Domestic Violence: But He Really is a Good Person

How many times have you heard a woman say these words after she’s been abused: “But he really is a good person”. She then goes into all of the things that have been difficult in his life, all of the things that have kept him down and made him a victim.

The Victim Card

As if to say what?  He really doesn’t mean to be a bad person. Just look at his life, the cards were stacked against him. As if to say: Because of his past, he doesn’t have a personal choice in his future actions? As if to say: If those bad things didn’t happen in his life he wouldn’t be the way he is today. Wouldn’t he?

Over and over we have seen statistics and read stories about women who have been caught in the storm of violence perpetrated by a husband or lover—someone she knows intimately.  They sit on their friends’ couches, in their therapist’s office, in a bar, or at a police station, with their bruises, cuts and outward scars. They say things like: “But he really is a good person.  I know he didn’t mean to do it.  He loves me.”

The Past Does Not Dictate the Future

We have to stop and think. We have to stop and think for ourselves. We all make choices. We all have the opportunity to make good choices or bad choices–choices that will eventually affect other people for better or worse.

Have you ever known a person who had difficult or even heartbreaking circumstances growing up, that ended up being a good person who made good choices?  A person who, even under tragic or seemingly hopeless circumstances, lived a life that positively impacted others and the world around them?  In my experience, the answer is a resounding “yes!”  No one really just “ends up” being anything. We all make decisions—based on our past, present, future, or some mindset or belief—but we make them. WE make them.

I have known people whose lives were filled with experiences that anyone would consider atrocities, travesties. Some, by one choice at a time, built a life filled with garbage that they in turn, perpetrated on others. They patterned their lives after their own hurt, betrayal and rejection. I have also known people who intentionally built their lives one step at a time, on goodness and wholeness. They made conscious decisions to not pattern their lives on more of the same, rather, to decisively take back control and make something good out of something very bad. Because of their choices, they live positive lives that impact others and the world around them in constructive ways.

Mistake, Accident, or Choice?

There are people who purposely hurt other people for whatever reasons and it is never acceptable. Do people make mistakes and truly regret them? Yes. Do people hurt other people on accident? No, I don’t believe so. Inflicting harm on another person is always intentional. Whether purposely abusing someone, or by claim of mistake or accident, something in a person acts as a catalyst to reach the point of anger, rage or eventual violence.

No matter how we slice it, we don’t even need to know the reasons why or understand what that catalyst is. What we need to do is run. Run hard, run fast, and encourage our loved ones to do the same. Because today we may see a bruise, a cut or a scar outwardly that will eventually mend. But, tomorrow will most certainly reveal inner damage, psychological trauma and scarring that can last a lifetime.

No, he really isn’t a good person. Every human being has the ability to make choices and he has made very bad ones.

Can good people make bad choices sometimes? Yes, of course, but trying to analyze all of the compartments of a person only complicates things. Let’s be clear on the issue of violence and abuse.

If a man physically and/or psychologically abuses a woman, it is not by accident and it is not by mistake… It is by choice.

Statistics Don’t Lie

Statistics don’t lie. The abuse will repeat itself. Love does not choose to hurt another person we claim to love.  And never forget, it is a choice. He needs help, but you are not the one to give it.  While defending him as a victim, you will only become his victim again.

In the worst cases, the reality is that we may not see the bruises, the cuts or the scars tomorrow… because tomorrow may never come.

© by April McCallum, Destiny’s Women

(Photos by Dave Blume, Meg Yarsh, Pietro Izzo)

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