We were out for a walk, my Dad and I, chatting as we do. Or, attempting to chat, since he has this irritating habit of not listening to one’s point and talking over them.
Somehow we started talking about Rhianna, and I was talking about how disgusted I was by someone releasing the police photos of her injuries, how cowardly someone has to be to beat their partner.
“Well,” he says, “We don’t know what happened. She could have started it.”
Once I picked my jaw up, and reminded him that she’s likely 90 pounds wet while he’s fairly large, it became
“She probably pushed him to it. That’s what happens-she starts a fight and won’t let up and he just loses it.”
“I suppose then,” I answered, “That drunk women deserved to be raped to?”
“You realize Dad, that while a real man might feel frustration and annoyance in a fight, he will never HIT a woman-that it doesn’t matter what SHE has done, that it’s WRONG?!?”
He muttered off into the distance of the video store. I stood, staring through Iron Man boxes and wondering if I really knew my father after all.
He’s old school, I know this. He grew up during WWII, during an entirely different set of stressors, son of parents who lived through the depression, son of an alcoholic and a woman eventually placed in a sanatorium, for what I was told was TB but considering the time he spent living with an Aunt and how little he speaks of his childhood, I really wonder.
He calls maxi pads “sanitary napkins”, and won’t even name tampons. He believes, firmly, that men should bring home the bacon, no matter how many times I point out that it doesn’t matter, and that he raised a daughter who is perfectly capable of bringing bacon home. He won’t speak if I mention abortion, or my inclusion of possible girlfriends for the girls in conversation.
He likes spam.
What kills me is that if Dad knew of anyone raising a hand to me in anger, he’d kill them, or at least try if he knew. No one would lay a hand on his little girl. And yet, regarding the broader world, the woman is at fault. He’s stuck in that head of the woman always being the problem, the mistake, the reason.
And people don’t understand why I’ve never told my father about being molested. Or rather, why I’ve never told him when he’s sober.
I love my father. I truly do-with every fibre of my being. He did what he could to raise me after Mom died, and while I know there are many shortcomings, he did love me. There is no question of that fact.
But it scares me, to think that in his mind tidbits like this live. That he thinks a beautiful, talented young woman in the midst of the most wonderful time of her life, was asking for it.