Below is a list I originally published online about a decade ago when I produced and ran the website “Artemis: A Site For Survivors of Domestic Violence.” This was an educational website for survivors and victims which offered an international message board with over hundred thousand visitors. There are three lists below: Batterer, Victim and then what it is like as a Survivor.
You might be a Batterer if:
- You’re a misogynist. You love putting women down, making sure they know their place. You often call women bitch, slut, whore or cunt.
- You’re perfect. Your mother sticks up for you in everything you do. She constantly reminds you how perfect you are as is your family. You never do anything wrong.
- You think apologies are for sissies. Basically, she is the one who should apologize because if she would have done what you told her, things never would have gotten out of control.
- You can’t rape the willing. If she is your woman, she owes it to you to put out whenever you are ready, willing and able. Otherwise, you can always go and get it somewhere else.
- You enjoy putting women in their place. Sometimes you just got to teach those women a lesson. They seem to think they own the world. You will show them a thing or too.
- You believe kids need to be seen not heard. How many times have you told that woman to keep those kids quiet? One of these days, you are going to teach them all a big lesson they will never forget.
- You feel cops are idiots and haven’t got a clue. Every time you have had to go up against a police officer, they got the facts all wrong. Besides…usually, the laws don’t make sense anyway.
- You are the king of your castle. You expect to have your dinner fixed when you want it, the way you like it. You do not need to pick up your clothes, take a bath, fix things around the house, or mow the lawn unless you feel like it. And you had better have that beer in your hand when you ask for it.
- You feel your old lady is constantly on the rag. All she seems to do is nag, bitch and moan about this thing and that. Sometimes you got to teach her a thing or two about life.
- You are not going to let anyone tell you what to do. If these 9 statements have anything to do with you, that is just too damn bad. If people would listen to you, there would never be any trouble.
If he says (or acts) one or all of the responses above, then he is definitely a batterer.
You may be a Victim if:
- You spend the majority of your day preparing for him. You try to get the house the way he likes it, the food the way he wants it, dress somewhat decent, and keep the kids occupied and quiet when he comes home.
- You can’t seem to do anything right. He constantly has to remind you of how things are going to be. You can’t go to the grocery store by yourself, can’t pay the bills or manage a checking account; you can’t even do the laundry the right way. All the financial problems are all your fault.
- You are fat, lazy and ugly. Some other woman is much better at cleaning herself up. She is sexier than you too. Every time he looks at you, it makes him sick to his stomach. No one would ever want to go out with someone like you anyway, so why do you even try?
- You are a horrible parent. You can never seem to get those kids to shut up. They are screwing up in school because you haven’t been paying attention. One of them is wetting the bed constantly because you haven’t taught them how to go to the bathroom properly.
- You are lousy in bed. Every other woman he has fucked has been much better than you. He is sick and tired of having to teach you everything over and over again. You don’t put out enough and you don’t make him feel like a man.
- You are constantly forgetting things. How many times did he tell you something and you can’t seem to ever get it right? He is going to be forced to teach you a lesson this time.
- You are such a clutz. You keep walking into doors, tripping over toys, and falling over the coffee table. You need to get your eyes fixed!
- You don’t pay enough attention to him. You always want to call your mom or girlfriend when you should be giving him a back rub or something. Those people don’t care about you the way he does. You need to forget about them.
- You haven’t got a clue. You are a stupid, uneducated, ignorant bitch. You really ought to be dead. You’re never going to amount to anything anyway. You’re just a worthless whore.
- You’re such a flirt. You are constantly trying to get other people’s attention. When he wants you to dress like a slut you don’t. But whenever you go anywhere else, you are always dressed to the nines. You just don’t know your priorities.
If he tells you one or all of the responses above, then you are a victim of domestic violence. For help click National Domestic Violence Hotline or call 1800-799-SAFE (7233).
What it looks like when you have left the batterer, and moved on in your life.
You are a Survivor if:
- You refuse to let anyone mistreat you ever again. No one will ever hit you, rape you, or talk to you inappropriately again!
- You are wise enough to know when it is time to ask for help. You realize that you need to talk to a therapist if you are ever going to have a normal life again. You are tired of the nightmares, the panic attacks, the days when you just can’t wake up, and your kids are starting to get on your nerves.
- You know that over means it is a closed slate. Even though he won’t leave you alone; with custody, visitations, legal settlements, or just because he has nothing better to do – YOU have NO intentions of getting back with him now or EVER!
- Your kids are safe but you still worry. They aren’t doing well in school. Sometimes they start acting out, behaving like their dad. You’re not sure if they should still be in their dad’s life.
- You realize it is time to start over. You burn all those old reminders. You contact a career counselor. You fix up your house the way you like it.
- You start finding out who you are. You see that you like collecting those little trinkets. You begin doing needlepoint or crochet. You learn how to cook gourmet or play tennis. You reconnect with old friends, places that you haven’t seen in a while. You enjoy watching the sunrise and set.
- You start thinking about spirituality. You join a yoga class or Tai-chi, maybe a dance class. You might just begin pulling out your old religious book and begin pondering for inspiration or curiosity. You take a walk and feel at peace with yourself.
- You begin to feel like the past was another woman. You start seeing things differently, and begin to wonder how you could ever have been the person you were before.
- You know you are going to make it after all. You begin to start realizing that you can handle anything, after what you have been through in your life.
- You begin to appreciate what you have. Sometimes you wish things were better, wish it hadn’t taken so long to get where you are, wish you hadn’t made all those mistakes. Yet you are on your own, you and the kids are safe, you have a roof over your head and the bills are paid. You know that you are better off where you are now, then where you were before!
If you understand one or all of the responses above and practice what it says, then you are definitely a survivor. Congratulations!!! You made it!!!