Saturday, February 18, 2012

It's Saturday. The electrician is here to install our generator (no more filling the toilets from a full bathtub when the powers out for days!). And the carpenter is here to "fix" a couple boards in our kitchen that have turned into small humps.

The men are polite, hard-working, focused on their jobs.

As usual, I'm wondering how they act at home.

The women I've met at the shelter, the research I've done, and what children from violent homes have shown me through their stories, comments, and drawings now make me paranoid about "nice guys."

Batterers usually are "nice guys" outside the home. Some close relatives may question why his victim rarely calls or visits anymore. Why she wears long sleeves or pants when it's hot and humid. Why she seems tense or sad. Many don't because they live in a similar situation.

In general, though, the batterer or the potential batterer (teen date) is an excellent actor and liar. Good at making excuses. Good at isolating his victim from family and friends. Good at convincing her he's a wonderful guy when they first meet. Until she falls in love with him.

I've heard too much to assume that "nice guys" we meet every day treat their women and children well. I wish I didn't feel this way because many of them truly are good men. But you can't know that unless you live with them.

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