Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hurt people hurt people

I decided that the scene Jennifer witnessed between Erik and his mother deserved more than a parenthetical comment .

Who is watching Jennifer? ( elaborated excerpt)

Jennifer believed Erik was troubled. She had wanted to comfort him since the day she watched his mother beat him in the entry way of his house. She rained blows on him until he fell into a closet and then she followed him in, beating and berating him while he begged her to stop. Jennifer watched the whole thing and his mother ignored her. Then she sent Erik to his room where he sobbed. Jennifer stood outside his window asking if he was okay. He didn't want to talk about it.

His mother was a tiny woman with tiny hands and he was a healthy, teen aged boy. It didn't matter, he cowered from her. Jennifer has no idea how often this kind of thing went on at his house. The fact that his mother hit him in front of her, showed no remorse and didn't apologize for it--led to Jennifer's gut feeling that it had been going on for years.

Erik could have stopped his mother at any time with one hearty shove. He didn't. He only held up his arms to protect his face. Jennifer was stunned stupid by the whole thing. It was oddly intimate--don't people normally beat their kids in private? Erik was not angry or outraged, he showed no surprise and he made no comment about it. Jennifer has always had a soft spot for anguished people. She bears Erik no ill will to this day.


However, I don't think it is a coincidence that Jennifer almost drank herself to death a few days later. She was crushed by the entire experience with Erik. He seemed to love her (why else would he want to touch her like that, she thought) and then he abandoned her...

Hurt people hurt people. Whenever I hear about someone beating or torturing a child, my first thought is What in the world went wrong in the life of the person doing the beating?

I understand victims. Victims are usually just unlucky enough to be alone with the wrong person at the wrong time. They don't ask for it. They are vulnerable because they are small, or young, or alone, or handicapped or they have the desired appearance.

Perpetrators are a whole other thing. They are not born, they are made. I shudder when I think about what a tortured child might become in the future. Some suffer from emotional issues, some hurt themselves and some heal. But some turn into monsters. I'm no expert, but I've never met a vicious baby. Of course, this doesn't relieve the perpetrator of responsibility. Once a person hits the age of reason--they are fully responsible for their actions (even if they did learn them at home from their own parents).

Erik is not a monster. I don't know about his mother. However, I don't believe she ever planned to beat her child when she was a little girl dreaming of having a family.

Hurt people hurt people.

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