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The cost of being beaten

I know someone who’s been battered. Attacked, punched and kicked.

When those of us to whom something like this has never happened think about it, if we think about it, we think about the psychological cost. What it means to have an intimate partner hurt you. How it changes the way you look at relationships. How it curdles love. How it erodes self-esteem. How it destroys trust. Women who are battered often stay with their batterers. The batterers apologize and swear it will never happen again. Or they tell the women that they deserved the beating. Or they threaten to do something worse if the women try to leave. Imagine living with someone you are terrified of.

Now suppose, on top of all that, as you are struggling to make sense of your circumstances and think about your life and fight the fear you feel and try to gather the strength to leave, you get five separate bills in the mail, from urgent care, where you went that first night, and the hospital emergency room, where you went the next day when you couldn’t breathe, and the ER doctor who saw you and the technicians who X-rayed and MRI-ed you, and the lab that did the blood work. And the bills total $11,699.

You did not spend a night in the hospital. You did not have a procedure or surgery or get a cast. You were not given any medication. You were simply examined. This is what it cost to find out that you didn’t have broken ribs or a concussion. This is what it cost to find out that, in addition to the multiple contusions, you have a spinous process fracture of a lumbar vertebra. Where he kicked you. When you were on the floor.

(And yes, thanks to Barack Obama, there is insurance. And the insurance will cover a significant portion of it. But what it doesn’t cover equals more than two months take-home pay. You know, the money you need to save so you can leave.)

With deep thanks and profound respect for the person who allowed me to tell this story.

The photo is cropped from a Google image. It is not the person I am writing about.

1 comment

1 kim in oregon { 06.02.18 at 4:05 pm }

Wow. I had absolutely no idea. This shows just how fucked up our society has become. Where is the safety net for people like this? Where is the outrage that people feel beaten TWICE (at least) in this type of a situation? What can we do?

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