Today was quite an emotionally intense day in my classes. It’s beautiful out, the CTA worked in my favor, and I got an incredible grade on a midterm that I took pre-spring break, which really helped balance the hard-hitting material that was touched all day.
In my Domestic Violence class, my professor started off the class by reading an email she’d just received last night. The email was from a woman who had taken this course in Spring 2008, and after taking the class she promised herself that she would never, under any circumstances, stay in a relationship where there was violence. In her message, she explained that she started dating someone over the summer and had told him from the start that violence was her breaking point– she would never stand for it. In February she decided to make a move to England to be with him. The day that she got there, he slapped her across the face. Literally that same day, she gathered up her just-moved items and got on a plane to return to the U.S. She said she never would have had the courage and perspective to do that without taking this class, and after being out of the relationship she was able to see the abusive patterns that led to that point.
My professor was obviously deeply moved by this email, and she gave all of us 20 minutes to write about our experiences with violence in relationships and how much we would be willing to promise ourselves at certain levels of intimacy (especially because most often, abusers wait until the commitment level is somewhat high– like moving in together, marriage, children, etc.). I haven’t decided whether or not I will be posting mine on here, but it might surface eventually. Regardless, a discussion in this class a few weeks ago was about whether or not love and violence can exist in the same relationship; I’m an extremely firm “no” on this topic, and I think that that can give you a framework from which today’s response can be understood.
I had lunch with Britt (my former roomie) and Alex (Loyolacappella) at my favorite little deli downtown, and we had some pretty intense conversation about our lives; I won’t go into detail because I want to respect their privacy, but it was definitely a much-needed heart-to-heart that went far too quickly for me to be satisfied. 🙂
My last class was focusing on missing, abducted, and “throwaway” children, as well as children abused. I have not had enough time to process this conversation, but we ended up reading multiple news stories surrounding a terribly upsetting abuse-murder case of Lattie McGee, witnessed by his brother Cornelius Abraham. It was heart-wrenching (to say the least) and the follow-up article was absolutely incredible and refreshingly compassionate.
What I’m trying to show is how endlessly thankful I am that I have had access to an education that makes people– as in, individuals– and meaningful dialogue the central task in developing its students. My world would be shaped so differently without days like this in my educational journey. Thanks, Jesuits.