Tuesday, August 31, 2004
The Burning Bed was on Lifetime.
I don't usually watch Lifetime, and I hadn't watched The Burning Bed since my divorce. Next thing I know I was sucked in - and that's not necessarily a good thing. So, what do I do - I blog about it.
A bit of history - as I've mentioned before, my ex-husband was not a nice man. He let off the physical abuse the last couple of years, when he quit drinking, but the mental abuse was still pretty strong.
You all know me as a woman that speaks her mind. And I'm pretty much like that in person too. I always have been. Except for the 11 years I was with him.
I learned early on in my marriage not to speak my mind, no smart remarks, no asides, nothing. Just yes or no - and ALWAYS agree with him. Even then, it wasn't always a sure thing, but it sure beat the hell out of the alternative.
The movie, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087010, The Burning Bed came out in 1984. I never saw it in the theater as I was 21 and had never really heard about domestic abuse. So when it came out on video a year or so later I rented it. Oh. My. God. Except for her kids - she was me. It was my life. I watched it 2 times back to back. I bought a copy and hid it away so no one would know. If he had to work a storm break or was out drinking with the guys and I knew I had time I'd pull it out and just watch it - like a damn train wreck. It was all I really had.
One day, after a rather "rough episode" He left, as usual, and headed to the bar, as usual. I cleaned everything up, the kids were at his mother's, so I pulled out that tape. That tape that let me know I wasn't the only one. That tape that helped me to realize I wasn't crazy. I put it in and started watching. It was almost the end, when she is dousing him with gasoline when suddenly He came home. I didn't stop the tape. He'd never seen the movie. He asked what it was about. I said - "her husband beats the hell out of her all the time, treats her like shit, threatens to kill her and the children so she's getting rid of the problem." I never looked away from the television. Neither did he. When the movie was over, I hit the rewind and when finished stood up to put the tape away. As I walked past him I said, without ever looking at him - "it's a true story".
From then on, after any really bad episodes, when He came home, whether I was in the room or not - I made damn sure that movie was playing. It would work for a little while. It helped a little bit. At that point a little seemed like a lot.
On the info page for the movie I found a comment from 1991 from someone reviewing this movie. Let me just share some of this guys comments, I share it because belive it or not, there are still many people that hold these views.
I was often left puzzled during the movie when Fawcett could not get the police to have her husband removed from her home, even though they were divorced and he did not live there. HELLO?! It's called trespassing!
True story. My husband came over once and had a bit of a fit. No, we weren't divorced,just separated, but this still goes to show the attitude of many Midwestern, small town police departments during that time. Anyway, he came in the house looking for a fight. I was babysitting for my friends 2 girls - he was angry over something from earlier that evening and pulled me into the bedroom. He brought along his shotgun. He held that shotgun to my head and told me I had a 50/50 chance of living when he pulled that trigger. My friend's daughter called 911. I could hear her in the living room, trying to tell the cops where we lived and what was going on. I felt so badly that she was so scared. Her little sister was sitting at the dining room table, too young to really understand.
Oh, the cops showed up just fine. And Made Me Leave. With both my mom and his mom there, the girls still there - they told ME I had to leave my own home. I wanted him arrested. They said no. No reason, just no.
Another quote:Even more amazing is the fact that Fawcett's mother in the movie seems to excuse her son-in-law's beatings. Why? I can see his own mother defending him, but I would just love to see an abuse case where the victim's mother takes the side of the guy who is beating the holy hell out of her daughter.
This one is not anything like my life. When my Mom finally realized what was going on, she stood behind me 100%. But you have to remember, that many woman didn't know better. Hell - they still don't. And yes, his mother used to beg me to stay. I heard every argument you can imagine, had every guilt trip known to man laid on my door step. It worked for a while.
One year, 2 days before Christmas I had been out finishing up what pitiful shopping we could do. I bought some gifts and he didn't think I'd done it right. Long story short - he tried to strangle me. This is one time I fought back. I got away (only because he was very drunk) and ran the 2 miles, barefooted, to my mother-in-laws house. She let me in, gave me cream for my throat and something to help me sleep. She stayed up with me, telling me how sorry she was, how she knew how I felt - his daddy was the same way. The next morning, she refused to even admit it ever happened. I must have hurt myself to leave those marks on my neck. I needed to get home to my family and start Christmas Eve dinner. It was my place. No time for "these games". Yeah, that was one hell of a Christmas.
There is a scene in the movie where, after they are divorced he comes by and wants to get back together. She said no - he drove off, ran a red light and just about kills himself. She shows up at the hospital and feels so damn sorry for him - the line is "no one should have to live like this".
Now I yell - He doesn't HAVE to live like that, and neither do YOU. But back then, I understood. My ex had many, many accidents due to his drinking, driving and rage. He went head first into a Preston 151 semi-truck doing 70 mph. Neigh near cut off the top of his head. Yeah, you guessed it - I flippin' felt sorry for him.
Now, I don't recommend the movie. The acting isn't so good. The script isn't even all that good. I really wish I wouldn't have watched it tonite. But I did - so I guess I was just meant to exercise these old ghosts of mine.
If you take any thing away from this post - please let it be this. Don't judge these woman that are living in this hell. You DON'T know the whole story. You have No Way of knowing why they are there, and why they stay. Don't enable them, but for God's sake, don't judge them.