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Posted at 03:34 PM ET, 11/08/2011

Gene Weingarten’s life as a suspected wife beater

Gene Weingarten calls his latest weekly chat update “a treatise on Doubt.”


Gene Weingarten (Julia Ewan - TWP)
It’s just as much a treatise on Suspicion.

Weingarten writes that he has been living as a sort of suspect since his wife fell while walking the dog a few nights ago.

Clinging resolutely to the leash to avoid losing control of the dog in traffic, my wife had no hand available to break her fall. Face met pavement, hard. She’ll be fine in a week or so, but at the moment she looks like she’s been mauled by a bear. Or something.

A quick Google search confirmed Weingarten’s suspicion that domestic violence is pervasive — committed by husbands of all sorts.

Domestic abuse is often an occult crime, vastly underreported for all the obvious reasons. When it surfaces, it tends to be because there is a physical injury that can’t be easily covered with clothing or makeup. Most often, it’s a black eye. The victim — out of shame, or misplaced guilt, or a desire to keep the family together — often initially denies it. The most common alternative explanation is a fall.
So.

Weingarten began to feel that people who saw him and his wife together were making judgments, noticing “a half-glance or an averted eye.” When his wife’s boss came over to pick something up, she smiled and said, “If you had done this, we’d get you in a back alley.”

We stood there awkwardly for a second, and suddenly, uneasily, I knew what I had to do. I excused myself and went back into the house.
I’d realized that I needed to create a moment where my wife could have spoken in private, had she wanted to. I needed to show that I wasn’t concerned.

It’s not pleasant to be under suspicion like this, Weingarten writes (his final anecdote, which we won’t spoil here, is especially tough). He’s used to criticism, but what he senses now is worse, “both because of its gravity and because of the insidiousness of silence.”

“I’m not HAPPY about it,” he writes, “but I am okay with it, because the alternative situation is worse.”

What do you think: Is the suspicion understandable and even positive? Have you ever been in a similar situation? Tell us about it, either in the comments or by posting — with anonymity — to Gene’s next chat update.

Read more Gene:

Gene Weingarten column and chat archive

Monthly With Moron: Weingarten’s most recent full-length Q&A

Weingarten column: Poop in a hoop

By  |  03:34 PM ET, 11/08/2011

 
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