Salon's advice columnist, Cary Tennis, is going through a shitty bout with cancer, and while I feel bad for him, I still have to call him out on Monday's column, horrifyingly entitled, "I'm In a Loving but Violent Marriage." In it, he hears from a young woman who's married to a guy who has "only" beat her up a couple times. That's including the time he punched and stomped her while she was pregnant. She's upset because the domestic violence hotline she called advised that she leave her husband. So she turns to Cary, looking for an alternative.
Now Tennis is not a writer given to using five words when 5,000 will do, and this column is no exception. Instead of advising the woman to devise a safety plan, find a therapist, read the ultimate DV primer, Why Does He Do That? and flee (not necessarily in that order), Tennis waxes poetic:
In this fictional world you are safe. So I can speak to you one soul to another. I can grant you the freedom to see yourself as the object and creation of your own limitless imagination. Then you are free to inquire: What do you want, O dish thrower? What do you want, O restrainer, kicker, puncher? What is it that you are hungry for?
What the fuckity fuck?! I'll tell you what this woman is hungry for--she's hungry for someone to tell her that everything is going to be all right if she just does A, B, or C. But it's not. To suggest that there's some miracle pill--as he does shortly thereafter--
I suggest you work in three distinct areas of counseling: 1) He continues with his program of anger management. 2) You also get anger-management training. 3) The two of you work with a therapist to learn interpersonal conflict-resolution skills.
--is irresponsible and dangerous. Not only that, he tells her to give this violent shitbag an entire year to pull himself together! Huh? This is a guy who kicked and punched his pregnant wife and only grudgingly, occasionally, attends counseling. Domestic abusers, like pedophiles, have been proven to be very resistant to therapy anyway. This guy is dangerous and it's only going to get worse. Instead of flowery prose, this young woman needs calm, reasoned, common sense. Not the pseudo-philosophical ramblings of a frustrated poetry major.