Let’s Talk About Kasandra Perkins for a Change.
The man who abused her and killed her was a sports star, so she gets to be a bit player in her own death – a mere cipher to discuss him. It is not the same as he put her through – but it certainly is analogous. She deserves a voice in this story, as it is hers too. She suffered. Her baby is motherless, fatherless, and this is the legacy she has too. Her father is ‘mistaken’, a ‘victim of sports pressure’. There is even suggestions, hints, if not outright statements that somehow she is culpable.
She was only culpable for believing they could work it out. That the Counselling was helping. That he meant his promises of change. She wanted to believe it for her daughter. From the depths of her frequently cited (by those who bothered to seek) compassionate, warm, sympathetic heart, she wanted to believe for him, too. There is the same blinding heroism of the star athlete that has led to her diminishment in the story told, who knows what role that held in her optimism? He was such a ‘good guy’….
Too many abusers are seen that way. Too many victims are not believed because ‘he couldn’t be like that’. She must be mistaken, exaggerating, she must have earnt or deserved it. As if anyone deserves it. And it is worse for men – who can also be abused. More often (but not only) emotionally rather than physically abused, they are even more supposed to ‘man up’. As if a man could be broken by words. Huh. Anyone can be. Words can erode your sense of self, of worth. You become ‘lucky they will put up with you’, somehow deserving all the abusers because of your own faults. You become pathetically grateful for any small kindness. And it can all be masked behind makeup or smiles. People can never suspect.
I know all too well. I, like many others, have scars inside that won’t heal, and I am lucky, I escaped. With enough left to recover somewhat, become seemingly strong. I was lucky in my friends and family, they came put to save and support me. I will regret all my life the scars I thought I had protected my children from, that I thought I had hidden away from them. But children are wounded themselves, of not abided directly, from seeing some one they love suffer, and how confusing to have it be at the hands of the other person they love and trust.
So, it’s hard, and it hurts, but you can escape and rebuild. We do need better protection for men and women facing the most dangerous of abusers, the crazy violent stalkers. And we need to remember the victims matter.
Her friends called her Kasi.