I used to wonder what caused a woman to stay in an abusive relationship but then I came to understand the why: erosion. I think that if some of the things that happened later in the relationship had happened early on then she would have had enough self esteem and personal energy to extricate herself. But the really bad stuff doesn't happen early on. It starts small and when she forgives him, against her better judgement, she loses a bit of the energy it takes to escape the gravity of the relationship. She might make it into orbit but eventually falls back in. As time goes on, and the injustice in the relationship increases, she becomes more and more powerless to escape. The gravity of her situation crushes her.
In my adulthood I have seen an erosion of the justice system. When Rodney King was beat and the police subsequently found not guilty of brutality I hung my head in shame. I understand that he fled from the police. I understand he may have endangered civilians. But the police clearly acted with anger and, when you are beaten with anger, you are beaten far more than is necessary.
I was living in Alabama at the time of the trial. I was only recently made aware that there was still active racism in America. Growing up in the mid-west, I never noticed it. I thought the racial sensitivity training we underwent periodically in the Army was a throwback from the fifties and sixties not unlike the haircuts and prohibition on blue jeans off post. But what I saw in some areas made it clear that there was still a great deal of racial tension and bigotry alive and well.
Perhaps the ruling in the Rodney King case was a result of racism. Perhaps letting OJ Simpson off for murder was a misguided attempt at racial atonement. But, gun to my head, I'd say it was the first indicator at how bad the judicial disparity in this country would get. OJ Simpson was both famous and wealthy, and he got away with murder.
Since that time I have watched a relentless parade of examples of how money and fame will let you get away with everything from drunk driving to possession of heroin to child molestation to destroying the financial security of America. I have seen little to no justice.
Jerry Sandusky raped kids, and was caught by his staff. But the staff just went to their bosses to find out what to do, not the police. And the people at Penn state chose to cover it up, and they said nothing, because he was helping them win football games. Just like the Catholic Church covering up the molestation of countless choir boys, their actions were not just sinful, they were also felonies.
But where are the criminal trials of the Catholic Church or the faculty at Penn State? Unlikely to happen, based on history. It has been over four years since the collapse of our economy and, aside from making them apologize to Congress for breaking our laws, little has been done to those who perpetrated that collapse. Not that one can really compare the two primary acts in themselves, but the secondary acts are both example of many people knowing something wrong was happening and actively ignoring it. They are both examples of people placing their own welfare far and away above the welfare of others.
I don't think people even expect justice any more, any more than they expect Congress to accomplish anything. Our expectations have eroded to the point where we have almost lost faith in our ability to peacefully make changes to the way justice is served. We have been captured in the gravity of the black hole of a corrupt and stratified system that displays such disparity that it seems impossible to change because we have to use that system to change it.
How much does must a woman endure before she breaks free from an unhealthy relationship? How much must America endure before She says, "Enough!"