Double standard Double life
Patricia Clarke, Contributor
"So what can I do for you?" asked the well-suited counsellor of the woman sitting across from him in his office.
"Sir, I need my husband, but I don't know if he wants us." she answered.
"Tell me a little of what's going on," encouraged the counsellor.
"Well sir ...," she began,
"No, no," he interjected, "If we are going to build a relationship, we have to drop the formality, just say Steven." With that, the woman relaxed and gave the OK for him to call her Jackie and began pouring out her soul to him. Her situation being, no matter what she does, no matter how hard she tries, her husband appreciates nothing she does. The most terrible thing about it being the fact that his ways of letting her know he was not pleased about something was with a slap across her face or fists to her eye.
"What!" asked Steven, "Why would you allow a man to do such a thing to you?" he asked incredulously. "You are such a beautiful woman" he continued. Jackie went on to say how much she loved her husband and why it was important for him to help her.
At the end of their session, Steven told Jackie to ensure her husband would be at the next visit.
As sure as could be, Jackie and her husband came to the next visit together. Quickly, Steven realised his job was cut out for him as, standing before him was an awful-looking man. His hair looked as if it was in serious malice with a comb and, his clothes, while very well laundered, did not fit well. In his hands was a bottle of rum, and behind his ears were two cigarettes. When he opened his mouth, there was the stench of alcohol, the smell of fish from his last meal and cigarette.
Steven introduced himself and the session began. He spoke sternly and clearly to the couple. He made sure to tell Jackie's husband, who she introduced as Sam, never to lay his hands on her again as, she was his partner not his child, not his prestige. He continued by letting the couple know that without trust, respect and communication a marriage cannot strive. He encouraged them to talk about their issues then he ended another week of counselling.
After leaving work that evening, Steven went to hang out with his friend Errol to cool his nerves as, the next morning there was going to be a conference at his office where, he would be awarded 'Psychologist of the Year' and possibly become the youngest CEO of the institution. At the end of their talk, Steven asked Errol to join him for dinner at his house. Errol had no problem with this as he liked Steven's wife, Caroline, and considered her quite a 'catch'.
Steven met Caroline - a tall, slender, beautiful woman - while they were both in university and they got married soon after graduation. She never worked outside the home though very educated. All she did from time to time was hold motivational seminars to help young girls and speak out against domestic violence.
Upon their arrival at Steven's house, Errol greeted Caroline while Steven headed straight to the kitchen. However, before Errol could get comfortable, Steven screamed "Caroline in the kitchen now!" Almost instantly, Caroline was in the kitchen answering to her husband. Before Errol knew what had happened, Steven started shouting "What is this on the table for my dinner? Do you realise I have a friend over?"
Caroline's soft voice broke in calmly, "Honey you did not tell me."
To Errol's surprise, before Caroline could say anything else, Steven slapped her across the face so fiercely she staggered. The slaps kept coming one after another and Caroline pleaded for forgiveness and begged for mercy. When Errol tried to stop Steven's blows to Caroline, Steven got so angry he ran him out of his house while he pulled his belt from his waist. Errol stood shocked, he watched his friend of 10 years, and an advocate against domestic abuse, beat his wife so violently she soon lost consciousness.
Errol left his friend's house unable to comprehend what he had just seen.
The next day, the unexpected happened. When Errol walked into the conference room where Steven was to receive the award, Caroline was there, ever the dutiful wife. She was heavily 'made up' wearing a black dress covering all her bruises. They made eye contact, but she turned away as quickly as she could. Errol decided to dismiss the issue and deal with it later.
When Steven took the stage to do his victory speech, he praised his wife for being his backbone and how special she was. At the end of the meeting, Errol confronted Steven in the office and asked, "How could you be such a hypocrite, saying these things when you beat your wife just hours ago over dinner?"
Even more shocking was Steven's revelation as, he blurted out: "What happened at my home stays at my home. My wife knows she is my property and I can treat her however I like. She knows the consequences of not doing things my way, right Caroline?"
By this, other workers in the building drew near and to their surprise, Caroline responded "Yes, honey".
No one could believe his or her ears. The incident spread like wildfire and the backlash was unbearable for Steven. The great psychologist's career went downhill and not long after he had to relocate. To everyone's dismay, Caroline went with him without hesitation.
Caroline lived with the belief that in exchange for the house, trips overseas and a good life she could live with the abuse and just try to do every-thing right. She decided all would be better when they relocated. No one believes that would be the case but, everyone decided if she did not care they would not either.
To be continued ...