Sunday, July 02, 2006

Mary's Cries

There has been a renewed interest in the Mary Winkler story. Apparently, she has told investigators that she "snapped" after a day of arguments with her husband. From the article:

Winkler said the two had argued throughout the evening about several things, including family finances. The problems were "mostly my fault," she said, because she was in charge of keeping the family books.

"He had really been on me lately criticizing me for things -- the way I walk, I eat, everything. It was just building up to a point. I was tired of it. I guess I got to a point and snapped," Booth read to the court.

My original speculation about her motive was that he might have been sexually abusing one or more of the daughters. I thought this because that is about the only thing that I could imagine would make me kill my husband. But I have to admit that in reading her statement about feeling put down and unappreciated (my words) I can see how a woman might "snap" and do something drastic, especially when a large man has been verbally vicious and merciless for an extended period of time. Sometimes men underestimate the amount of fear and desperation that they can cause a woman when they put their energy into attacking, whether it is verbal or physical. Women look to men for support and approval. No, that isn't a 'politically correct' statement, but even feminazis crave the approval of men in the form of 'equality.'

Certainly, I'm not excusing Mary's crime. I'm only trying to have some empathy for her situation and mental/emotional responses to it. I think it is a fair statement to say that every married person has experienced at least one episode of the kind of criticism that Mary says she suffered. (It isn't only women who are verbally abused by their spouses, but the men who suffer are a much smaller portion.) Add hormonal and/or emotional issues to the mix and the results can be explosive.

A little advice to the testicle bearing members of society, especially those who live in a very traditional and/or Christian lifestyle:

1. Don't use your position of power in a relationship in a destructive manner.

2. Remember that your wife depends primarily on you for support (financial, emotional, etc.). You are the 'provider' so provide.

3. Never underestimate your power to hurt.

There is more to say, but I have to go right now.

Lubos Motl also has a detailed analysis of this story.

Addendum: As a woman who is living in a traditional 'gender role' arrangement and who is currenting experiencing hormonal instability I must say that my empathy for Mary Winkler is at an increased level. The point that I really wish and hope is understood is that men must appreciate their women and treat them with kindness and gentleness. I'm not blaming the victim, not exactly. But in my current state of mind I am saying that Mary Winkler is not the only woman in the world to have been criticized to the point of "snapping." Most of us when it happens don't kill our husbands but resort to other relief. To be a little too personal, I often feel like my sacrifices and efforts are far from appreciated and that every thing I do is subject to criticism or disregard. Sometimes nothing I do is good enough. I know that Mary Winkler felt the same way. No, I'm not about to shoot my husband. But I am going to cry for Mary and for myself and for every other woman who has even felt like all of her energy is spent thanklessly. Matthew Winkler was apparently one of those men who believed that his wife's only purpose was to please him. I think Mary did not want her girls to grow up with that kind of male influence in their lives. Well, if you ask me at this particular moment, I think the world might just be better off without him then.


QUASAR9 said...

Don't know about there, but domestic violence is saddly still rife in England. We have an excellent social security system which allows single mothers financial independence.
But some young girls and women just put up with abuse + violence, whether through intimidation or fear of being unloved. But there is NO room for violence in love.

And I must say, girls are turning just as tough here, they can give as good as they get. But two wrongs never did maje a right. They just make for some very peculiar households or relationships, where the only joy seems to come from hurting the other more than they hurt you.

Alas the paradox between Israel and his half-brother Palestine. Both descended from the same father but different mothers, one a free woman, the other slave? woman. As the saying goes, it is hard enough to make (or keep) one wive happy, two or more wives just bring more feuding & jealousies, especially among the offspring. Q

Rae Ann said...

Q, I don't want to sound like I'm talking about real 'abuse' (domestic violence) being so widespread. I'm talking about the times in a relationship when pressures of all kinds supersede those lovey-honey-sweety feelings (which aren't the stuff that keeps marriages together anyway) and cause arguments, criticisms, etc. that are often intense and very hurtful. Every relationship will go through rough times, some more than others.

My main (hormonally influenced) point in the post was that if men want their wives not to shoot them they should be nicer. ;-) Especially when the man has the woman so much under his 'control' (financially primarily). In the Winkler's fundamentalist Christian marriage the husband has all the power while the wife is supposed to be submissive. I've seen couples in similar marriages and it can seem as if a family pet is treated better than the wife/mother. I can imagine that would get really old really fast.

I could not live long in a situation where the criticism and picking never ceased. But generally, I'm not restricted from speaking my mind and discontent which goes a long way towards alleviating the problems. David is the one who first called me "Vicious Momma." ;-)

QUASAR9 said...

Rae, when David first called you a "vicious momma" I bet he had a wry grin on his face.

"hit me baby, hit me baby" kinda smirk, what?

But I agree if my missus was going thru hormonal 'imbalances' I'd make sure I was sweet to her, bring her flowers and chocolates, and just to be on the safe side remove the gun (or the cartridges)from the bedside table, and any big knives from the kitchen. lol!

Have a nice day! Hot here in Cambridge, but at least the breeze makes the air breatheable. You could hardly breathe in the hot air on Saturday.

Global Warming? surely! Q

QuillDancer said...

(I wandered in from Q's blog)

Winkler was a minister, but I submit that the lifestyle he was living should not be classified "Christian." Jesus instructed men to love their wives as he loved the church. "Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself." Eph 5:28

Winkler was charged to care for and nurture his wife. He obviously didn't do it. The majority of women who live in a verbally abusive situation do not find it necessary to kill, but escaping the marriage when only tatters of your self-confidence remain is very hard. And usually the abuse starts so slowly that the woman destroyed before she is aware that it is happening.

I speak on this issue with authority. Leaving your mate and provider once you have been convinced you cannot think or succeed on your own is very difficult. Add the need to care for children into the mix and the stress is compounded.

I, too, do not condone Mary Winkler, but I truly understand the feelings of impotent dispair that led her to violence.