Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Silent Brutality of False Love

The Silent Brutality of False Love

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. ~Tenneva Jordan

On the outer layer of this quote, it’s nothing more than an analogy for a mother who cares more to feed those around her than to eat herself. But if you dig deeper into the quote and study it for a moment, you’d understand that it houses the essence of womanhood and the purest definition of what role women play on this earth as the careta
kers of everyone and everything.

In honor of Mother’s Day I wanted to speak out against one of the most heinous crimes against humanity… that crime being domestic violence.

In my household growing up I thankfully didn’t witness domestic violence, though my mother was a victim of it’s effects at the hands of the sperm donor who contributed to my creation… a poor excuse for
a man who talked more with his hands than his slurred drunken stupor of a speech.

My mother, in keeping with the strength that she’s displayed throughout her life, simply walked away from the abuse after birthing my brother as a teenager. To this day she’s unquestionably the strongest woman I’ve ever met. And I’m grateful to her that she found the inner-strength to walk away when she did, thus sheltering us from a painful everyday existence that millions of people call a normal family life.

Mother’s Day Mom… I love you!

Unfortunately domestic violence was very much a part of my world outside of the home, where the machismo dominated world of Kingsbridge introduced me to that, “Keep your bitch in check,” mentality that is still very prevalent today, perhaps even more so.

I hit a girl for the first time when I was fifteen-years-old and I still carry the guilt around in my heart to this day, something I often speak to the youth about. It’s a guilt you simply never escape and one made worse for me due to the fact that I now have three daughters of my own, whom I’d give my life to protect from ever experiencing this type of damage.

Sadly, the statistics say that one in three females will experience domestic violence in their lifetime… meaning I might have to kill another man one day for doing the exact same thing I did as a youngster.

hen I close my eyes and think about the abuse I inflicted on the young girls I dated as a teenager, I vividly recall trying to pull one of my ex-girlfriends out of cab, through the open window – by her hair – her crime: wanting to go out with friends on a Friday night.

If it were a movie, the soundtrack would’ve been of her screams coupled with the laughter I heard in the background, compliments of my boys on Bailey Avenue… Yo
u see in our neighborhoods this was not only acceptable behavior, it was expected behavior.

And it’s these kinds of memories that are an inescapable part of my life, my life sentence for my unjust behavior against young women.

The mental, verbal and physical abuse we expose our future mothers to is as much responsible for the declination of our communities and the destruction of our families as anything else discussed behind closed doors.

So why on God’s green earth would I put myself out there and expose myself as a batterer?

Well for one thing, I haven’t laid my hands on a woman in an inappropriate manner since my first daughter’s birth – she’ll be nineteen-years-old come January.

And secondly, because I have a duty and responsibility to speak out against the atrocious and damaging behavior that continues to victimize those we should be protecting the most… our women.

I also speak out against domestic violence in hopes of raising awareness amongst young men about the true effects of this type of behavior
and how their actions will follow them; even haunt them for a lifetime in hopes of dissuading them from participating in this barbaric behavior.

The statistics are staggering with an estimated 1.3 million women falling victim to domestic violence each year. And an estimated 4 to 10 million children witnessing domestic violence annually, forcing them into a life they now see as normal, which leads to repeated behavior and a never-ending cycle of violence against women.

At its worst, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that three women and one man are murdered by their intimate partners each day. Meaning each day four people are murdered due to a false love gone horribly wrong. In 80% of the cases, of a woman killing her male spouse, there was domestic violence perpetrated by the man.

How’s that for a thin line between love and hate?

And while all of these statistics prove that we’re certainly failing to protect our women. Of far greater concern to me are the statistics you never hear about. The silent sufferers who never dare to reach for the phone, who don’t have the strength to seek help or to walk away as my mother did, for fear that they’ll become one of the three women murdered every day in the United States.

Of far greater concern to me is the lack of the communities concern when they turn a blind-eye
or deaf ear to women being beaten on a daily basis in plain view of the world. Are we still simply standing around laughing? Are we turning our television volume up in order to pretend we don’t hear the woman next door crying out for help? Are we acting as if we don’t see that young girl being choked on the corner by her overzealous boyfriend who’s being told by his homeboys to, “Keep his bitch in check?”

At some point we all have to get involved and we all ha
ve to become a part of the solution or run the risk of being a part of a seemingly never-ending problem. At some point we have to realize that if we don’t step in, speak up and speak out, that we’re just as much at fault as the man actually doing the beating. And at some point we have to realize that most men who beat their women often turn their anger and aggression on their children next.

In the past month, a far more horrific and disturbing trend has reared its monstrous head in which two infants have been murdered by their divorcing fathers. Last month in San Bernardino County, Stephen Garcia killed his eight-month-old baby Wyatt. And a few weeks later in Meridian Idaho, Nicholas Bacon, shot and killed his nine-month-old baby Bekm.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence is speaking out about what it sees as a legal system that leaves it at the discretion of the judge to either believe or discount a victim’s story of abuse, regardless of the evidence presented.

In the case of baby Wyatt, court transcripts state that the, “judges reacted with disbelief when his mother Katie Tagle presented them with evidence of death threats against her son by his father.” Shortly thereafter baby Wyatt was murdered.

It was another tragic end to the brutality of love gone wrong.

For information about domestic violence please visit the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and get involved. You honestly might help save a life.

Ivan Sanchez is the author of Next Stop: Growing up Wild-Style in the Bronx (Touchstone – Simon & Schuster, 2008). The book is the first memoir released by a major publishing house written by a Puerto Rican from the Bronx. Sanchez is also the co-author of It’s Just Begun: The Epic Journey of DJ Disco Wiz, Hip Hop’s First Latino DJ (powerHouse, 2009). He was awarded the National Novel honors for his first fiction offering and is currently working on several new books about NY Latinos. He is also the co-host of Rebel Radio on Urban Latino Radio.


  1. Great insight. We must learn to respect and understand each other and this is true for every single type of relationship. Son-mother, mother-daughter, sister-father, father-daughter, etc. This will calm the domestic violence issues.

    Thanks Ivan.

  2. I come from an abusive marriage. It took me 15 years to realize my husband did not take my power away--I gave it to him. I live in a country where women have freedom to choose, equal rights and resources. So many women around the world do not.

    I"m perplexed by the collective female consciousness. Thousands of years of subservient imprinting remains. One only needs to look at the beautiful, rich, talented celebrity females who despite their finanical security, tolerate abuse.

    Why? Financial dependancy does not tether them.

    It is refreshing to hear from a man who 'awakened' from his unconscious behaviour and is 'person' enough to admit his past wrongs.

    A bow and a courtsey to you, Ivan.


  3. Someone on facebook asked me why I participated in this type of behavior... I wanted to share my answer here:

    "I think it was a combination of misguided anger being redirected at someone close to me… Treating a person in the worst way knowing they’d always forgive me. Believing that this “learned” behavior had a place in society due to my own immaturity. Wanting to be like all of the older fellas in the neighborhood… emulating the behavior of my cousins and older brother who I looked up to, respected and wanted to be like… I was also trying to control these young girls due to my own lack of self confidence… just a bunch of things culminating into some very, very unacceptable and hurtful behavior. As I said, when I think of some of the things I did today – I immediately get sick to my stomach… and I continue to tell the young men I’m around that they will harbor that guilt for a lifetime… It never leaves, and perhaps it never should… part of the punishment for the crime!" - Ivan Sanchez