Monday, August 2, 2010

The Mel Gibson Tapes Show Hate on Both Sides

My heart goes out to any woman who is physically abused, or emotionally abused, for that matter. I have been on the receiving end of both physical and emotional abuse. The way Mel Gibson speaks to the mother of his baby is all too familiar to me. I did not egg on my man (the father of my child). His imagination and jealousy were much more dangerous than anything I could possibly say to him. When he saw other men look at me, he accused me of shaking my ass when I walk. I defy one (sane) person to catch me wiggling my rear unless I'm dancing, and I'm getting too old for public ass shaking.

My marriage was short-lived. Once the physical abuse occurred, I could no longer consider this man to be my best friend. I walked on egg shells as long as we shared living space. I'd been raised by fighting parents; I wasn't willing to subject my son to this environment, so I left.

My exhusband had a gambling addiction. In addition to dealing with abuse, my financial situation took a nosedive as a married woman. We could not afford a tree during my son's first Christmas. Severing the partnership with this man became a no-brainer, once I could finally digest the idea that we couldn't be a family.

When a woman leaves her abusive husband, she must give up the dream of a happy marriage. She must also decide to separate her child from the man she probably still loves, in spite of his terrible behavior. Love rarely dies overnight. Although outsiders might wonder why it takes a woman so long to leave her abuser, leaving isn't easy. As the dream dies, the woman must quit thinking of herself as a team member; in order to survive, she can no longer put her partner first.

In my case, calling the police would have destroyed our team. I was never "beaten," but I was hit by a man twice my weight, and one time I flew across the room. I felt sorry for this man whose father beat him most of his life. I wanted to help him have a good life.

But I was unable to improve his life, while he was destroying mine. He'd fly into a rage if he came home from work and saw that I'd failed to open all of the windows (all but one). Because I feared that anything I said would make matters worse, I'd shut up. If I did not participate in the argument, this man who had vowed to love me through good times and bad, would harass me for not speaking.

It took me two years to get it together to leave the marriage. Although he hadn't raised his hand to hit me for over six months, calling me the C-word in front of our son was the last straw for me.

Would I have stayed longer if our financial situation had been better?
 I had three people to consider when I made my decision. Would I have stayed longer if my husband were famous, if we had a lifestyle that was difficult to give up?

Life improved after I left. Although we were near poverty for awhile, depending on myself for income was far easier than depending on the person who'd vowed to honor me. In addition to money issues, life in general got easier because I was only dealing with one child, instead of two (or one emotionally immature person).

Back to Mel Gibson. There is some funny stuff going on with these doctored tapes. I call them "doctored" because I've heard some of his same words on more than one tape. In spite of all the guessing and over-analyzing that the TV pundits do, here's what I KNOW about Mel Gibson's unraveling relationship:

1. Mel is unraveling;
2. Mel's behavior is unacceptable, no matter what this woman might have done;
3. Mel comes across as a bigoted woman hater on these tapes; there's no hiding sexism here;
4. Mel will probably kill someone, if somebody doesn't force him to become accountable.
5. At least some of these tapes were designed to entice Mel to react badly.
6. The number of tapes is overkill.
7. No one knows Oksana's motivation for making all the tapes;
8. The public doesn't know exactly how much Oksana had tried to get help from the police before she released these tapes.

The frightening hostility in Mel's voice brings back bad memories. I am an advocate for women, especially battered women. But while Oksana was making all those tapes, she could have been packing her belongings and getting her child ready to leave. These tapes demonstrate deep hostility on both sides. These tapes show horrible cruelty on the part of Mel, but I also question the motives of Oksana. I don't understand what kind of woman exposes the ugly flaws of the man she once loved to the public, especially when he's the father of her child.

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