December 9, 2013

Kiss with a Fist

My Skewed ViewThis week's Twisted Mix Tape theme is "I don't just love you, I'm addicted to you."

I know that this is a wonderful opportunity to share "The Perfect Drug" and "Dilaudid," but there's something more important I want to use this mix tape for.

Yes, I'm using Twisted Mix Tape Tuesday as an opportunity to get onto my soapbox.

But this is more than my soapbox. This is about real life, and real people, and real life tragedy.

A few days ago, Chris of Adventures of a Thrifty Mama was murdered by her estranged husband.

She'd filed for divorce, for a second time. He had a history of abuse. But after dropping her request for an order of protection, the police gave him back his guns, and he used them to shoot her, her oldest son, and himself.

Alternative NameI didn't know Chris well. Our paths crossed online more times than I can count, the internet is a remarkably small place sometimes. She was sweet, enthusiastic, motivated... she often made me uncomfortably aware of just how lazy I can be. She was creative and resourceful, and she loved her four children more than anything.

She was trying to sever all ties with her abuser. It was the most dangerous time for any victim of abuse- the time when they are most likely to be killed.

I had an abusive boyfriend once. He roughed me up, sexually assaulted me, and when I tried to cut him out of my life... that was when the death threats started. After a few years, I finally tried to file for an order of protection, but they wouldn't give me one without a police report.

So I tried to file a report, and the police shrugged me off.

Chris had police reports. She had eye witnesses to abusive behavior. Her abuser's actions were well documented, known.

And then he killed her and her son, leaving a four year old, a six year old, and an eight year old orphaned, without their big brother.

So why am I writing about this now? When there's a Mix Tape to play?

I'm writing about it because sometimes, songs can convey more about a situation, about a pattern, than somebody up on their internet soapbox, screaming for somebody to do something.

But the thing is, women often WON'T leave their abusers. A friend of mine- Trisha of, has been fighting for custody of her child since leaving her abuser- from her abuser.

There are so many reasons women stay.

And so many of them are like addiction.

So I'd like to dedicate this mix tape to Chris, and Trisha, and the one in four women who have suffered domestic abuse.

Like addiction, you think you're hooked on something good. But as time passes you see that it's rotten, through and through.

And that's where we'll begin.

First up on the list, "Jane Says." Listen past the cheerful drums, and this is an ominous story about a woman dealing with an abusive relationship. "He treats me like a ragdoll," she says. "She's going away to Spain, when she gets the money saved. I'm gonna start tomorrow. I'm gonna kick tomorrow." The language of addiction fits the story. "She says, I've never been in love. I don't know what it is... I want them if they want me. I only know they want me."

In the beginning, it can seem exciting. Or "fixable." Or just, the way things are. You make excuses. You ignore it. The early stage infatuation begins to shift into outright addiction.

Once the habit is formed, it can be hard to break. So yes, the abuser is hurting you. Yes, you know it's wrong. But you're still making excuses for them. Still in love. Still unwilling to admit how bad things might be.

There comes a point when your friends can see what's happening. Maybe they say something, maybe they're afraid of driving a wedge between you when things are so dark. This song is from the perspective of a friend, trying to get another friend out of an abusive relationship. "You're just a sucker for the ones who use you, and it doesn't matter what i say or do, the stupid bastard's gonna have his way with you." But it takes an even darker turn. It becomes an ultimatum. "He's gonna beat you like a pillow... And if you take him home, you'll get what you deserve." "So don't cry, Delilah. You're still alive, Delilah."

And accepting abuse becomes internalized, habitual. "I think it's because I'm clumsy. I try not to talk too loud. Maybe it's because I'm crazy. I try not to act too proud... They only hit until you cry."

Start at 4:50.
They come up with all sorts of explanations for themselves. "I need you." "I love you." But this is what they really mean. "I need you... to put through the shredder in front of my friends." "I need you to beat to a pulp on a Saturday night." The addiction swings both ways.

Then come the threats. Hints of what might happen to you if you put a toe out of line. If you leave. "His head was found in a driving wheel, but his body never was found."

And this is where it ends. If you don't get out this is where it ends. Just as with addiction, either you live long enough to break away, or it kills you.

And sometimes, it's breaking away that kills you.

Let's think about a culture that glorifies violence. About a world where I can cherry pick songs about spousal abuse, domestic violence, and murder out of thin air. Where there are so many of them that I could fill you up a flashdrive to give you nightmares each night.

Because I've been having a few of my own. Falling asleep thinking about Chris, and her fourteen year old son Isaac, and her three very little kids who survived their mom...

Think about it. Think about what it says about all of us.

Think about our addiction to victim bashing and guns and an endless litany of excuses.

And think about a woman who tried to do everything right, and still couldn't get away from this disease. This disease of violence.

Remember Chris.


  1. I have no words. That is so incredibly heartbreaking and scary. I posted "Love the Way You Lie," and watching the video made me so mad. I thought, why does she stay with him. Well, for all the reasons you listed. Thanks for making a much more intelligent statement on this than I did. RIP Chris. :(

  2. My heart breaks for her, her son, and her surviving children. This is just the most awful news. :(

  3. Thank you for using this post to get on your soapbox.

  4. Thank you for drawing awareness to this tragedy, and to the deeper issues of domestic violence behind it.

  5. Wow. I don't really know what to say. Yes, thank you for using this blog hop to get on your soap box. Domestic violence is a scary thing. Thank you for sharing your story. My heart breaks for Chris & her son & her surviving children. An alum from my high school was also taken at the hands of domestic violence earlier this month. Again I'm speechless.

  6. Lea, thank you for getting on your soapbox. Those songs are dangerous, no matter how catchy their tunes are. I am just so sad.

  7. I'm shaking with rage and crying. Please check your email.

  8. This story is so sad. I wish all victims had the strength to leave when it gets abusive and that when they do, the law would protect them better.

  9. I did not know her, but this is truly horrible and sad on so many levels. You did a wonderful thing by using your blog to honor Chris as well as inform others about the issues and prevalence of domestic violence.

  10. That is beyond words awful. I have no words.

  11. Thank you Lea. Thank you for using your platform for something like this. Ironically (we all know) I picked this topic months ago. But I also knew about Chris and thought what bad timing this was. However you took it and did something with it. My heart is broken for her. I have another friend fighting a stalker, I pray for her constantly because the police are not helping her and I don't want her to be another statistic. You are a good woman. Thank you.

  12. Beyond heartbreaking. Thank you for bringing awareness to this ongoing horror. My heart goes to Chris's surviving children and of course to her and her son.

  13. Your words are pretty powerful here. This is a great tribute to her and a great way to raise awareness - although so many are already aware it's hard/awful to believe there is still any shame or stigma attached. It is posts like this and people talking about it "out loud" that will help those that need to to realize there is a way out. My heart breaks for her and her children and I love that you took this opportunity to highlight Chris' life and tragic situation.

  14. So very powerful. So very tragic. Hopefully this reaches someone who needs to hear it.



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