When Sisters Turn on Each Other
By Diana May-Waldman,WWH/CJE- When women intentionally and maliciously turn on one another, it really bothers me. I am especially frustrated when I see another woman re-victimize someone who has already been victimized. That’s like pouring salt in someone’s wound. Discounting them. Dismissing them. It seems cruel to me.
Rosaura Torres wrote a book about the years of abuse she survived at the hands of her husband. The book, Abuse Hidden Behind the Badge details her life, beginning when she was a child and ends with her story of survival and fight for justice when she is finally left with loss of vision in one of her eyes.
Torres abuser was a cop. Who do you call when your abuser is a law enforcement agent? How do you even begin to penetrate the blue curtain of protection?
Torres is the youngest of nine children. Her parents came to the U.S from Puerto Rico in 1949. She grew up in poverty.
In an to attempt to understand herself, Torres looks into trying to understand her parents. Her mother seems to have some secret sorrow in her heart, that she quietly carries and can never really bring herself to talk about it. Her father while seemingly present in her life, has numerous affairs throughout his marriage, that mostly go unnoticed and are accepted for the most part.
He mother stays devoted to him until his dying day.
Torres goes on to say that her father was never physically abusive to her mother–he was just a womanizer.
I pondered the first few chapters and realized that perhaps Torres was revealing things about herself that she may or may not have even come to understand. She was taught tolerance and she was taught to keep secrets.
Torres says that even though she was told that she was attractive, entering her teenage years, she never really believed it. That feeling magnified for her when she became pregnant and the relationship with her child’s father ended.
When Torres meets the young, good looking rookie cop, she questions why he would be interested in her. She describes herself as an uneducated woman with fatherless children. Why would this man want to marry her? But, he does and Torres is happy, even though her father thinks her sister was more deserving to marry the police officer.
Torres talks about her new mother-in-law and how she felt her new husbands mother didn’t think she was good enough.
A self proclaimed journalist at LIPNews… Lancaster Independent News took an interest in Torres story. She spent a lot of time with her discussing the book and gaining Torres trust. Within days and without warning the “journalist” posted on her blog a scathing review of Rosa’s book—even though she admitted several times that she didn’t actual read the book. Instead she skimmed the book and posted parts of it with her opinion.
Below is part of what LipNews had written:
Correct me if I am wrong, but is it not abuse/assault for her to be “smacking him right across the face”?
This whole sick (should I say “sic”) tale is nothing but a mess. Like a Jerry Springer episode. And I hate reality TV.
She goes on to say:
It is entirely my fault. I could never have imagined the book being this awful! It is essentially a terribly written soap opera.
I believe Sadler, a very large man, hit his wife frequently over the course of years. I’m not saying she didn’t at times hit back, but the end result was a terribly dysfunctional family with three children caught in the middle of a war.
To that I say, what the fuck? She believes Sadler (who is the character Mark in the book) was a very large man who frequently hit his wife and the end result was a terribly dysfunctional family with three children caught in the middle of a war.
Well, no shit. Domestic violence affects the entire family.
The “journalist” goes on to say this:
—- Yes, I believe Rosa’s current actions have a “revenge” factor. It is what it is and all of us seek revenge at one time or another.
—- I also became very uncomfortable with her “social media” presence. She would repost my stories on her three Facebook accounts, her twitter account, her Google Plus account and who knows where else. She was fond of using the words “sister” and “warrior” in her posts and that made me very uncomfortable. She would let me know how many “followers” she had and as, I guess, an incentive for me to write more, would tell me that “many people” were reading my site. I didn’t believe her, I didn’t care and none of that affected the content of this site.
She told me over the phone a month and a half ago that she didn’t want me to think she was a “religious nut” and said she hadn’t been to church in years. She invokes God constantly in her book. Her final chapter says she will “walk with God.” Well, I can say that, too! Heck, anyone can say that! Her constant “God blesses” and “Amens” everywhere she posts border on absurdity.
Again, the “journalist” admits that she never actually read the book. If she did she would have read that Rosa was raised a staunch Catholic in a Latino family who was often confused by what she was taught and what she felt, but had over the years developed her own personal relationship with God.
The “journalist” then gets sidetracked and starts talking about football and drinking. That’s where I come in and make a comment on her blog:
wow…you want to talk about a revenge factor? To post personal conversations that you had with her, is out of line. I am a journalist who interviewed this woman well over a year ago. She never once claimed to be anything, but an ordinary woman who made mistakes, tried her best and at the time– didn’t think much of herself. For Pete sake, you want to victim bash? She lost part of her sight due to abuse.
How dare you say that you lost track of the men, the babies, the financial stuff. You are woman bashing…and God knows we all have our own crosses to bare.
I found this woman and author to be refreshingly real and honest. If you had a lick of sense then you would know and understand that her family and unbringing is predominatly religious and she struggled with it, but maintains her own personal relationship with God. Women have to look out for their “sisters” and by golly survivors are warriors. With that said, I applaud this woman for putting the truth out there. This wasn’t about sales, this was about courage and healing. How can you not get that?
The journalist asked me if I read the book to which I responded that I did. She then went on a rant abut more football and crab cakes.
Eventually the journalist gets around to addressing me and questions why in part of the book did Torres admit to throwing a glass of wine in her abusers face and slapping him and also wanted to know why her children were upset with her.
Huh? Maybe, she should read the book.
The journalist and one of her cronies continue to question why Torres did this or why she did that and went on to recite how they would have handled it. If that wasn’t bad enough, the journalist began to pick apart some of the sentence structure and spelling in the book.
I confronted her and told her that I felt she re-victimizing the victim. Oh that was when all hell broke loose and she began to berate me and become abusive to me. I kept my cool and attempted to appeal to any compassionate side she might have–hoping she would stop.
She said that she had pulled up the article that I had written about the book for Worldwide Hippies over a year ago.
“I just wanted to add for Diana – most of your piece is about the second man. I noticed you said: But, on the morning of September 27, 2002, Torres was severely beaten and left on the side of the road, while the State Trooper drove away.
Then to my complete horror, the journalist said this:
She was not “beaten” in the “conventional” sense with fists. It is with a car – she is going to get in the passenger seat and he pulls off with her hanging onto the door. He stops and she drops. I’m not trying to in any way make light of this – but “beaten” implies fists. She then repeatedly calls this same man to get him to drive her to the hospital and he refuses. Why would she repeatedly call him????????
So now this so called journalist wants to define what a beating is. I was unaware that there was something called a “conventional beating.”I had to wonder had this book been about rape, would she had defined what that was too? Since when does a beating imply that it must be done with a fist. I suppose since Torres had only been blinded in one eye and not had her face crushed, she wasn’t beaten?
To say this implies that unless she was left for dead, she she wasn’t beaten well enough.
The journalist goes on to take pages from the book and point out abut how Rosa had forgotten quotation marks in the book.
One more time I remind the journalist that Torres clearly states in her book that she did NOT have much education, but felt it was important to get her message out. And at this point, please be reminded again, that the journalist openly admits she has NOT read the book…just skimmed it.
This is where she slammed down her Jack Daniels and begin calling me a child. Okay, I made the part up about the Jack Daniels. But, she did remind me a of drunk that you couldn’t reason with, even when you had presented her with the facts.
It was then stated that they felt Torres should prove her abuse. They asked me if I was there…did I witness it. Again, to ask these questions only dismisses what Torres had gone through. As if they believed she wasn’t telling the truth. They were re-victimizing her. They also went on to tell me that Torres failed to call the police and had she called the police, the police were by LAW required to report it.
I’m not sure what planet this woman lives on –but again Rosa’s husband was the law! And she repeatedly states in the book, this was the problem. Who do you call when your husband is the law?
Later that evening, I decided to research the blogger. I researched her because her blog mostly sites stories about crime and abuse and she seemed to have a small following.
In my research I discover that this woman had been a victim of sexual abuse and incest, which she herself had written about. It helped me to understand her better and to understand the depth of her anger. The depth of her pain.
I took that research a little deeper and spent some time on her past blogs where I witnessed her attack several other individuals whom she didn’t agree with. Once she is done ripping them up, she dismisses and blocks them.
I begin to understand and question the depth to the pain this woman must be in. I witnessed how she had gone through her days bullying people. Yes, she is a bully who friends her victims, then attacks them. Sadly, most bullies are in a lot of pain.
Most bullies have negative feelings about themselves. Most bullies seem to be aggressive, lack social skills and unselfconsciously attempt to transfer their pain and anger to other people.
Now that I had a better understanding of the “journalist,” my shock and horror towards her behavior quickly became feelings of compassion and empathy.
However, until one is willing to the do the work that is necessary to heal old wounds, they will continue to lash out at others. And at what point do we expect people to take responsibility for their actions?
Studies have shown that an abused person is at a higher risk of becoming an abuser if they don’t heal. They have an increased tendency to “act out”and inflict abuse on others because of their own hurt and anger.
The “journalist’ and Torres are two women who share backgrounds of abuse. One has done the work needed to heal. One has not.
It took a great amount of courage for Torres to write her book. I also feel in writing the book, she found some healing. She let the secrets out that she was taught to keep. That is never easy. Her book was painfully honest, even during the times in which she reveals things about herself that were hard for her to face.
Maybe, this is what the blogging journalist is trying to do. Write it out in attempt to get rid of it and heal. But, her blog is almost ten years in the making and her rage speaks loud and clear. I wish that I could hug her.
In the end we are SISTERS and WARRIORS that have to keep reaching out to one another. We have to keep holding each other up and not pushing each other down.