One Slap at a Time

I am convinced that the reason so many violent and/or abusive people in this world get away with their bad behavior is that we have a tendency to break things down into separate incidents. If you look at a wife beater’s conduct one slap at a time, for example, it should still be considered unacceptable, yes, but it’s a lot easier for society to discount. (That is, unless you are on the receiving end of such treatment.)

When forming an opinion about someone, it’s really important to look at the totality of their actions. If an individual has a bad day and is moderately nasty only once, and shows some form of contrition, that’s one thing. But if that person is moderately nasty the majority of the time, that tends to add up. Working or living with someone like that can be exhausting.

It’s an insidious form of abuse, because to the outside observer, who is seeing only one incident, it may appear that the victim of this abuse is overreacting. But context is important. That’s why it’s so vital to speak up. If you don’t share that history with the wider world, then you enable your abuser.

Think about it. Before police agencies were able to share information about criminals, they were able to get away with a lot more. They could just continue their shenanigans in a different city, county, state or country. Now it’s not quite as easy to turn crime into a career.

We are still lagging behind, though, when it comes to disclosing the behavior of domestic abusers and the small percentage of the mentally ill who pose a danger. Knowledge is power. Until dangerous behavior is shared among various social agencies, there is no way we’ll be able to reduce the number of tragedies that occur every single day.

The system is broken. It needs to be fixed. That needs to be a priority. How many more people need to die before it becomes one?



4 thoughts on “One Slap at a Time

  1. Angiportus

    So true. You could have been talking about my parents. Don’t get me started. One is dead and the other just starting to clue up. And the long view into the past is a mighty ugly one. What the neighbors and teachers and so on can do, that’s for the next generation to figure out I guess….

  2. lyn sutton

    How often does the abuser use this to justify the abuse…”It was ONLY one slap or it ONLY lasted…__seconds, minutes, hours, …years.” Death by a thousand cuts is still death in the end and over time it’s a slow form of torture. It breaks you down and speaking may put you at risk of further victimization by the perpetrator and those turned to (i.e. family, judicial system, various social agencies) for help. I’m not saying don’t speak up… I’m saying be prepared to speak louder and longer to anyone who will listen when those you expect to help add salt to the wounds. If you’re a victim… Don’t give up…Speak up. And If you’re a witness, offer your voice and avoid the associated guilt and worry that the victim might learn you knew and didn’t help.

    Ranting advice from one who’s been on the receiving end of 999 cuts and avoided the final cut but not the scars.

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