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Pampering abusers not way to end cycle

link Clyde Davis

Local columnist

When the mediocre musical artist Chris Brown made his much publicized attack on Rhyanna a couple of years ago, there was a brief public outcry and response, my favorite piece of which involved a professional hockey player who rented television time to invite Brown to come and abuse him, at any location in the U.S. or Canada the rap performer might choose.

Brown never accepted the challenge, preferring to reserve his physical aggression for women weighing in the neighborhood of 100 pounds.

Recent events, this time in the world of athletics, have once again raised the banner of domestic abuse, awareness of which is also a focal point for October.

I remember a conversation once in the mid-1980s with a dear friend of mine from high school who was attempting to explain her husband's (now ex) anger issues toward her and her children by the fact that he "had had a difficult life." That only held water for so long ... about a year later she saw the light. I can't help but wonder if her current hard line right wing stance isn't somehow a reaction to her attempts to be open minded back then.

Abusers are not manly, whatever their physique might be — witness the recent professional football players involved. They are gutless, frightened little people who must take out their anger on those smaller and weaker.

In fact, to my surprise, one of the most diminutive, effeminate men I ever met was divorced by his wife because he had a habit of physically abusing her. In that case, she was even tinier than he, and I guess there was no one else he could dominate.

October is a month that culminates in the celebration of scary stuff, in a purely fun way, for the most part. However, numerous women and children, and in fewer cases men, live in true frightful situations, which revolve around domestic abuse. Growingly, the problem also touches on the abuse of the elderly, perhaps because more people are living longer.

I am, personally, in favor of stiffer, very much stiffer, penalties. I'm not against some way of figuring out how to mark proven abusers for life, so that everyone who encounters them will know exactly what kind of person they are dealing with. Harsh, on the surface, but remember that abuse is a pattern and people tend to take that pattern into new relationships.

The cycle can be ended, but it won't be ended by pampering the abuser.

Clyde Davis is a Presbyterian pastor and teacher at Clovis High School. He can be contacted at:

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