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drank, and it was all downhill from there.For all of the women, their abuser was verbally abusive from the very beginning oftheir marriages. In addition, Alice’s husband sold all of the property, including her car,which she had brought into the marriage. He has kept total control of her assets andearned income over the years. As was seen in the previous section, he was alsophysically and sexually violent and coercive. Cathy said that her husband would drinkon weekends, and when he drank he would hit me, he would bite me, strangle me...While he employed tactics of shoving, pushing and some hitting, Beth claimed not tohave been too concerned, because her husband never told her that he would kill her. Shesaid that mainly,he took it out on other things, for instance he smashed furniture, forinstance one time he flipped the dining room table over...he punchedholes in the walls, so, you know, he just directed it somewhere else.It was interesting to learn that all four of the women married men that they knew, orshould have known, had drinking problems. The only one of the women who reported
108drinking with her husband was Dot. She said that when she was 40 she stopped drinkingbecause I just decided that it was bad for me, so I stopped. Her husband stoppeddrinking after a DUI arrest and conviction about 20 years ago. Alice’s husband stoppeddrinking after undergoing a military alcohol treatment program he was compelled toparticipate in towards the end of his Army career. Beth’s husband stopped drinking afterhe got out of the Navy. She said that because he wasn’t working, he didn’t have enoughmoney to buy alcohol. He never resumed drinking, even after he started workingregularly. However, she said he began gambling addictively in the place of drinking.In each of these marriages, verbal abuse was present from the beginning. All of themen were in the military at the time, where disrespect for women was considerednormal and acceptable. Consistent with feminist theory, the pattern of abuse was setimmediately. Physical abuse or threats to harm occurred either simultaneously or soonafter.Usual treatment. Abusive relationships are not uniformly unpleasant. During thehoneymoon phase of the cycle of violence (Walker, 1979), abusers can be charming,loving, and attentive. But between the extremes of this phase and violence is where theless severe forms of abuse occur. This section explores the abuser’s customarytreatment and attitudes towards their partner. It is here that we see what their everydayinteractions were like.As expected by feminist theory, the women uniformly stated that their husbandswere insensitive, hypercritical, disrespectful, and seemed to have a strong sense of
109entitlement. This treatment still exists for the two women who remain with their abusivehusbands. The other women say that on the rare occasions that they see their formerspouses, they are unchanged. Both of these men profess to be mystified as to why theirformer wives left them. They both insist that they were never abusive and that the