This past weekend, I discussed the connection between witnessing DV as a child and dangerous adult behavior (like, serial killer dangerous). This is what I do on Saturdays. It’s just how I roll. And that was going to be all. But today I came across this amazing article. And I had to continue the topic but this time to talk about the connection between DV and other violence. When I read this article, I was so grateful that someone had expressed exactly what I’d been thinking all along – and probably what most people in the DV field had been thinking…
‘He’s a batterer,’ I thought when I heard about what George Zimmerman did to Trayvon Martin. The ‘he’ of course being Mr. Zimmerman. I knew it in my gut. My years of work in the DV field have taught me how to identify a batterer, even when I have very little information about a person. To my knowledge, so far, my gut reaction has always been right.
So when my friend told me that Mr. Zimmerman did have a history of DV, I just nodded in agreement, as though I’d already heard this information. I mean, this dude didn’t follow the orders of a 911 dispatcher and got out of his car and followed a child around and then killed this child. Who thinks they have the right to do that?! People who think they’re above other and above the law (batterers), that’s who. Let’s think about even just the first part of this story. George Zimmerman ignored a 911 dispatcher’s advice. He likely did this because he thought he was above dispatch and their advice. If 911 didn’t tell him what he wanted to hear, well, too bad, he was going to do what he wanted to do anyways. Seriously, he claims he thought this guy might be involved in breaking and entering – which is a crime yes, but not, by definition, a violent one. He had no reason to think anyone would get physically hurt if he followed the advice of the dispatcher. And certainly, no one would have died. But he chose to ignore that advice and as a result,
someone a child did die.
Let me be very clear. Individuals who abuse their partners think their beliefs and needs are more important than the people they supposedly love most. So how likely are they to value the needs of people they don’t even know? How likely are they to respect them? How likely are they to consider an alternate explanation to a situation based on another person’s point of view? I’m not saying all batterers are incapable of caring about others. I think some are, or at least they act like they are. But at the end of the day, how many of them would really put someone else’s needs ahead of their own? Especially if doing so did not reward them in some way. Furthermore, all of us are impacted by racism. It, and all other forms of oppression, skew the way we see the world. Abusers are not immune to this. And they are very entitled. They think they have the right to do many things, including harm or even kill others, if it will let them get their way.
And how do they justify their actions? How do they get away with this behavior? They lie, they cheat, they distort and twist the truth. They blame anyone but themselves and they most especially blame their victims. They put on the charm in public and create a (fake) image of themselves as honest, likeable and someone who was just trying to do the right thing.
We can see that Mr. Zimmerman has already been accused of domestic violence and after he was accused, what did he do? He made the victim look like the aggressor. Very convenient to bring that up after the accusation by his ex. And with Trayvon Martin, he said the same thing. Trayvon Martin was the aggressor, Zimmerman claimed, and the legal system swallowed it whole. Now, I’m not saying I know what actually happened that night in Sanford, Florida. I have no way of knowing. I just want to put out there is that it’s possible that Zimmerman duped the system this time in the very same way he duped the system in the past (charges were never filed on him when his ex filed a report). So he likely got away with assaulting his ex and now he very well could have gotten away with killing a child.
How is it that the words of someone with a known history of being accused of violence by multiple people (his cousin accused him of sexual abuse, too – lovely…) are taken at face value in this country? I’m not suggesting we lock up people with violent histories any time they’re accused of something. I believe in fair trials. But I also believe that an entitled, batterer mentality is far more common than our society wants to think it is. I believe entitlement is behind much of the violence in our society and also in the world. And I think we owe it to ourselves, and our children, to come to understand this mentality and the strategies that people with this mentality use to get away with violence and abuse – with murder, even. We need to understand their mentalities and tricks better so we don’t keep getting duped by them. And then maybe one day there will be a lot less violence in this world.