Today marks another installation of Femme Writes, started by Shine and Marie. This month’s topic is physical and mental abuse and, as I thought about it, I wondered what personal experience or insight I could possibly contribute. With one glaring exception, I’ve been lucky enough to date guys who wouldn’t dream of any kind of abuse, whatsoever. Then I realized that I was looking at only one side of the topic.
I’m in no way trying to minimize the abuses that can come from a romantic relationship. And the posts today at Femme Writes capture those feelings and repercussions perfectly – unfortunately.
But abuse doesn’t always come from a significant other. It can also come from other women.
Think of some of the recent bullying incidents that have been in the news. Bullying is a whole issue in and of itself, and I’m in no way qualified to speak to all mentalities behind it, but with girls it’s often a mental and emotional game – that’s rapidly progressing to the physical sphere. It’s spreading rumors, ostracizing, name-calling.
If you hear that you’re fat, ugly, stupid, a slut, or whatever the insult du jour is, enough times, it gets harder and harder to not believe it. When your peers try to convince you every day that you’re nothing, you might wake up one day to find yourself convinced.
To the bullies, it’s a game of making one person feel less, so that they can all feel more. To the victim, it’s a downward spiral into zero self-esteem and self-worth. One that can take a lifetime to come out of.