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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

CASA

Yesterday I went to get my nails done. As I sat down, I glanced to my left to see a very petite woman getting her nails done next to me. Her little son stood next to her, and a big man hovered behind her.

I didn't pay much attention to either of them until the big man said very loudly to everyone in the salon "Hey, I've got a joke for you!" He then proceeded to tell a joke that only a first grader would find funny.

The staff gave the obligatory snicker, and I said teasingly "Oh, c'mon! My son told me that one years ago!"

Apparently the man took offense at this, but he covered it well, and told a dumb blond joke. "OK, bud," I thought to myself. "I get the point." I looked at him appraisingly and saw a guy who looked like trouble. He was bald, tatooed, and pierced in various places. He was tall and burly and I guessed he could be formidable when he wanted to be.

In return, I told a dumb blond joke of my own, and a joke about aging. We were all friends again.

The next time I looked up, he was gone with the son, although the woman remained next to me. I began to really look at her for the first time, and saw terrific bruising on her upper right arm, where handprints could clearly be seen. On her left leg was a soft cast.

"Hey, what happened to your leg?" I asked, already knowing that answer and sure that she would lie to me.

"Oh, uh, I just tripped," she said hesitantly.

"What a shame," I said lightly, watching her. Her eyes dropped, and I didn't pursue it in front of everyone else. But my mind was racing.

So many women are abused, and many of them are abused willingly. We could discuss the psychology of it at another time, but that's what it boils down to. Still, there are always the victims who are re-enacting a horrid childhood, or are ignorant of their rights, or grow sick of it all and finally leave. For them, there's an organization named CASA.

CASA will help hide women, give them lodgings, and train them so that they can be financially independant and take care of their children on their own. CASA even provides food and clothing while a woman gets back on her feet, and provides counseling and emotional support as well. I've run across CASA at different functions, and I've always admired the organization.

I wondered if this young woman had heard of CASA, and how I could get the information to her without either insulting her or alarming her.

The conversation drifted around me, as I thought furiously. I realized that I only had a little time before The Thug came back, and I had to say something before he did.

A TV news story about a snake was playing in the background, when one of the nail techs shuddered and declared that he could never stand snakes.

"I never could either," I said. "You know, I was once at a charity benefit for CASA. Do you know what CASA is? CASA is a group in St. Pete that helps women who are abused. It takes them in, helps them hide, gives them food and shelter and helps them to resume their lives."

The little woman next to me visibly started, and glanced sharply at me.

"It's a great organization," I continued. "And they're conveniently located in St. Pete. All any woman has to do is call them in order to get help. Anyway, I was at this charity event..." and I continued glibly along, lying about a fictional encounter I had with a boa constrictor.

Eventually the conversation evolved to something else, and the woman was moved to the pedicure area just before The Thug returned, glancing suspiciously about.

"No," I thought speculatively, "You wouldn't like anyone speaking to her about CASA, would you?" Upon close examination, you could see ill tempered lines on his face, and his mouth was set in a grim line.

I didn't stay to watch their family dynamic. I finished up, paid, and left.

But I wonder if CASA will be getting a call from her in the near future. I hope very much that she will do so, but it all depends: Does she want this abuse, or doesn't she?

12 comments:

The Doozie said...

Hopefully she'll leave when she's had enough. Everyone has their breaking point. Although the victim mentality is an area that frustrates me

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

In the past did work for Britain's National Domestic Violence Forum and it was a terrible insight into how who you love shows how much you love yourself.

The Lazy Iguana said...

So this big GOON with a shaved head, tattoos, and body piercings who sort of looks like a pirate walks into a nail salon with a steering wheel sticking out of his pants. The salon worker says "hey you big bad joke telling goon, do you know you have a steering wheel sticking out of your pants or are you just retarded"? The goon looks at the salon worker and says "yarrr, its been driving me nuts all day".

Then ask if the goon has any more stale old jokes even McCain heard when he was 2.

You have to emphasize the whole "looks like a pirate" thing for this joke to work. And the whole place would have laughed at the joke because lets face it - pirates are funny. Not as funny as midgets, but close.

You may also want to obtain a CWP and pack heat. I suggest a nice air weight .357 magnum loaded with .38 special +p hollow points. Guaranteed to stop goons of all sizes.

Bear pepper spray is also good. Or better yet bear pepper spray and a tazer. Thugs are often resistant to pepper spray because of many encounters with the po po. But tazers work good on thugs because thugs seem to like the shirtless look, or they are wearing a tight t shirt.

I got a lot more where these come from too!!

How many bald assholes does it take to make a bad joke in a nail salon? ONE!

Who is more likely to pick up a $100 bill found in a parking lot, a smart guy with a shaved headand tattoos, a blind man who can not see the money, or Santa Clause.

The blind guy. Santa Clause and a smart shaved head guy with tattoos do not exist.

And so on. So yea....next time tell them to bring on the blond jokes.

Just do not forget the air weight .357 loaded with .38 special +p hollow points.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

You did the right thing, Saur. You couldn't have done more, under the circumstances.

M@ said...

Violence breaks my heart. It's ironic that I would protest the death penalty (and I've applied for work with an anti-death penalty group) but I've been accused of abuse twice by two crazy women.

The first was in college with a girl others described jokingly as "psychotic." She actually told people, falsely, that I hit her. Actually, I pushed her out my door b/c she was harassing me. I got a campus restraining order. No means no.

The other one slapped a restraining order on me b/c she owed me ten grand and didn't want to discuss it! She also wanted to excise demons from past abuse by putting me in the role of "abuser" and her in the role of the long-suffering woman who's just not going to take it anymore.

So I feel kind of funny about this. I cannot imagine beating a woman... or an animal. It breaks my heart to hear about animal abuse, too. Right now, there are humans and animals in terrible situations. So much misery.

M@ said...

Excuse me. I meant humans and OTHER animals.

United We Lay said...

Every woman who is safe and comfortable in their lives should know where their local chapter of CASA is. Thank you for reminding me of that, and that I should post information about it in my classroom.

Jungle Mom said...

Thanks fro speaking up! We need more of that today.

The Lazy Iguana said...

Hey do you have insurance on your crack rental property?

If so - nature may take care of your problem. So if you have insurance....GO NATURE!!!

Otherwise if you do not have insurance nature sucks. And blows. Mostly blows.

Mr. Grey Ghost said...

That's some story! Great job on your part speaking up like that.

Darren said...

Amazing how you assume all of this just from a glance...

Perhaps, she really had tripped, taken a bad fall and the marks on her arm were from her goon of her husband picking her up and getting her help? A bruise doesn't immediately equal violence. If that was the case, your logic would put me in prison for child abuse as my baby daughter has bruises on her knees and elbows where she is crawling around the floor with such speed.

And even if she was being abused by the guy, the way you so obviously S-P-E-L-L-E-D out your suspicions to everyone there would have earned her another beating.

Well done, you deserve some kind of prize for your efforts...

The first rule of anything is never assume. False assumptions can lead you to a whole heap of trouble.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Darren, no one spelled out their suspicions, least of all me. And, since hubby (or boyfriend or whatever) wasn't there, he wasn't likely to find out, right? Unless he had a spy or was tape recording it.

Nope, I'm not worried and yes, I was right. And no, I wasn't assuming.

I don't know how old you are, but perhaps you are as young as your inexperience seems to indicate. After a certain age, you know more due to the many experiences you've had in life, unless you've been very sheltered.

I used to be a counselor, among other things. I'm not sheltered.

Grey, Thanks!

Lazy, I did have insurance. Too bad that Fay passed over with hardly a drop of water.

Jungle Mom, I agree. If more people took responsibility, it would be a better and safer world. The problems arise when we keep walking, averting our eyes, and saying "not MY business..."

UWL, GREAT!

M@, You're a sweet guy. No doubt, there are women who make false allegations. It's a horrible shame.

Old Hoss, thanks.

Lazy, beautiful rant! ;o)

Daniel, I believe you. But much of it is also what you are comfortable with. It's not quite the same thing.

I've found in my experience that everyone loves themselves more than others. It takes a great act of will to put others needs before your own. In the case of these victims, they are actually still fulfilling their own needs, because this feels 'right'.

Doozie, we can certainly hope so.