Good Girls Don't Go To Jail
I hit him out of frustration, or maybe out of love. I hit him because I was scared and confused and hurting, but none of that mattered. The part that mattered is that I hit him. I found out that jail was exactly what I thought it would be. It was the stale cold from a poorly heated building in a Colorado winter and the pinching of the handcuffs on my outer wrists and heels. It was the pit in my stomach as I held back the tears in my mug shot and the hard cringe as I stripped my clothes off for the female officer. Mostly it was the rush of disappointment and confusion as I removed the pink bow from my hair. It reminded me that good girls don’t go to jail.
It was not in the plan to get a domestic violence charge at age seventeen. Unfortunately, sometimes people make plans for us. My boyfriend had devised the perfect one. Nobody wants to be the dumper. The dumper is mean and awful and almost always the bad guy. As the dumper, it’s hard to get much sympathy and you end up wasting valuable time feeling bad for someone else. It requires awkward timing and planning of words and is overall completely undesirable. So rather than deal with all of this, he had decided to cheat. It was the perfect plan. Bill Clinton did it, Tiger Woods did it, even Brad Pitt did it, so why couldn’t he? When Brad Pitt left Jennifer Aniston for Angelina Jolie, girls everywhere professed that Angelina was the worst person in the world for breaking up America’s Sweethearts. The two emotions associated with cheating usually include hatred and pity. Hatred for the homewrecker and pity for the scorned woman. The lesson learned? Cheating is an easy way out. My boyfriend could cheat on me because, naturally, we would all blame the “slut” for hooking up with him. For some reason, society is okay with men’s promiscuity, while simultaneously scorning women for the same actions. So his plan would work. He could cheat on me, and I might cry, but ultimately I would blame her. He knew I would because that’s what society had taught him.
As a woman today, I have to fight for my man. I have to work hard so I am enough for him. Jennifer didn’t have the pursed lips and the rippling muscles that Angelina had. Her flawless face and perfectly kept form was not enough to keep Brad happy, so he was justified in moving on to Angelina. Jennifer probably wasn’t smart enough or kind enough or maybe she wasn’t ready to have his children. I knew that just like Jennifer, I had to be on constant upkeep or my man would leave me. Society has taught me that my appearance is more important than my heart. Behaving like a lady trumps defending my honor. So as a woman, as a humiliated, objectified, and belittled woman, I should have known better. I should have read the evidence of his infidelity and cried myself to sleep knowing that I wasn’t enough for him.
Truth is, I am enough. Just as it isn’t Jennifer Aniston’s fault that Brad wasn’t able to respect his promise, it isn’t my fault either. It isn’t any of our faults, so women, I say, screw society! He cheated and lied. He threw me and pushed me and shoved me. I did what any smart girl would do. I defended myself. It's disgusting that our society today now promotes backing down and blaming ourselves rather than defending what is right. I'm proud to be a strong woman and I'm proud for not allowing his abuse. And the fact that any human being could look at me and say getting arrested is what I deserve is the saddest and most pathetic thing I have ever heard.
The court sentenced me to hours upon hours of counseling, teaching me never to defend myself again. The court taught me that lying, cheating, infidelity, and abuse is okay when it comes from a man and that as a woman I should just deal with it. Stereotypes of women create an unsafe and very unequal environment for the female population. Until society is willing to level out the playing field, our culture will continue to see violence and infidelity amongst men and timidity and helplessness amongst women. After fellow students found out about my visit to the county jail, I was avoided and discriminated against at school. Not once was I asked for a statement to the judge or for my side of the story. Not once was I approached by a school administrator or teacher. Everyone knew I had hit someone, and that was all anybody needed to know. The discrimination toward me, a “violent” female, heavily outweighed the discrimination of a dishonest boy.
I can only pray that other women of society will not travel down the same path I have, but ultimately, the structure of society must change. In one of my last therapy sessions before heading to college, I was asked “If you were placed in a domestic violence situation again, would you defend yourself?” Sadly, the answer is no.
More articles in WMC FBomb by Category: Feminism, Politics, Violence against women
More articles in WMC FBomb by Tag: Activism and advocacy, Sexism, Sexuality, Domestic violence, Sexualized violence, News