My patient was intelligent but badly educated, as only products of the British educational system can be after 11 years of compulsory school attendance. She thought the Second World War took place in the 1970s and could give me not a single correct historical date. I asked her whether she thought a young and violent burglar would have proved much of a companion. She admitted that he wouldn't, but said that he was the type she liked; besides which—in slight contradiction—all boys were the same.The women's incompetence is not almost willful, it is willful. They simply don't wish to admit to the reality because doing so would inhibit their ability to "have fun" and act on the basis of their sexual desires to the extent permitted by the current strictures of the local herd to which they belong. It's not very different than the case of the young man who drinks and drives too fast. He understands intellectually that he is taking a risk, but he denies the existence of the risk in order to permit his actions to be in harmony with his emotions.
I warned her as graphically as I could that she was already well down the slippery slope leading to poverty and misery—that, as I knew from the experience of untold patients, she would soon have a succession of possessive, exploitative, and violent boyfriends, unless she changed her life. I told her that in the past few days, I had seen two women patients who had had their heads rammed down the lavatory, one who had had her head smashed through a window and her throat cut on the shards of glass, one who had had her arm, jaw, and skull broken, and one who had been suspended by her ankles from a tenth-floor window to the tune of, "Die, you bitch!"
"I can look after myself," said my 17-year-old.
"But men are stronger than women," I said. "When it comes to violence, they are at an advantage."
"That's a sexist thing to say," she replied.
A girl who had absorbed nothing at school had nevertheless absorbed the shibboleths of political correctness in general and of feminism in particular.
"But it's a plain, straightforward, and inescapable fact," I said.
"It's sexist," she reiterated firmly.
A stubborn refusal to face inconvenient facts, no matter how obvious, now pervades our attitude toward relations between the sexes. An ideological filter of wishful thinking strains out anything we'd prefer not to acknowledge about these eternally difficult and contested relations, with predictably disastrous results.
I meet with this refusal everywhere, even among the nursing staff of my ward. Intelligent and capable, as decent and dedicated a group of people as I know, they seem, in the matter of judging the character of men, utterly, almost willfully, incompetent.
This is why one need spare no sympathy for most women who are in "abusive" relationships. They knew perfectly well what they were getting into. They knowingly chose to take the risk in order to reap the benefits of a relationship with a dangerous man rather than forgo them in choosing a relationship with a man they found less exciting. The fact that they pretend otherwise only makes them dishonest, it doesn't make them innocent victims.
For those who feel sympathy and wish to help them anyhow, it must be understood that they cannot be helped on the basis of a false paradigm. To pretend that they are not actively seeking these relationships is playing into the willful incompetence and it should not be surprising that most such efforts to help these women fail. They are bound to fail because they are based on a false model of human behavior.