Feminism | Posted by Lily N on 01/6/2011

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.

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  • Talia bat Pessi @ at 5:42 pm, January 6th, 2011

    Wow, this was an extremely powerful piece – you are so strong and so amazing. The world needs more people like you out there.

  • A @ at 6:19 pm, January 6th, 2011

    Lily- this is an amazing piece, and I’m assuming that it’s true. It’s ridiculous that no one even tried to hear your side of the story. I don’t, of course, know your full circumstance, and whether your actions were justified… but regardless, everyone’s perspective should be heard, particularly in a court of law. Thank you for speaking up!

  • firefly @ at 8:20 pm, January 6th, 2011

    This was so powerful, so amazing. May I use this as inspiration for a story?

  • David @ at 10:04 am, January 7th, 2011

    I’m sorry, but in all the action and characters to this story I got confused. Who was it again that was responsible for you beating on someone?
    Society hasn’t taught you the negative things you speak about. Society is just society and no one has control of its ebb and flow.
    Feminism has taught you the philosophy of weakness. Feminism has taught you that you live in a position of powerless abuse. Feminism has isolated you against men, against the so called patriarchy, social systems, media outlets, your parents, standards within society, other women, and even against you own self worth. They tell you that you can’t win, you are a victim, you have no power, no money and little support.
    Feminism has also taught you that you will be either, sexually, physically or mentally abused and most likely by your father or other male relatives that you once trusted. You have been told that your roll in life is to be a second class citizen beneath the huge piggish weight of the patriarchy. You have been told that your only friend is another feminist
    In truth, women are the faith, heart and soul of a society. Women are not only the basis of power in a society; women literally, are the society. The only way that a society can control the power of women is to completely isolate them like some societies do in other cultures but even then it ends up controlling their culture.The power of woman are not in her fist.
    The world needs women, no one needs a feminist.

  • A @ at 4:25 pm, January 7th, 2011

    @David- I utterly disagree. I am a proud feminist, and feminism has NOT taught me those things.
    “Feminism has also taught you that you will be either, sexually, physically or mentally abused and most likely by your father or other male relatives that you once trusted. You have been told that your roll in life is to be a second class citizen beneath the huge piggish weight of the patriarchy. You have been told that your only friend is another feminist.”
    Feminism acknowledges these abuses so those who have suffered them realize that they are not alone. It is thanks to feminism that rape and domestic violence victims have places to go and realization that what has happened to them is not their fault. Feminism does not perpetuate the patriarchy; it merely acknowledges its existence. Feminism just admits the truth that exists for SOME women (not all): that they are inferior because of their gender. Feminists only acknowledge these problems so there is enough awareness to merit the disappearance of them.

  • David @ at 9:37 pm, January 7th, 2011

    A
    If I may quote you, “Feminism acknowledges these abuses so those who have suffered them realize that they are not alone. It is thanks to feminism that rape and domestic violence victims have places to go and realization that what has happened to them is not their fault.”
    The article is written by someone who committed domestic violence, ….it’s called irony.

  • Katherine C. @ at 12:44 pm, January 8th, 2011

    Well, OK, I’ll admit that I REALLY didn’t get that, Lilly. Beating on someone because they cheated on you does not constitute self-defense. It’s not something to be proud of.

    At the end, when you used the term “defend myself,” I was pretty confused. Had he hit you first? I read over the entire post again to make sure I hadn’t missed something, and, no, I hadn’t. So, quite frankly, this made me angry. Guess what? People cheat. Men cheat. Women cheat. It’s a horrible thing to do, but it does not necessarily make the cheater an intrinsically bad person. How would you react if you read about a man beating his girlfriend up because she had cheated on him?

    Basically, I was really disappointed. This is the kind of crap that gives feminism a bad name. NO ONE is culpable for your violence against another person- ESPECIALLY not the victim- but you.

  • Katherine C. @ at 5:55 pm, January 8th, 2011

    If I did miss something after all- because I’m still very confused as to the meaning of this essay- I apologize for the vitrol :(

  • Em @ at 4:25 pm, January 9th, 2011

    I don’t think some of you get the point of this story. It isn’t about who started the problem or even about her using violence against her boyfriend. The point is that men can cheat on women and not get in trouble, but if a women were to say, stand up for herself like this girl did, she would get in trouble. It shows society’s prejudice against women standing up for themselves against men who’ve wronged them. Just saying :)

  • firefly @ at 5:31 pm, January 9th, 2011

    @David: A didn’t write this article, you realize?

    @Katherine C: I think she said it was self-defense because they both got into a physical fight? And she said that no one would listen to her version of the events.

  • David @ at 12:33 am, January 10th, 2011

    Em
    I get it now. It shows society’s prejudice against women standing up for themselves against men who’ve wronged them.

  • Alex Catgirl @ at 2:33 pm, January 10th, 2011

    IDK, given that we have not heard hear all the evidence presented at the trial, it’s hard to tell if you had been wronged or not.

    I would of left out everything about Brad Pitt, who gives a fuck about what actors/actresses do.

    I would never, ever, ever get into a fight over a guy (or a girl either) or cheating, life is WAY to short and there are plenty of other fishes in the sea….which says a lot because I’m rather bloody – I like conflict.

    Then again, it could be a Colorado law thing, “Fly Over” country is fly over country for a reason – I’d rather not deal with backwater cowboy/hillbillies who love their country and their gawd, but at 17 you don’t get much of a choice about where you are going to live.

  • Anonymous @ at 8:40 pm, January 11th, 2011

    I’m sorry, but I really cannot find a reason to justify your violence against your boyfriend. If your boyfriend had started a physical fight, then yes, it is okay to hit him back as self-defense. But since you haven’t stated that, it just makes you look like an asshole crying for pity as a victim.

    From your post, it seems clear that your boyfriend did not want to be with you, so why do you have to fight for him? Everyone cheats, and people cannot just be controlled to like the person they’re with. It was wrong of your boyfriend for cheating on you, but how does that require physical “self defense”? No one is telling you to blame yourself for his mistake, but hitting him in this situation is completely inappropriate. And I’m sure it would be just as inappropriate if a man did this to a woman.

    That being said, I find it hard to believe that your therapist told you not to defend yourself. They might have told you not to hit your boyfriend for cheating (because no one should really commit violence for that sort of thing)which you may have thought constituted self defense. Which it doesn’t.

    And your statement, “I had to be on constant upkeep or my man would leave me,” is complete bullshit (unless it was sarcasm) It embodies the very same sexist ideals that society wants you to believe. As I said before, people are not objects, but society and sexism wants females to believe that their boyfriends will be unfaithful (by their very nature) and that girls have to keep a “leash” on them. What this means is that the act of constantly keeping an eye on your man in fear of him leaving you for another woman is something society has told you to do, not something you should actually do. And I know you realize it’s not your fault that he has left you, but this post was such a jumble of ideas that I didn’t know what to make of it. I thought, from the first paragraph, that you were being detained for hitting your boyfriend back in actual self defense from an abusive relationship.

  • Lily N @ at 11:19 am, January 13th, 2011

    1. It was physical defense. Readers today need to stop looking for the “juice” and pick up on the subtle hints.
    2. It’s idea based. It lacks detail for a reason… Because it wasn’t written as gossip- it was written to make people think about the entire picture. In the grand scheme of things- my story means nothing. Social norms do. As for the feminist arguments- I’m not trying to be a victim. A victim could easily write some “feel-bad-for-me” account of some sad story and others would cry when they read it. Clearly that’s not the point here, as I am sure that had anyone heard that version- they would see me as a victim. There’s been no abuse outside of this in my life- my father is the best man in the world. The article is written to make people think about the umbrella effect of the whole story and how it’s effecting men and women in society. 
    3. The entire bit that sounds ridiculous is of course sarcasm. “fighting for your man” is absurd. I was joking. 
    4. Colorado is not hillbillies…
    5. Most importantly- thank you everyone for your encouragement! It took a lot of courage for me to write this and the support is so welcomed. 

  • Lone @ at 10:09 am, January 15th, 2011

    It wasn’t really that subtle a hint :)
    “He threw me and pushed me and shoved me. I did what any smart girl would do. I defended myself.”

  • Nereida @ at 10:53 am, January 15th, 2011

    Hitting someone is illegal. I wish you included more details, your story is a little confusing. Did he hit you first? Was it an abusive relationship or did he cheat on you and that is the reason you hit him (sorry if my English is not good). I am not sure why you went to jail (he called the police I assume?) more details are necessary to make your point, I believe. But this seems like a traumatic experience and I am sorry for any pain you experienced and wish you the best. Also if the judge did not hear your side that is not fair.

    Also about the appearance thing…this is a true thing about some men because they are very visual, especially in Spain/Argentina where I am from and have lived…but the really good men can appreciate the little things and miss them when the woman leaves, like the humming she does while making coffee or her laughter.
    best wishes to you (I apologize for the very long post.)

  • Anon (for today) @ at 3:29 am, January 17th, 2011

    @David Feminism didn’t teach me that women and girls are abused and raped at appalling rates, and usually by people they know, other girls, sharing their stories in whispers at sleepovers or in empty locker rooms, taught me that, and eventually my own experience taught me that. Feminism didn’t teach me that my role was that of a second-class citizen, my church enthusiastically taught me that. Feminism didn’t teach me that I’d be physically abused, and in fact, I can’t remember a time before I was physically abused. Feminism didn’t distance me from my parents, but in fact my parents did a spectacular job of distancing me from them all on their own. Feminism didn’t teach me that I was weak and powerless and had no support, as my male peers were more than happy to teach me that first. Feminism didn’t teach me that I had no support system, but the people to whom I tried to reveal the abuse and depression clearly demonstrated that.

    Heck, at the time that I learned all of these lessons, I still only heard of feminism in the context of home-wrecking, baby-killing, abortion-happy lesbians, so whatever feminism might have been trying to tell me, I was NOT listening.

    Parents, church leaders, teachers, my friends, classmates, peers – if all of those people do not collectively comprise part of “society”, a society that taught me all those harmful ideas that you claim are the fault of feminism, then who is “society”?

    People like to use the words “society” and “culture”, forgetting that themselves, their friends, family members, and so on are part of those things. But they’re not – if you/your sibling/your friend says “the world is like xyz!” then that’s one tiny part of society’s larger message of “the world is like xyz!”.

  • David @ at 10:37 am, January 18th, 2011

    It is obvious that you must have had a very difficult past. Just how common that is I don’t know but I won’t disrespect you experiences.
    However, I would like to point out something to you that I think is pure feminist concept.
    You said, “Parents, church leaders, teachers, my friends, classmates, peers – if all of those people do not collectively comprise part of “society”, a society that taught me all those harmful ideas that you claim are the fault of feminism, then who is “society”?
    “Who is society, -society is your chosen enemy! This is the enemy that feminism has created through antidotal stories and skewed statistics. Feminism says society is men, and men, (and now boys) are evil, untrustworthy, stupid, and laughable; progresseve women are the only people of any value.

  • david @ at 6:52 pm, January 18th, 2011

    Anon
    Because I’m not a great communicator I think a little more explanation of my feelings is in order.
    The flaw is see in feminist dogma is one of its uses of bias. Feminism has vilified a large portion of the population as bad people. Well, not just bad, but evil. In particular, feminism has mainly singled out men, -all men, even friends, even family. But beyond men they have held up religion, existing organizations and government as also suspect. Feminism is basically saying that women should not trust anything that isn’t feminist approved.
    At the same time, feminism has praised the largest portion of the population, “women” as good, but only feminist women. As well as saying feminist are good they are also saying that feminist are smarter, stronger, and more resourceful than the evil ones. Feminist are winners, -never losers, feminist are superior, not just equals. When a young woman goes out into the world and can’t be all these things and isn’t as strong as she is supposed to be, feminism is right there with the same rehashed answer about society’s prejudice against women. This, “victim” excuse even works if the woman is a complete loser or has committed terrible acts.
    Women, weather you believe it or not, are the very core and foundation of a culture. Their expectations set the standards for a society. However, with the simple tools of fear and mistrust, feminism has alienated an entire generation of these women from people whose only interest is to protect them.
    As I have said in another post, “God help our young girls. At the same time they are being told a father’s love may be suspect, they are being lead up a mountain to a cliff edge and then told they can fly.”

  • Jess Spiegler @ at 7:39 am, January 20th, 2011

    Thanks for writing this blog and sharing it with the world. I would like to know how to go for reading your rss blog. Please let me know if possible.

  • watnot @ at 2:57 am, March 12th, 2011

    The lesson here – stay away from assholes!If anyone treats you in a way that you don’t like, then forget about them and move on. There are too many assholes in the world, and life is too precious to waste even thinking about them for 1 second.

    First, get to know yourself (ie, your values, beliefs,etc). To do this, you need to spend some time by yourself. Then, slowly and carefully, try to hook up with like-minded people (people with similar interests, values, beliefs, etc). This is so important in life, but most people miss it, and as a result, have dickheads and assholes for friends/partners.

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