An ACFJ reader reported this exchange between herself and an abuser:
At court today I was in a line (turns out it was the line for defendants) with a young couple. The girl (a witness/victim) was holding a baby. I remarked that her daughter was beautiful. She thanked me and the man said, “That’s my daughter. She looks like her daddy. Don’t she?” I repeated that she is beautiful.
Man: That’s my sperm.
Me. That’s inappropriate.
Others in line: laughter
Man: [embarrassed] What!? A man can be proud of his baby.
Later the man kept harassing the girl (L). He had no respect for her personal space. He kept trying to hold or touch the baby and the girl kept herself between him and the child.
Man: Let me hold the baby.
Man: Why? Why you gotta be that way? I said I’m sorry.
L: I’m not playing.
Man keeps touching the baby.
L and I start talking. I tell her about the blog. Man constantly interrupts. At some point she tells him to stop doing a specific annoying thing. I don’t remember what.
Me: The appropriate response is, “I apologize for making you uncomfortable.”
Man: THE APPROPRIATE RESPONSE IS FOR YOU TO STAY OUT OF MY BUSINESS!
L and I ignore him and talk some more. She leaves the line for a minute. While she’s gone Man talks on the phone.
Man: I don’t know what’s wrong with her. I said, “I’m sorry.” I messed up. That don’t mean I can’t hold my baby. Why she gotta be that way? Why won’t she let me hold MY baby.
There’s something you should know about me. If I feel I have nothing to lose, I’ll go for broke. I’ll be very bold and confrontational if I feel I’ll survive it.
Me: You forfeited that when you hurt her.
Man hangs up and launches verbal assault.
Man: Just cause your man forfeited his rights don’t mean I did. Why you gotta hate men?
Me: Hold on. Let me get my voice recorder. Ok, go ahead.
Man blinks and looks astonished. Tries to hold his tongue but can’t.
Man: See, that’s why you here. That’s why.
Me: So I deserved it?
Man: I didn’t say that. You said that.
At this point I am seeing very clearly that although Man’s age, race, education, culture, background, are different than X’s, his tactics and words are almost identical. Of course, X would use proper grammar and obscure vocabulary words, but the message is the same. I am amused at this and I start grinning like a cat.
Man: Why you smiling? Why you gotta say anything at all? Why you gotta put your nose in my business?
Me: I have to stand between good and evil.
Man: [this remark would’ve been identical to X’s if he were in this situation] What makes you think you know the difference between good and evil?
I thought that was hilarious!
I wouldn’t have been so confrontational in the grocery store. He might’ve shot me. But we’d come through metal detectors and we were in the courthouse, surrounded by policemen and bailiffs. I figured, “Let him take a swing at me. Maybe a bailiff will shoot him. Then this poor girl won’t have to testify…” and I wasn’t too afraid.
Got any abuserese sightings to report?