Every word of this story, sadly, is absolutely true.
Mr. JB has been friends with Dr.K for well over 20 years. Dr.K is an extremely accomplished man. He is a surgeon and he regularly travels around the world to train other surgeons in techniques he has developed to treat a relatively common but often lethal situation. He lives in a modest sized town at the edge of a large rural population, and he is not only the head of his area of surgical specialization, but whenever ANYONE in his swath of the woods sustains the injury he treats, he is consulted. His responsibilities are enormous and he saves lives, every day.
Shortly after me and Mr.JB married, Dr.K met a woman. Beauty is also a doctor, but not a surgeon. They met at the hospital where they both work, and over time, developed a relationship. Beauty isn’t really a beauty, but she has the most extraordinary hair, and ladies, NEVER underestimate the awesome power of your hair. Natural light auburn ringlets that fall in a cascade of shimmering fire down to her waist. Probably the most beautiful hair I’ve ever seen.
Dr.K had a bucket list of all the qualities he wanted in a wife, and she seemed increasingly perfect.
Physically fit and attractive? Check
Devoted to him? Check
Prepared to be a stay at home wife and mother? Check
Yes, she’s a doctor, trained at enormous expense by the state, but her first obligation is to any children she might have, and she planned, and did, take more than a decade off of work, and I don’t fault her for that, but it does piss me off to listen to her whine about the “wage gap”. The wage gap exists because YOU TOOK A DECADE OFF while your male counterparts worked 70 hour weeks!
But that’s another story.
So Dr.K and Beauty married. I had a very small baby at the time so I didn’t go to the wedding but Mr. JB did and he said it was pretty much unanimous that Beauty was bat shit fucking insane and that Dr.K was making a huge mistake. When he said “I do” all his friends shook their heads in sorrow, but I don’t think any of them could guess just how bad the situation would become.
They had three children in very quick succession and by the time the third child had arrived, Dr.K knew he was in deep trouble. His first clue was that he was not permitted to speak to his children. No really. Beauty’s first language is not English and she wanted the children to be bilingual. Fair enough. Dr.K does not speak any language OTHER than English, but Beauty forbid a word of English to be spoken in the house.
When Dr.K told me this, my response was “tell her to fuck off”. Seriously? Who forbids a grown-up from speaking to HIS OWN CHILDREN? Dr.K said that he if he tried to discuss the situation with Beauty, she would keep him up all night screaming and railing and crying, and for a surgeon, that’s a disaster with the potential to cost someone’s life.
So he gave in to her. He accepted her edict. His children do not know a word of English and cannot speak to their father.
Beauty is also insanely controlling with the children. They are not permitted to have a glass of water if it is not water drinking time. Beauty has them on a schedule that would make the commanders of the Israeli army proud. This actually upsets Dr.K enormously. He is deeply worried that she is crushing their very souls. She permits them no decision-making abilities at all. Dr.K thinks she is making them crazy. As crazy as she is.
Dr.K is not allowed to participate in his children’s lives in any meaningful way. He has never given them a bath (7:15 to 7:25 PM EVERY NIGHT), he has never taken them to the park. They have never been to the movies, to the zoo or to the country for a picnic.
And again, there was no possibility of discussing any of this with Beauty. All that would earn Dr.K was a night with a shrieking, raging wife and a surgery scheduled for the morning. Over the course of the years, it seemed obvious that the only solution was divorce. I am the last person in the world to advocate for divorce where there are children involved, but Dr.K is in an abusive relationship, and that is the only acceptable reason to head to the courts.
Dr.K picked a weekend when he was not on call and just before sitting down to dinner, he broached the subject of permanently ending their misery.
Here is what happened:
Beauty hurled a heavy stoneware plate at his head and severed his carotid artery near his temple. Both being doctors, they were able to deal with a situation that could very well have been fatal.
Beauty then picked up the phone and threatened to dial police emergency. She said that she would tell the police Dr.K had been beating her. He would be arrested and spend the weekend in jail. Dr.K is well known enough that he would likely make the news. His reputation would be destroyed. He would forever be the doctor who beat his wife, no matter what happened. The fact that Dr.K is fit and strong and Beauty is a tiny little thing would automatically convict Dr.K in the public’s mind.
And Beauty knew it.
So what did Dr.K do? Nothing. He stayed. In fact, Beauty insisted on having a fourth child, and if Dr.K tried the whole “not tonight dear, I have a headache”, she would keep him up all night screaming and it was just easier to comply. Dr. K told Mr.JB the day his fourth child was born was the saddest day of his life.
Is Dr.K innocent in all of this? Sadly, I don’t think he is. He should have walked out and taken his kids a long time ago. But a decade of constant, unending abuse from his wife has left him a broken man. And the simple truth is that the price for him to rescue his children, and himself, is devastatingly high. He WILL spend at least a night in jail, and probably more. He WILL be vilified in the press and spend the rest of his life living under the cloud of suspicion. He WILL have his reputation as a surgeon compromised and a google search will always turn him up as an accused abuser.
Still, he often dreams of going ahead with the divorce anyways. He has consulted lawyers and has a good grasp of what the financial consequences will be. More or less total destruction. She will be awarded custody and even if he fights, the best he can hope for is 50%. His lawyers have advised him that he is unlikely to be awarded 50% custody, given his work schedule and frequent travelling.
In other words, he is well and truly fucked. And he lives every day of his life with a woman who threatens him, who berates him, who mentally tortures him and rapes him. Yes, she rapes him. Sex is coerced because the alternative is to endure sleep deprivation and haranguing and endless agony.
I’m not sure what Dr.K will do. Mr. JB and I just pray it doesn’t involve him putting a gun to his head and pulling the trigger.
The reality is that Dr.K is trapped. The even more brutal reality is that any woman can do this to any man, and face no consequences. I could do this to Mr.JB, if I wanted to. I have the power to do so.
Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. When marriage has been turned into a vehicle that allows women absolute control over men, is it any wonder that the institution has become so corrupt, and men are simply refusing to play along?
Until we accept that domestic violence occurs evenly between men and women, until we accept that women can be the perpetrators and men the victims, until we refuse to mock men who ARE victims, until we accept that fathers are as vital to children as mothers, men like Dr.K will be powerless to save themselves, or their children.
And women like Beauty will continue to believe that they are entitled to behave any way they like, because they will face no consequences for their actions. This is why there is such a thing as a men’s rights movement.
Hey, does anyone have $10 they can spare? Oh, good. Give it to these people, who are fighting to make sure Dr.K doesn’t end up dead by his own hand, and Beauty won’t long have the power of destruction.
All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.
Lots of love,