October 10, 2011
Going downhill fast on August 17, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
I have dated this younger guy (W) on and off for 2 years now. I’m 25. He treats me much better now but there are still some major issues to be resolved. So I asked for some “space” to think about the relationship. Meanwhile I met this nice guy friend M and he asked me out for dinner. When W found out what happened he just flipped and threatened me. He paged me 5 times during that dinner. He said I’m a slut and I cheated on him. (But M and I are really just friends having a nice conversation, no flirting or any of that sort.) W said I’m not allowed to have guy friends unless he meet them first (to make sure they’re just friends). I know I should have called W to let him know I was going out for dinner ahead of time first, but I just want to have some friends. So after a lengthy late night confrontational call I promised W not to have any guy friends and not to meet M until we sort out the relationship. Am I wrong here?
W has always been a very emotional guy. I’m seriously considering ending this relationship but he said he wouldn’t. I know he loves me a lot and can be very caring. He said I’m “the one.” But sometimes he scares me. I loved him a lot too and have given up a lot of opportunities for him. I feel very bad to end this relationship because we have gone through a lot of things together. He said I ‘m taking advantage of him because he wants the relationship more than I do now. He said he cannot end this relationship in a normal way. What is his cannot be someone else. I want to end this relationship in a peaceful way but he won’t. How should I handle this?
I really need some help BG. Please advise.
– Scared and Confused
BG flies to the rescue after the jump!
March 21, 2011
Not just desserts from June 8, 1998…
Readers will recall that Brad’s original predicament vaulted into Of the Week status the moment he recounted that the girl who wanted to hang out, hold hands, snuggle — and just be friends – went so far as to bake him a cake. (Thus serving up, for Brad, immense confusion, and for Breakup Girl, a veritable dessert tray of metaphors.) This week, the frosting thickens.
Dear Breakup Girl,
Since I was your Predicament of the Week, I figured that just maybe you would like to know how everything has been going in my twisted little world lately. Where to start? It started when I made the huge mistake of deciding to bake chocolate chip cookie bars for Lynore. My feeling was this: she baked for me, then I can surely bake for her. Well, I took them to her after school one day. They were still warm. She ate five of them, I think, but only said “thank you” one time. In the meantime, her friends were eating them, and one of her friends (Kelli, who doesn’t come into play after this point, I swear) said that she wanted to marry me. Amber and Tina talked about how wonderful the food was, and how wonderful I was to have baked it. Not one more word from Lynore, though.
Then Stu dumps that new stupid girl and runs right back to Lynore. Lynore says sure, and leaps into his open arms. In fact, to escape her paranoid abusive mother, she moves in with Stu and his family! WHY NOT? Makes sense, RIGHT? I, of course, managed to mention to her that she was making a stupid mistake. Tina did the same thing, since Tina HAD DATED Stu, and she KNOWS what kind of person Stu is. Lynore just got this dreamy look in her eyes and said, “That’s debatable.” Well, I snapped. I said something about her intelligence being debatable, and I drove off very very fast. So now, let’s push Lynore aside for the moment. She’ll be back, though.
November 24, 2010
Teen Mom’s Amber Portwood has dealt quite a few blows, physical and emotional, to her oafish fiance-ish, Gary Shipley. This we know — cameras were rolling! — and this we cannot excuse. But this example has, like many before it, provoked the question: is female-on-male violence on the rise?
Today at Salon.com, BG’s alter ego tackles the answer. And suggests, in the process, that it’s not the most helpful question to be asking in the first place. In short: females have always been violent, towards men and otherwise. Specific DOJ data points show that when it comes to certain types of intimate partner violence, rates of certain types of aggression can be equal or mutual between men and women. (And neither is to be justified.) But: men are far more likely to put their female partners in the hospital, and men are far more likely to commit the ongoing, deeply damaging form of abuse known as battery, or even domestic terrorism.
That is not to say MEN SUCK; WOMEN WIN THE VICTIM PRIZE. Not at all. It’s to say that false equivalence between male and female violence is unhelpful and un-illuminating, possibly even damaging to all victims. As Lynn writes: “But when it comes to pop culture and public discourse, [female violence] needs to be discussed on its own face and in its own context, with its own set of causes and implications, not as a game of one-upmanship.”
Read the rest here. And if you — female or male — feel at all unsafe in your relationship, please click here.
July 28, 2010
Serious stuff from BG’s alterego, capeless, on GritTV.
Further/background reading here.
Tags: dating violence
, domestic violence
, Elizabeth Miller
, reproductive coercion
, sex ed
, sexual health
, The Nation
June 16, 2010
Here’s an overdue and essential shoutout to Tiger Beatdown’s supersmartie Sady Doyle, who here in the Atlantic nails precisely what’s cluelessly, even callously, off the mark in Caitlin Flanagan’s recent anti-”hookup culture” screed. Unencumbered by sociohistorical accuracy, Flanagan suggests that today’s girls pine for boyfriends — nu? this is new? — as a welcome source of escape from the disappointing, depressing, even damaging wham-bam of casual sex. But can a shining-armor boyfriend really take them away from all that? Doyle: not necessarily. “Flanagan’s biggest error is in suggesting that the Boyfriend Story, or boyfriends in general, are of necessity healthier than hook-ups: safer, kinder, less risky. This isn’t an issue of opinion; it is actually, and demonstrably, untrue,” she writes Boyfriends — like marriage, BG might add — are not magical. They are not a panacea. Sometimes they hurt worse.
Doyle [with emphasis added by kowtowing BG]:
If the facts backed Flanagan up — if withholding sex for boyfriends could actually solve the problem of girls being hurt by sexual partners — I would join the crusade against the hook-up culture tomorrow. But boys aren’t treating girls badly because they have sex; they’re treating them badly because we live in a culture that encourages disrespect toward girls. A man who dislikes women as a group does not change simply because he becomes intimate with one particular woman, and telling girls that love is the key to ending a man’s hurtful behavior plays into many of the most pernicious myths about abuse. If we tell young women that having a boyfriend is the way to stay safe and be respected, what do they do if their boyfriends become unsafe? Most stay. Most believe in the Boyfriend Story long after it starts to hurt.
May 27, 2010
We all know the fable of the conniving woman — call her the femme fertile — who schemes to “trap” a man by “accidentally” getting pregnant. This story at TheNation.com from BG’s alter ego, on an issue we’ve long been tracking here, turns that tale, and our understanding of “unwanted” pregnancy, on its head. It’s an important read for anyone interested in, or touched by, domestic violence or sexual abuse, especially when they — all too often — overlap.
Leyla W. couldn’t figure out where her birth control pills kept going. One day a few tablets would be missing; the next, the whole container. Her then-boyfriend shrugged and said he hadn’t seen them. She believed him—until she found them in his drawer. When she confronted him, he hit her. “That was his way of shutting me up,” says Leyla, who is in her mid-20s and living in Northern California. (For her safety, Leyla wishes to withhold her last name and hometown.) He also raped her and, most days, left her locked in a bedroom with a bit of food and water while he went to work. (A roommate took pity and let her out until he came home.) Thanks to the missed pills, she got pregnant twice, the second time deciding against abortion. (more…)
February 1, 2010
February is Dating Violence Awareness Month.
Start with this, and probably this, too; we’ll be back with more.
January 26, 2010
We’ve seen, earlier today, the troubling numbers on teen pregnancy. Now we have to ask: how many of those pregnancies were coerced? Not just “unwanted” or “unplanned,” but actually forced? Forced — contrary to cliche — by the men, on the women?
In the first larger quantitative study of its kind, researchers at UC Davis have found (as they have in smaller studies, which BG covered here) that “young women and teenage girls often face efforts by male partners to sabotage their birth control or coerce or pressure them to become pregnant — including by damaging condoms and destroying contraceptives. These behaviors, defined as ‘reproductive coercion,’ are often associated with physical or sexual violence.” The study, published in the January issue of te journal Contraception, also finds that “among women who experienced both reproductive coercion and partner violence, the risk of unintended pregnancy doubled.” [Emphasis added.] Here, I’ll add it again: DOUBLED. This is possibly the clearest link yet established between domestic violence and really, really, really unwanted pregnancy.
The researchers surveyed over 1200 women aged 16-29 (so yeah, not just teens) who sought care at the five family planning clinics in Northern California. More than half the women surveyed reported physical or sexual partner violence. One-third of those who reported partner violence also reported pregnancy coercion or birth control sabotage.
As BG’s alter ego reported here several months ago, based on earlier data: “The problem is so widespread…that public-health advocates are working to cast teen pregnancy in a whole new light: not as a measure of ‘promiscuity,’ or a failure of cluefulness, but rather as a canary in the coal mine of partner violence.” In other words, these girls don’t just need to be reminded of how to put a condom on a banana. They need to be asked whose idea this pregnancy was, and whether they thought it was a good one. Oh, and if anyone at home is hitting them. Or at least lying about pulling out.
What’s going on? In all modern fables, isn’t the girl the one who wants to get the guy to get her pregnant? Well, first of all, no, not all women in relationships are against getting pregnant. But not all of those women are in healthy relationships. And here’s the guy side: “In one 2007 study, some boys acknowledged outright that they insisted on condomless sex as a way to establish power over female partners. (There is evidence of analogous male-on-male sexual violence, but it hasn’t been studied in depth.) Other research found that some men took a woman’s request for a condom as an accusation of cheating, or an admission that she had slept around or strayed. And for some, yes, the goal is fatherhood — but not so much of the ‘involved’ variety; rather, it’s a desire — as with Janey’s ex — to mark one woman as ‘mine’ forever. Or, [according to one anti-violence advocate] young men in gangs say, ‘I’m not gonna be around forever. I’ve gotta leave my legacy.’”
This is not NEWnews, as a phenomenon; those who work with teens have known about it for years. Only now, finally, is it drawing attention as a serious public health issue. Let’s hope, then, that the real legacy is this: “It doesn’t make sense to talk [at school] about substance abuse use this week and pregnancy next week and STDs the following week and then healthy relationships the week after that,” said UC Davis researcher Elizabeth Miller. “We need to be talking about how they’re all linked together.”
November 4, 2009
Rihanna speaks out for the first time since that whole business with what’s-his-name, in the latest issue of Glamour:
“Domestic violence is a big secret. No kid goes around and lets people know their parents fight. Teenage girls can’t tell their parents that their boyfriend beat them up. You don’t dare let your neighbor know that you fight. It’s one of the things we [women] will hide, because it’s embarrassing. My story was broadcast all over the world for people to see, and they have followed every step of my recovery. The positive thing that has come out of my situation is that people can learn from that. I want to give as much insight as I can to young women, because I feel like I represent a voice that really isn’t heard. Now I can help speak for those women.”
March 10, 2009