Yes , you will not have to look far, in fact you may even have had one to Sunday lunch recently. Abusers come in all shapes. Thousands of women live with abusers they come from all walks of life and for those who can spot them the pattern is very simple. They do not have to be repulsive sex pests in positions of power as we are seeing at the moment . They can be very plausible men, two things protect them, the fact that nobody believes the accuser and secondly they are manipulative people who manage to isolate their victims in all sorts of subtle ways whilst at the same time maintaining that which is most precious to them , the outward sometimes skilfully charming persona. The worst examples of abuse are of course concerning children who do not have the tools to speak out or cry for help. In the case of the allegations against Mr Weinstein, his accusers are vocal women, but even they were not listened too until a really powerful woman spoke out .. full marks to her she has opened a can of worms.
But spare a thought for the victims of the most insidious form of abuse which flourishes behind the front door . The perpetrators are safe when that door shuts and the drip, drip, drip of demolition continues. The victim becomes demoralized, their sense of self-worth is eroded to the point where they become complicit in their own destruction. People even their own families do not want to recognise the uncomfortable truth even when the woman is hospitalised, as a result of the abuser’s violent behaviour, the caring partner will seem the soul of concern , centre stage a hero on the map of his own wickedness.
It is myth to think that this only applies to strong powerful men, abusers are cowards, they are also articulate liars. They are inventive, they believe they are right they do not have pangs of guilt we have seen it again and again. For some reason often financial, women endure this it has always been so, my next book is about well documented abuse of women in the eighteenth century in England . Then, prior to the married woman’s property act marriage was a passport to male dominance only a breath away from abuse , they had control ,complaints were met with scolds bridles, burnings incarnations, and beatings. They had no voice no vote no financial independence the awfulness of constant childbearing.
I am grateful for the hard won life my dead sisters have suffered for me , that is why I run a small group of women who can talk about what is happening to them , they need to be heard , to know they have a voice, to begin to love themselves again and to learn to disconnect from the abuser starting with small practical things …….not engaging……. silence…… distance , containment, your own imaginary firewall.