Thanks to our girl Judy McGuire for calling my attention to the latest advice column from Salon’s Cary Tennis. A woman writes to Tennis that she’s “in a loving but violent marriage” in which her husband has “only” beat her up a couple of times, including the time he punched and stomped her while she was pregnant. She’s writing to Tennis because she’s upset that the domestic violence hotline she called advised her to leave her husband and she wants to know her other options. Shockingly, Tennis offers her an alternative to getting the f**k out and never looking back, but first he indulges in a little rambling prose.
“In this fictional world you are safe. So I can speak to you one soul to another. I can grant you the freedom to see yourself as the object and creation of your own limitless imagination. Then you are free to inquire: What do you want, O dish thrower? What do you want, O restrainer, kicker, puncher? What is it that you are hungry for?”
What in the holy hell does that mean? Tennis then goes on to suggest that the letter writer give her abusive husband a year to change his behavior while he continues with anger management, she gets anger-management training (because she’s supposed to be somehow responsible?!, and the two of them “work with a therapist to learn interpersonal conflict-resolution skills.” Um, what? This woman’s husband currently uses his fists to resolve conflict and she’s supposed to put up with that for a year while they learn together that violence is not OK? The man punched her and stomped her while she was pregnant — there is nothing she should be doing but getting the hell out and getting a counselor on her own, not working on saving an abusive marriage. But Judy said it best:
“Domestic abusers, like pedophiles, have been proven to be very resistant to therapy anyway. This guy is dangerous and it’s only going to get worse. Instead of flowery prose, this young woman needs calm, reasoned, common sense. Not the pseudo-philosophical ramblings of a frustrated poetry major.”