Whenever a man is accused of abusive behaviour some things follow like night follows day.
Usually said man will deny deny deny! Against witnesses, against evidence. Deny deny deny! There’s a witch hunt, that woman has never liked him, she’s out for revenge. Attempts to sully her name happen. In the case of famous men, in the case of a work colleague, in the case of your partner. Obviously with men in the spotlight who are famous and well known this is amplified yet further.
Then the support act find their voice. When you are abused or sexually harassed by a man and you find the strength in you from somewhere to tell someone. When you’ve spoken your truth in all its raw, painful honesty then that person’s cheerleaders will often come to the foreground. They’ll join him in denial of course but they’ll also assert how they’ve known this man 20 years and he has never abused them so it simply can’t be true. They will pretend not to have witnessed behaviours that you know for sure they did. They’ll help drag your name through the mud such is their need to protect this person. Again with celebrities or famous men this is amplified even more.
I’m talking about domestic abuse in particular due to my lived experiences but I do know this also happens in cases of sexual harassment too.
Throughout there is one mantra.
He’s a Nice Guy.
He would never do anything like that, he’s a Nice Guy.
He’d never hit a woman, he’s a Nice Guy.
He is not a rapist. He’s a Nice Guy.
He would never terrorise his children. He’s a Nice Guy.
When women are murdered by their partners or ex partners , there’ll always be one dodgy journalist at least who’ll find a neighbour to talk of their shock and surprise. He didn’t seem the type. He was quiet, he played with his kids, he took the dog out for walks.
He was a Nice Guy.
Abusive men are usually nice guys. To their friends to their families. To your friends to your families, to you in the beginning.
These men are charmers, sweet talkers, they’re so genuine and caring and loving.
The insidious nature of domestic abuse is what makes it so dangerous and so frightening.
When the Nice Guy asks you to stay in with him rather than go out with your friends, you find it flattering.
When the Nice Guy tells you you don’t need to wear make up, why don’t you take it off before you leave the house? You’re quite charmed.
When the Nice Guy confides in you that your friends are no good, they all secretly laugh at you and hate you. Tells you that there’s only him who really cares you believe it.
When the Nice Guy kicks you in the face for speaking out of turn he’ll apologise and cry and tell you it’s only because he loves you so much and it wouldn’t have happened at all if you’d just kept quiet. You’re worn down by then, you’re ashamed so you believe him. Shame plays such a huge part in why you stay too. As I always say I can only speak for myself but the shame of other people finding out what was happening behind closed doors was so huge I stayed way longer than I ever could or should have had to endure.
When the Nice Guy screams in your face that you can never leave as you can’t cope without him. That no one else will ever want such an ugly, stupid mess. You believe it wholeheartedly.
Then if you’re one of the lucky ones. If you get to leave, if you run away and escape from that torture that was your life. The charm offensive intensifies. Towards you at first. Grand gestures, tears, flowers, on his knees begging you to come back. He must note a change though, a look in your eye, a change in your stance, a different tone of voice. He realises his power is waning and has to turn his charm elsewhere.
He’s good at that.
The Nice Guy will tell your friends and family he’s concerned about your mental health.
He’s likely put years of background into this to make sure they’ll believe he cares.
The Nice Guy will use tears to anyone with authority. The police, the social worker, the court. He’ll break down into heartbroken sobs that his children have been taken away.
He’s a charmer, some people will believe him. Often these people with authority will at first. You shed a tear you’re mentally unstable. He cries and he’s a heartbroken man.
The Nice Guy will have told HIS friends and family lies about why you’ve left. His support act will possibly aid his abuse by calling you a liar. This always hurts more I’ve found oddly.
Unfortunately you can’t pick out the abusive man in a crowd.
You can’t say it can’t be true because they’ve always been nice to you, bloody hell abusing their partner is a full time, intensive job, done over months and years they simply don’t have the time to abuse everyone they know.
You can’t say you’ve never witnessed it so it can’t be true. These men aren’t stupid, every action they ever take is planned and thoughtfully carried out.
I know many really good men (well a couple at least) hell I’m trying to raise two. I’m not saying nice guys don’t exist. I’m just saying maybe we can be a bit gentler with the women speaking out, doing the bravest thing they’ve ever done.
Abusive men are charming and manipulative, they’re good at it. Maybe we can keep that in mind before we judge.
After all. When the Nice Guy IS finalled outed, when the truths are spoken out loud and secrets confided. It’s often the case that your family and friends were never fooled by his acts. It’s often the case that more women will tell their own stories of abuse or bullying by these men. It’s often that fooling people only goes so far. It’s often that the Nice Guy is a label he has given himself and promoted outwardly with every energy resource he has. Because he knows exactly the kind of guy he actually is and it would be terrifying to him for anyone else to find that out.