Even though statistics show that women are more often victims of violence than men are, the reality is that most men who are victims of violence don't stand up to be counted.  A lot of them fear they will be disbelieved, laughed at, or worse, end up accused and incarcerated when the violence claim is turned against them.

I think I could get onboard with VAWA if it were changed to protect all people.  I'd be all for a "Violence Against People Act".  I think people should stop being so violent and abusive toward each other.  But as a woman, I don't find VAWA comforting.  I find it insulting and unfair that lawmakers think I need special protections more than a man does.  It's not progressive to treat women like they need special help.  As a woman, I don't believe that I can ask for equality and special treatment at the same time.  The two conditions can't co-exist.  What's more, even though my husband is in the Army, I daresay in a physical fight I could probably give him a run for his money.  If I had a weapon, all bets would be off.  Despite his career choice, my husband is a very gentle person who has little propensity toward violence.  I, on the other hand, am made of sterner stuff.  I'm much quicker to anger. I know I'm not the only woman like this and my husband is not the only man like he is.  Thankfully, my husband and I don't have any violence in our relationship.  We almost never fight.          

Just as a fellow human being, I think all people should have somewhere to go for help when they are in an abusive situation.  All people should have a legal remedy to protect themselves against abusive people.  If we had laws that protected both genders, perhaps we'd have fewer children growing up victimized by Cluster B mothers who have exploited the system.  For an example of what I mean, check out this letter I found on's message board.  I was shocked as I read this woman's eloquent but heartbreaking description of what it was like to grow up with a mother affected by Borderline Personality Disorder.  The fact is, there are a lot of women out there who exploit the laws that are meant to give them special protections against men.  And children end up being innocent victims, cut off from loving biological fathers and subjected to the craziness perpetrated by mentally ill mothers.  Good men end up going to jail just because they have the misfortune of being with one of these women who make a mockery of our judicial system.

But dare mention an objection to VAWA and you run the risk of being labeled "anti-woman" or uninformed.  I am a woman myself.  Why would I be anti-woman?  And how can I be uninformed if I have seen firsthand how this law can be misused and twisted.  I am against sexism.  I recognize that abusers come in all shapes, sizes, genders, and walks of life.  Let's combat violence against people, not just violence against women.  I would like to think we've evolved that much.