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Mistaking a Woman’s Trauma as Bitterness

Mistaking a Woman’s Trauma as Bitterness

It’s been nineteen years since I witnessed the first physical altercation between a man and a woman. Mom and my brother’s dad. Fifteen years since I saw my brother choke one of Mom’s temporary husbands because of yet another domestic dispute. Five years since I, myself, was incarcerated for domestic violence because that boy I used to be married to called me a “slut” for wearing pants. Two and a half years since I was betrayed by him and a bitch at his job who stated he was a “good man.” Fourteen months since my messy divorce ended. And, four months since I saw him parading around the local mosque like an idiot, putting on a show for my family.

I counted in the dark last night before I drifted off to sleep.

“Men are trash,” I said to my two closest friends.

The phrase that I’ve been living by for the last year. I mean, I knew they were trash before, but I just couldn’t openly say it since I was married and all.

“I don’t think you should make ‘all men’ statements,” she said. “That’s just not the case since you haven’t met ‘all’ men.”

I rolled my eyes. I mean, I do hate “all” statements because it’s just not possibly true. Buuuuuut, humans make assumptions and have valid reasons of feeling how they feel from past experiences. And, you can’t invalidate someone’s experience, even if it’s far-fetched. All you can do, really, is redirect.

You know how when you’re doing or saying something it doesn’t seem that bad? I don’t trash men as bad on the internet as I do in person. Like, if I’m chilling with my friends, I will go into my “trash men mode.” Why? Because it’s relevant and they do it sooooo much. Trump grabbing em by the “P”; girls overseas being forced to marry old men; female genital mutilation; sex-trafficking in my home state of Michigan.

“I don’t think you should make ‘all men’ statements,” she said. “That’s just not the case since you haven’t met ‘all’ men.”

Every time I see a #MeToo post or hear a story about yet another executive pulling his little tallywhacker out and waving it at a young actress, or witness a hyper masculine douchebag trolling a sexual assault victim on Facebook, it really traumatizes me.


As a woman, I am traumatized by men. To be truthful, I’ve been traumatized by them since I was a little girl. Men scare me. Even now. They could hit me in the face or rape me or pretend they love me then drop me for another girl…or guy. Shit, I don’t know.

I witnessed my first domestic violence fight at the tender age of six. It’s one of my earliest memories actually. I remember just standing there, watching as Mom tossed a computer at him and my brother’s father hitting her. Neither of them cared that I was there. Maybe I had become a fixture in their fucked-up world. What kills me now just thinking about it was that I never screamed or ran away or hid. I just stood there as if two adults throwing blows was a normal, everyday occurrence.

Mom had mental issue – which didn’t help in her male selection process. We saw most of the dysfunction, if not all of it. In our home, men were disposable. If she didn’t like how they were, then she’d get rid of them and add another to the list. Mom was married about seven times before I’d turned seventeen, and I’m being modest by not including boyfriends or fiancées.

Mom taught her girls, in a nutshell, that men only wanted your body, they only wanted babies, and to use you. We were taught to never, ever depend on them. Never tell them your finances, keep a secret savings because they weren’t to be trusted. Mom never trusted men. And, neither do I.

I’ve become her when I really never wanted to. Deep. I know.

I got married young because I loved him, I thought I could change him, and I was Muslim and hadn’t wanted to sin anymore. I wanted to be a good Muslim girl in the eyes of God.

And like an idiot, to curb my pain, I entered the dating scene right after the divorce.

He brought the worst out of me. He also brought the best, too. Unfortunately, he brought more of the worst than the best.

At first, I didn’t trust him. Slowly, I started to. Then I let go and trusted him wholeheartedly. It took a while, but I’d done it. Growing up the way I had, I never thought it was possible. Then he betrayed that trust, and I reverted back to my old ways. Just like that.

And like an idiot, to curb my pain, I entered the dating scene right after the divorce. Bumble. Tinder. Plenty of Fish. You name it. Trying to flex the muscle that hadn’t been flexed in over a decade. Bad idea! What I needed was time. Time to heal.


I got messages from randoms asking me to “sit on their faces,” propositioning me for threesomes, and polyamorous relationships. I’ve had White men objectify me, commenting on the thickness of my lips and thighs – how they’ve never been with a Black chick. I’ve had men fetishize my hijab, body-shame me, tell me how intimidating I am because I have two masters and that I might be “too smart” for them.

“I’m a feminist,” I told one dude, while on a date.

“So, you must hate men, then.”

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“I do now…” I replied, in my head.

Another guy told me that I hated men. I think he high-key wanted to call me bitter. And, that’s fine. If the shoe fits, right? Maybe it is me. Maybe I attract shit dudes because I’m a shit person.

Maybe all men aren’t trash… I’ve just come across some trashy ones.

“Maybe you should switch teams,” one friend suggested.

I cringed. “I’m not touching boobs.”

My other friend, who happened to be gay said, “Actually, same-sex relationships have many of the same problems as hetero relationships do.”

“Fuck,” I said. “Then it’s back to being asexual.”

And, who knows, maybe one day I will trust a dude again. Maybe all men aren’t trash… I’ve just come across some trashy ones.


Leah V

Photos Courtesy of Eric Puschak

View Comments (3)
  • Ahhh Liah, I can have some perspective, because I am soooooo much older than you are….I share lunch at a table with 4 super smart sassy Japanese women teachers…I told them they all remind me of my “wife” (actually I am divorced, but only one knows that secret) and I think they are all sexy. So, I think you are too. Too bad we are born in different generations, and live on different continents….but we can intersect here….as you can see I am a pasty white dude,,,do don’t take anything I say seriously… I do enjoy your writing…..honesty and cutting open old wounds is one of the recommended steps, so they say, to becoming a novelist….so maybe I just don’t have enough wounds to open up???? because I have never finished anything which friends said was interesting….so, as it says in The 7 Valleys:” in case you’re interested, is that even if you have to search for 10,000 years, you can eventually find the Beloved One….so I take this to mean that the search can continue into the next world, for the One, we most desire…so, you, in your search chose, and we all choose, day by day….and the years go by……You are right, USA and particularly, in my opinion, S. Cal is the pits,,,,,but many of us don’t have any other realistic choice, we are “here” and not “there” by our choices, and other reasons… I decided to move out of S. Cal. with our family and 2 daughters….but that turned out not to be a free ride….and now I am divorced and planning to go to another continent in my 10,000 search for the Beloved. ,,,Oh I have a religious code to live by, but that seems to me like a handy tool box….not a winning lottery ticket…..So, I can appreciate what you describe here……maybe you and I could make a good team, like the partnership I saw when we lived in San Diego, of a survivor of the Holocaust, and one of the youngest members of Hitler’s Youth Corp…One was a woman and the other a man, and they visited the schools in San Diego…another good point about S.Cal. They had a prepared script which they went through, interweaving their stories together to create two sides of a bloody awe-filled experience, which the young kids in San Diego junior high hardly dreamed of…probably.. They presented a version of their reality, much you are doing here.

      • Leah, dear Leah, I am basically alone, I have only the Internet. So I pour out my thoughts…I pour out my life, I want to burn away the impurities, as a candle burns itself up in order to give forth its flame of light…However, I am not a candle….more like a soggy Green branch from a Southern Knotty pine, the kind that takes a blowtorch to set on fire….but, you know that sap, once it ignites, WOW , and then gone…..

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