A Letter To The Mother Of My Abuser

Flickr / Ludovic Bertron
Flickr / Ludovic Bertron

Dear ______,

Your son and I were really happy together for a long time. We lived together, had sex every day, left each other sweet messages on each other’s pillows, cooked together every night, and were just plain happy for a long time. I loved his friends and family, all of whom welcomed me with open arms. You were so kind to me from the first time we met and offered me a lot of the aspects of a mother-daughter relationship that my own mother and I lacked. You texted, called, sent gifts, included me in everything, and treated me like I was a permanent member of the family.

You and I had such a great relationship, in fact, that I didn’t hide it from you when he started becoming abusive. It was emotional and verbal at first, and his coldness surprised us both, but you said “be patient, it’ll change.” It changed for the worse and there were bruises on my neck and face, untreated concussions, and fractured ribs for the next few months. My anxiety and depression worsened significantly as a result. I stopped eating, I become nervously obsessive, stopped being social, and my panic attacks became more frequent (“provoking” him further). When I was submissive and understanding, he was condescending but content. When I challenged him at all (“I can’t support you financially, you need to work.” “Did you take $20 out of my wallet? For weed?”), he reacted in extremes and I was left bruised and bloody.

No one noticed, not even our housemates or my family, and I alienated anyone suspicious of him lest they challenge my choice to stay with your son. One day, though, I had an extremely severe panic attack from exam stress and when he walked in on me sobbing in the fetal position, he began kicking me in my fractured ribs, infuriated by how “pathetic and weak” I, a woman who has long suffered from anxiety, PTSD, and depression, was to him. So I did it. I kicked him out.

I was sobbing as I locked him out of the house. He screamed and raged. I ignored all his excuses and reasons and insults. He broke the door and windows. He stormed away, returned, stormed away all while I hid in the closet. He disappeared and sweet, loving texts appeared on my phone as if nothing had happened. I ignored them. I collected all his things as quickly as I could, called a friend, and we left everything on his lawn as quietly as we could the next day. He heard us and came out, raging and screaming insults, but we ran.

I called you and told you what had happened, how he had hurt me. I expected you to reassure me, comfort me, tell me I’d done the right thing, and that you would get him counseling. You didn’t. You told me that if I was going to abandon him then fine, you were done with me. You turned cold in an instant.

It took several months before I finally expelled him from my life. There were brief bouts of good behavior and promises followed by glaring reminders of your son’s clear mental illness. I discovered that he had done this before. This behavior was not unique to me, but to him. He was at fault. I had not brought this on myself, on him, as he had claimed.

A year later, I’m very happy with someone new and your son and I haven’t talked in a very long time, but given his erratic behavior, I guard myself very closely, especially online. When we broke up, your son hacked my e-mail, Facebook, iCloud, Tumblr, and Instagram looking for evidence of crimes against him that I had not committed. He posted messages online about how fake I was, how much he missed me, what a whore I was, and how he had ruined the best thing that had ever happened to him. I change my passwords regularly as a result and about bimonthly, I monitor his online presence to make sure nothing slanderous pops up. I started doing it less and less, certain that he had directed his energy elsewhere, until a picture showed up. I recognized it instantly.

Your son posted a picture of my rear end, bent over, with his semen on my back. No identifiable marks or my face are visible in the picture, but I know my body, and I knew it was me. I had no idea he’d ever taken the picture.

I contacted you immediately. I explained to you what had happened, provided you with the URL, and asked that you convince your son (who is 26 but lives with you) to take it down. I did so politely and kindly. I said I didn’t know why he’d have that, have kept it, or post it over a year after we broke up. I said I didn’t understand and was hurt, but all I wanted was for it to be removed. You called me a slut. You said, “What kind of woman lets someone take a picture of her like that?” You called me a “dumb cunt” and said to never contact you again.

I’m a very forgiving, understanding person. I truly am…but fuck you. There’s no understanding to do in this scenario. It is women like you who are setting our gender as a whole back daily. You are enabling and indirectly encouraging abusive behavior. You didn’t just remain silent; you actively shamed a victim of abuse and harassment. You do realize I could’ve had your son locked up for many, many years for what he’s done, right? Compassion for you and a hatred of the American justice system (as a family member of ex-convicts) was what stopped me, and although I’m still confident in that decision, how could you not see that your son is going to end up in prison eventually if you don’t start offering him psychological help rather than enabling him? He can get better; in fact, I really hope he does, but you are setting him back.

People like you are not just anti-feminist, you’re anti-human. You’re participating in a societal trend that makes it OK to treat women badly, to treat abuse victims badly, to treat people badly. It’s one thing to ignore abuse, but to condone it, to participate in it? Fuck you and everyone else like you. I really hope something or someone changes the sad, gray way you see the world, and I pray that it happens fast.


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