May 15 2007

The old suicide-pact gambit: “depression hurts”

Homegirl Redneck Mother, who reads the local paper so I don’t have to, has just hipped me to this astonishing bit of Texas jurisprudence: dude murders wife, confesses, says wife asked for it, and walks.

“Remember,” Redneck Mother wrote in her email, “when I commented that consent wouldn’t mitigate murder charges?”

I remembered.

“Silly me,” said Redneck Mother.

Here’s an excerpt, since the above-linked Statesman article will disappear or become encrypted or something in like 2 days.

A Bastrop County man who choked and stabbed his wife to death in October won’t go to prison under a sentence given by District Judge Terry Flenniken.

Robert Crerar, a 67-year-old retired county probation transport officer, instead was sentenced earlier this month to 10 years of probation.

On Oct. 1, Crerar, who was taking Cymbalta and other drugs for severe depression, told his wife of 30 years that he planned to kill himself. Dolores Crerar, 73, told her husband that she “couldn’t go on without you; kill me first,” according to court records.

Crerar choked her, stabbed her 47 times and slit her throat before calling 911 to confess. He meant to kill himself after killing his wife but was too tired to do so, he told police.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house after it was revealed that, prior to the husband’s anomalous little outburst of savage butchery, the Crerars had been “a loving couple,” a ‘fact’ established by some church-guy’s acute observation that Robert always “kiss[ed] his wife goodbye.”

Here I must briefly digress. I have no doubt that Cymbalta*, a toxic substance my oncologist once prescribed to address my cancerish angst, merely exacerbates the very symptoms it is supposed to fix. I took it for exactly one day, during which interlude it transformed me from a happy-go-lucky melancholic to an ashen, slack-jawed mashed potato with a plutonic, Jäger-class hangover. Two days later, when I had recovered sufficiently from my stupor to stagger to my desk, the internet revealed legions of long-term Cymbalta sufferers who, in an effort to reunite the shards of their shattered lives, endured the tortures of the damned during excruciating withdrawal periods lasting weeks.

It was only then — somewhat too late, alas — that I remembered the Faster Family Motto: “Cymbalta? Not on yer schlemalta!”

While it is clear that Cymbalta is perfectly capable of inducing psychosis — indeed, this appears to be its primary function — is there anything to the hypothesis that it turns guileless innocents into murderous savages who rip their wives to shreds?

The spinster aunt is reluctant to concede that our strangling, throat-slitting maxi-stabber didn’t harbor one or two tiny molecules of anti-wifely misogynist antipathy to begin with. Have you ever wondered why it is, when people go off their nuts, that it so often manifests as gynocidal mania? If there did not combine in men toxic levels of misogyny with their Cymbalta, wouldn’t their unmitigated lunacy just as reasonably be expected to manifest in smashing up the family Toyota with a baseball bat, or setting fire to the lawn, or eating dirt? Whyfore the incessant bloody atrocities perpetrated against innocent wives?

Because I am the most brilliant neuroscientific mind of my generation, I’ll tell you whyfore.

Hear me, O blamers, and hear me well: the paradigm of dominance causes violent insanity.

Head pimples whit!
* “Day Forty-four… Very tired and irritable all day long. I feel itchy and greasy. I feel like there’s a great stink inside me.” — R. Bastard, in My Cymbalta Diary

Blamer Spinning Liz recounts her Cymbalta debut here.


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  1. Niki

    Why can’t choking, stabbing multiple times and slitting his wife’s throat count as three seperate murders, considering that she would have been dead with any one of these separately?

    I say let him off for one, convict him for life for the other two, and let him rot the rest of his depressed life out in jail.

  2. rootlesscosmo

    Have you ever wondered why it is, when people go off their nuts, that it so often manifests as gynocidal mania?

    A strong point and worth emphasizing. Women whose male partners beat and abuse them sometimes account for this by saying “He goes crazy.” Yet he never seems to go crazy enough to hit a cop, or his boss, or some larger, possibly gun-carrying man. Crazy like a misogynist fox, in other words.

  3. lawbitch

    The lovely area of Bastrop county is located in Central Texas. Here’s a link to the Bastrop webcam:


  4. vera

    Have you ever wondered why it is, when people go off their nuts, that it so often manifests as gynocidal mania?

    I have seen this is person, twice. Two men of my acquaintance, both went off their nuts–quite unexpectedly, to me anyway. In both cases their paranoid psychosis took the form of extreme (and I mean it!) mysogyny. They didn’t hestitate to proclaim it, either.

    These were not homocidal maniacs. But they were maniacs, and they did rave on and on about how much they hated women, who were apparently out to get them. Before that, they were pretty normal, which is to say they were “nice guys.”

  5. Coathangrrr

    Hear me, O blamers, and hear me well: the paradigm of dominance causes violent insanity.

    Truer words have hardly ever been spoken. Problem is, violent insanity is pretty much the norm, especially when it comes to actions towards women.

  6. Kat

    10 years of Probation, for killing his wife, whom he loved. It seems that it should be the defense of everyone then we’ll have less crowding in the jails.

  7. lawbitch

    Did I read this article correctly? The judge released this guy to his son and DIL? Is it a good idea to let crazy woman killers out with family members? WTF????

  8. MedeaOnCrack

    His lawyer will now commence with a Cymbalta lawsuit.

  9. LCforevah

    I remember a psychologist acquaintance saying that if men were so “out of control” when they were hitting their wives, why wasn’t the couch shredded, and the coffee table in pieces? Why is it that the furniture remains intact and only the woman is broken?

  10. bluestockingsrs

    Because women are the least valuable piece of propert in the house, of course.

  11. Spinning Liz

    Oh shit, I completely forgot to ever update my much heralded Cymbalta Diary! Well in case you don’t want to wait until the movie comes out, here’s the Cliffs Notes version: so far 30 mg/day alleviates about 85% of the debilitating neuropathy pain, with no dramatic or even remotely interesting side effects. I can pick up a milk carton again without screaming! On the downside it doesn’t seem to to do shitall for depression or GAD, and it hasn’t motivated me to go out and slaughter any worthy candidates. At least my GP, who feels hideously guilty about misdiagnosing my lymphoma as asthma until the tumor was almost as big as a damn bowling ball, is generously showering me with free samples. I think the hell officially starts when it’s time to whithdraw, but that’s way off down the road tra la la.

  12. MedeaOnCrack

    For the times my mother was beaten, blodied, bruised, had bones broken and was once beaten so badly she was deafened in one ear, neigbours and friends tsked that my father “just goes Indian”. He got a double out.

  13. LCforevah

    bluestockingsrs — UGH!

  14. badkitty

    I have fibromyalgia and depression (yea, and I had breast cancer, too) and I was prescribed Cymbalta just after it first came on the market. I’ve heard that some people don’t tolerate it well but it’s been a miracle drug for me. I’ve had very little pain or just general garden variety PMS mood issues since I started taking it. I love the stuff.

  15. Sylvanite

    Um, did anyone else hear his wife say she wanted to be killed first? Or is it just his word? Not that it matters, I suppose. Sheesh.

  16. bluestockingsrs

    bluestockingsrs — UGH!

    I know it is icky, but sadly, true.

    Why hit the car or the wall when your wife is right there?

    She’ll be too ashamed probably to even need to be paid to have fixed, unlike all the other stuff.


  17. lawbitch

    It’s all of the women’s fault for failing to make the man happy. That’s why he hits her. Everything’s all her fault.

    Notice that he’s not picking a fight with the biker dude down the street?

    I’m way too familiar with the whole abuse dynamics. *sigh* Years of therapy, I tell ya!

  18. Cannibal_Femme

    MedeaOnCrack: did you get to read the Amnesty International paper on Indigenous women and sexual violence? For me, there were no surprises, but nevertheless it was a brain-steamer. It’s here, if you want it:


  19. wren

    Ugh, Cymbalta. I was one prescribed a different anti-depressant to treat chronic migraines, but since I wasn’t in fact depressed at the time, it just made my whole brain go haywire. I can’t speak to Cymbalta, but somehow all my family members remain triple-murder free.

  20. Jezebella

    Man, these dudes who threaten to kill themselves if they don’t get their way, they NEVER DO! What is WITH THAT? Jeez. He was “too tired” to kill himself? I guess if he had only stabbed her ten or twelve times instead of FORTY FUCKING SEVEN he might’ve had a little energy to do himself in.


  21. MedeaOnCrack

    Thanks Cannibal Femme. And you’re right no surprises. I have some others on a deceased hard drive that are equally good, I mean good in that it’s finally being recognized and quantified. Step 2 though? By the way it was my father who was native, not my mother.

  22. Feminist Avatar

    These is an old saying (which I can’t find the exact phrasing of) which goes along the lines that it is better for your wife to die than your horse, because a new wife is free.

  23. BubbasNightmare

    If you’re going to commit suicide, it seems like an deliberate effort to have

    choked her, stabbed her 47 times and slit her throat

    This was nothing short of fucking violent, premeditated murder. The son-of-a-bitch should fry.

  24. kcb

    Did I read this article correctly? The judge released this guy to his son and DIL? Is it a good idea to let crazy woman killers out with family members? WTF????

    lawbitch, that was my reaction, too. Yes, his son and DIL are supposed to make sure he sees a psychiatrist. Nevermind that he was obviously already under a doctor’s care for severe depression when he killed his wife.

  25. Silence

    Ah yes, the old “but I loved her!” ploy. Ain’t love amazing? I guess it’s such a rare and wonderful thing when a man actually condescends to love a woman that any bad behavior on his part excused. Love, of course, is not enough for a woman. She has to prove her affection with never ending drudgery, smiles, fawning and supplication to her manly master.

    If the wife truly wanted to commit suicide, hadn’t she ever heard of overdosing on sleeping pills? Something that didn’t involve her husband going Neanderthal on her ass? Yikes. I mean, for any logical human being — which I suppose excludes the jury — this story has more holes than a fine Swiss cheese.

  26. slythwolf

    Of course her “consent” means he gets away with it. After all, this is the same kind of “crime of passion” we’re supposed to believe rape to be.

    I tend to think that if she did ask him to “kill [her] first”, it was most likely an attempt to get him to think about what he was doing and, you know, not kill himself. Regardless. If assisted suicide can be considered murder, this most certainly ought to be.

  27. Random Lurker

    Bubba and Silence, I thought the same thing. Most mercy killings are merciful; drug overdose, lethal drug combinations, carbon monoxide poisoning, even the “Of Mice and Men” gunshot to the head is quick and painless. No one submits someone they love to the pain of being choked and stabbed forty seven times and then deciding to end the suffering with a cut to the throat. A man whining about how he was too tired to cut his own fucking wrists after brutally slaying his wife should be the new definition of chutzpah.

  28. Starfoxy

    I’m sure it’s obvious, but there is a heckuva lot of rage behind stabbing anything or anyone 47 times. No one in their right mind could ever really contemplate the time, and energy it would take stabbing a person you supposedly love and think “Oh yeah, that’s totally a mercy killing. No seething hatred there!”

  29. annaham

    One thing to consider, additionally, is that this guy must have had some SERIOUS psychological problems to begin with. 47 fucking stab wounds, and he slit her throat? Of course, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if his lawyer comes back with some sort of “the meds made him crazy” defense–even though the killer has a shit ton of personal responsibility for this.

    Digression in the utmost: I have been on Cymbalta for less than a year–I have chronic pain, and after being on at least 6 different medications (the doctor[s] thought I had arthritis before they finally figured out that it was Fibromyalgia), I have to say that Cymbalta, icky chemical substance it may be, has changed my life for the better. However, I have heard about people having horrendous problems with it. Like most other medications, it’s worked for some and it hasn’t worked for some. I’m sorry it turned you into a zombie, Twisty! I’ve had experiences similar to that with other meds, and none of it is particularly pretty.

  30. Maryam

    He was TOO TIRED to kill himself? It’s obvious that he was only planning to kill his wife.

  31. Ms Kate

    How come these guys can never just go kill themselves, quietly? Why does *their* depression have to engulf everyone around them, sometimes to the exclusion of them?


  32. Rainbow Girl

    What’s next?

    “My wife said she would die of embarrassment, so what I did didn’t really matter!”

    “My wife told me my jokes just slayed her, how was I supposed to know it was a figure of speech?”

    “My wife said the tedium of our relationship made her feel dead inside-killing her was practically redundant”.

  33. trailer park

    I heard about this story from News 8 Austin, on Mother’s Day. It’s unbelievable. My first thought, when I heard this, was of Andrea Yates: she was undoubtedly psychotic, drowned her kids, confessed, and now she’s locked away in the deepest, darkest mental hospital the State of Texas has to offer. But this guy strangles and stabs his wife 47 times and he only gets probation. Why in the world should this guy still be allowed to roam free?

  34. edith

    Whoa, does this not remind everyone of that Björk movie? Except in that movie, she hangs.

  35. Lara

    You mean Dancer in the Dark? I love that movie. Yeah, and the funny thing is she was defending her livelihood. She was being exploited by that jerk of a cop neighbor. I just can’t fucking believe what I am reading right now. I didn’t read the whole article because I just cannot mentally take it. I swear to you I really think that woman-hating has turned so incredibly and explicitely violent and accepted that we are almost worse off now than we were in the 60s! Maybe that’s the case for White women….but maybe not. I dunno. It’s all so depressing.
    IBTP! Always!

  36. edith

    Yes, thank you, that’s the one. That’s probably one of my top ten Most Depressing Movies of All Time.

  37. mearl

    Once upon a time, after months of passive-aggressively controlling me and peeing in circles around me (all the while telling me that he loved me and wanted to marry me and would never love anyone as much as he loved me as long as he lived, etc) an ex-bf with many deep, dark problems (as all men have)decided to spend a merry night on mushrooms, the night before I had a major assignment due for school. He gave me so much grief that night and would not let me sleep, that finally I said this was the last straw, and it was over. I told him I was driving him home to his parents’ house, and driving myself back to my apt. in their car, and HE could explain the details to them in the morning. During this car ride, he spewed all manner of assholian diatribe at me, and the whole scene ended with him punching me repeatedly in the hand, all the while screaming that I was a psycho (the richest irony of my life to date). I drove away and did not have contact with him for two weeks, other than to throw his parents’ car keys at him through my cracked-open, chained apt. door. and tell him he was an abusive asshole and he needed professional help. When he started up a barrage of calls and emails to apologise and whine and try to blame the whole scene on me, I calmly listened to his blithering explanations for it all. Then I informed him that, despite all MY stress, My depression, and the times (too numerous to count) that he drove me right up the wall with rage and frustration, NOT ONCE had I ever lifted a hand to him or attacked him.

    The whole, “I was out of control” business is BULL-FUCKING-SHIT. If men were out of control they’d hit whoever was in their path, anywhere, anytime. They would not have the self-regulatory motor skills to cheerfully get through their day at work in a high-paying job and THEN go home to rage about their burnt steaks and use that excuse to break their wife’s arm. They would let loose on anyone: their bosses, cops, their friends, huge burly Hell’s Angels, random passers-by. They would not be ABLE to save it up and enact violence and rape upon their wives and daughters and ONLY those wives and daughters.

    I could easily set up a nice juicy bomb and blow up the whole patriarchy right now, and guess who I’D blame it on? You got it.

  38. MM

    The posthumous “she said” arugment has gotten many a dude off for the crime of murder. The scene is this: Guy murders wife in hideous way. Guy gets caught. At trial, guy says, “She said (insert here) – I was a lousy lover -or-she wanted me to do it -or- she said she was going to leave me” -or- “I just snapped. I swear we had a loving relationship and I never hurt her before”. There are numerous acceptable ways for a dude to fill in the blank and get away with murder. And I’m just thinking of some Canadian cases I know about. As for the last one, “I just snapped and I never hurt her before”, it was a BC case and the guy practically walked out of the courthouse with a wrist slapping. The sentence was minor. I think poachers get stiffer sentences here. Anyway, the jurors found out later a whole lot of information that had been withheld from them: the guy had previous documented assaults against his wife and she had asked for a restraining order, and he had been stalking her. He was well known to the police for abusing her. And he still got away with it.

  39. Kelsey

    Hi. This isn’t really very relevant to the post, but I just wanted to drop you a line and basically say: thanks. Being a young, vocal, stubborn feminist means being constantly subjected to loads of BS. Men constantly ask obnoxious questions of me – not to think about things from a different perspective, but simply as a ruse for trying to force their opinions on me. When I try and answer these questions, I can’t get a word in edgewise unless I want the conversation to end up being a shouting match. I’m sick of men who have never read a single feminist work trying to tell me what feminism is all about and what women “really want.”
    As an example, just this evening I had a good friend’s boyfriend inform me that the book “The Politics of Rape” (which is an extremely informative and eye-opening read, by the by) was “biased” because it was written by a woman (in case you didn’t guess, he had never even heard of the book prior to my mentioning it). He also made many, many other really hateful comments, but I’m not going to go into it because I’ve been fuming for the last hour and am only beginning to calm down. The worst part is that I don’t think I can be friends with his girlfriend, a truly awesome person, because if I have to look at his woman-hating mug for one more second I’m going to snap and break his nose (I’ve never hit anyone in my life, meaning I really, really can’t stand this guy).
    I just feel like I’m constantly struggling. This probably sounds utterly stupid, but sometimes I wonder what it would be like to just give up – live the lie, pretend that none of this crap bothers me, whatever. I sometimes feel a little crazy for being so adamant about my beliefs. It’s pretty lonely. Whoa, this post is about three times as long and a lot more personal than I originally meant for it to be. I just wanted to say thank you, Twisty, and all the other blamers too, actually, for reaffirming my ideas (and making me think about new ones), and basically being an outlet of sanity in a world gone mad. Keep on rocking.

  40. Alice

    Yes. Kelsey is saying exactly what I am thinking all the time. Except also, Twisty, you keep us on the hard path to righteousness because when I do give up a bit and live the lie survival-tactics-wise, I come and read your blog and feel ashamed of myself and get all fired up again. You are truly both a carrot and a stick.

  41. Mar Iguana

    “…we are almost worse off now than we were in the 60s!” Lara

    Almost?! Before the seismic shift between the sexes in the ’60s, the boys had it wrapped with bows and didn’t feel the need to be the royal flaming assholes they have become. I remember when the sexual terrorism began, pretty much with movies like “Deep Throat” becoming almost mainstream. Overnight, the porn theatres, topless waitresses and strip joints sprung up like lethal mushrooms.

  42. Isabel

    Um, did anyone else hear his wife say she wanted to be killed first? Or is it just his word? Not that it matters, I suppose. Sheesh.

    Yeah, this stuck out to me too. Because, you know, if a man has stabbed his wife 47 times, we can clearly take his word that she asked for it. But if say his wife were accusing him of rape, everyone would be all “well no one can know what happened between two people except the two people! plus she probably asked for it.”


  43. CannibalFemme

    Kelsey: I don’t hug people, but I do want to offer what B. Dagger Lee calls ‘the chin-nod’. Thanks for posting that.

    And yes, it can get pretty fucking lonely and frustrating and struggle-laden when the whole damn world is basically set up to invalidate your personhood. Damn straight. But I personally have to say that I’m glad you decided to struggle on anyway. I’m glad for you, and I’m glad for the women around you. Yes.

  44. Spinning Liz

    From an op-ed piece in Monday’s Times-Pacayune:

    Everette Simpson married three times, and three times he murdered his wife. Simpson stabbed his first wife 16 times with a butcher knife and then served nine years in prison. He stabbed his second wife with a hatchet, was allowed to plead guilty to manslaughter and served 11 years before being paroled. Last month in Slidell, Simpson beat his third wife and her brother to death and then set the house on fire to conceal the murders. He died in the fire, so at least he won’t be released and marry again.

    Sheriff Jack Strain asked how a “monster” like this could have been free to kill again. The answer is simple — the national average sentence for men who kill their female partners is two to six years in prison. Criminal justice systems and juries do not, on average, treat the murder of women by their husbands terribly seriously.

    In contrast, women who kill their male partners are sentenced to an average of 15 years, three times as much as male defendants, despite the fact that many of these women killed in self-defense…cont.

  45. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Ah, another rich answer to the “Why aren’t you married, Antoinette?” question all too frequently put to me by wedding-and-funeral relatives.

  46. mAndrea

    I am very, very familiar with suicide pacts, and suicidal people begging others to “put them out of their misery”.

    However, suicide pacts and instances where the person wants to die, NEVER involves choking and stabbing the person 47 times. It ALWAYS involves gas, pills, hanging, or as a last resort, ONE gunshot. People who are suicidal usually want the least amount of pain as possible, both for themselves and the other people involved in the pact.

    Anyone remotely connected with the justice system should know all this. The judge let the guy walk just because, “hey, it’s female so who cares? We can’t imprison an innocent old MAN!”

  47. Frumious B

    According to my last doctor, homicidal tendencies are symptoms of depression just as suicidal tendencies are. It’s more likely that the underlying homicidal tendencies were already there and his meds gave him the get up and go to follow through than it is that the meds were the source of the homicidal tendencies.

    Regardless, it’s no coincidence that he went after his wife rather than the mailman.

    “Why aren’t you married, Antoinette?”

    “Just lucky, I guess.”

  48. MedeaOnCrack

    Thanks for that Times-Picayune newspaper story Liz. That is a stunning piece. We all here know that is what happens, but it needs to be put before the common woman and man who don’t seem to have connected the dots. Thanks to that woman lawyer and TP editorial staff for publishing it. I’d be interested to know if the print version carries any letters to the editor. Is this case fini now, or is their right of appeal?

  49. MedeaOnCrack

    I wonder, is Louisiana still French law in murder cases, or only family law?

  50. Moira

    This made me cry. And I’m at work and I’m trying to swallow it all and not make any noise and it hurts. Forty-seven times.

    Men hate us. Men hate us. Men hate us.

  51. villiers

    My last comment got eaten–was it something I said?

    Kelsey! Alice!

    Just keep on keeping on. What you’re feeling, it’s what we’re all feeling. Thanks for writing it–there are a lot of people nodding at their computer screens right now, thanks to you.

    And Kelsey? Be that woman’s friend. Be her friend by telling her why you can’t be her boyfriend’s friend.

  52. buggle

    Is there something we can do? Someone we can write to about this? This just seems crazy to me. 47 times? And then he was too tired to kill himself? That’s what a gun is for, buddy-takes no energy. This is insane. I wonder if he has any domestic violence history?

    Kelsey-I hear you about the friend with the sexist piggy boyfriend. Depends on the woman, but my friend was just way too in love to even be able to see that he was an ass. He was awful. And nothing I said or did changed the way she saw him- it was infuriating.

    It is lonely, and it is hard. Giving up seems like a nice idea, but I think there is a certain point you get to where you can’t ever really go back to “not seeing.” That’s why I come here most days-just to not feel so alone.

  53. Vera Venom

    “It is lonely, and it is hard. Giving up seems like a nice idea, but I think there is a certain point you get to where you can’t ever really go back to “not seeing.” That’s why I come here most days-just to not feel so alone. ”

    I second that. I’ve been trying for over a month now to “stop seeing”. For me, it’s not possible. I watch movies I used to love, or reread books I used to love, or talk with people who’s arguments I used to love and wonder how ever missed the sexism, misogyny and white heterosupremacy.

    I can’t go back to “not seeing”. It’s (&^%$&^$%@# everywhere.

  54. LCforevah

    Kelsey, buggle, don’t be too hard on yourselves or your girlfriends. I’ve seen this happen too, and the menz aren’t stupid. The way they talk to you is NOT exactly the way they talk to their girlfriends–they know how to protect their interests. It usually isn’t until the commitment is legal that the girlfriends now wives get to find out the hard way.

  55. Bird

    Kelsey, I’m thankful for all the women who stayed my friends even when I was too blind to see what a horrible, abusive monster I was living with. They kept on loving me and helped me pick up the pieces when it was all done. And one very good friend kept me from being really stupid and going back to him and reminded me that I knew deep down that to do so would be a soul-destroying choice.

    Stick by her. Meet her for coffee or lunch away from her boyfriend, go on “no boys allowed” weekend trips, or if it’s the only option, send her a caring email or make a phone call once in a while. Women friends are often the lifeline that pulls us out of the depths of a bad relationship. Don’t drop her—in all probability, she’s going to need you.

  56. Shira

    “It is lonely, and it is hard. Giving up seems like a nice idea, but I think there is a certain point you get to where you can’t ever really go back to “not seeing.” That’s why I come here most days-just to not feel so alone. ”

    I third that. I post this story on facebook, and this jackass comes along to inform me that this guy was a “decent guy” and that this must have been some weird aberration from his normal behavior because hey, his friend at church supports him! And then he writes, “Frankly my dear, I think you are beginning to see misogyny in everything, whether it’s there or not.”

    Right, because who could possibly see misogyny in a guy stabbing a woman 47 times? I guess I should have learned by now that the appropriate place to see misogyny is nowhere, or at least nowhere that 19 year old Liberal White Dude doesn’t approve of.

    The really sick thing is that they don’t even try to empathize. I don’t think they can. Who the hell reads a story like the above and doesn’t stop to consider how horrible it would be to be stabbed 47 times, choked, and then have your throat slit? How the hell can a human being read the above article and come to the conclusion that it’s the MAN in this story who has suffered enough? Why do men ALWAYS empathize with the man holding the gun or the knife or the penis and not the bullet-riddled or stabbed or raped woman? Why are they so incapable of identifying with women?


  57. buggle

    Bird- good idea about Kelsey seeing her friend without the boyfriend. That worked ok for me, except that I would get so angry when she’d tell me things that he said or did. It is so hard to stand by and watch your friend being hurt. He would just tell her she was crazy, overreacting, etc. God, he was such a loser. He ended up dumping her with tons of debt and leaving her at home with her parents. What a winner.

    LC-it’s so true-I know this guy was playing with her head in a big way. He manipulated her constantly, so that she didn’t know which way was up. She once told me “this relationship is so important to me, that I’ll do whatever it takes to make it work.” So sad. The worst part for me? She and her boyfriend were constantly telling me that I was jealous of them, and that I needed to go find a man. Gah!!! Never mind that I was in a hard core healing space from incest-all a woman really ever needs is some man!

  58. Bird

    Buggle, I agree, it’s hard to watch a friend go through something so destructive—I have a close friend who’s making some really scary choices right now, and I worry about her a lot. There are days I want to grab her by the shoulders and shake some bloody sense into her.

    Still, I would rather be there to be some sort of voice of reason when I can and to at least keep an eye on things in case the shit really hits the fan and she needs emergency help. I also figure that if she does end up screwed over by him (which generally happens), at least she won’t be alone. Honestly, when I was on that road, my women friends were the only thing that stood between me and total self-destruction some days.

    And yeah, sometimes our friends don’t appreciate the support at the time. I know I said some nasty things to people. But I’m so glad now that they stood by me, and I wish I’d taken their advice. Would have saved me a black eye or two.

  59. buggle

    Bird-yes, absolutely. I actually stayed friends with her because I was scared for her, and I wanted her to have someone to call or run to if things got really bad.

    Sometimes it’s tough though, if the woman gets mad at you and feels like she has to make a choice between you and the guy.

    Shira- that is totally sick. I know what you mean- why are these men always so ready to identify with the rapist/murderer/harasser/abuser? What is that about? And yeah, 47 stab wounds, no, that’s not woman hating. That’s just a man doing what he’s gotta do. Seriously, what is WRONG with people?

    I guess if they identified with the woman, that would be a scary vulnerable place for them. If men really started to put themselves in our shoes, so to speak, they’d be so fucking scared they’d probably explode into a million pieces. Never mind that we have to deal with it every day.

    Like this morning, like all mornings, walking to the bus stop. Truck drivers stare at me and leer. YES, I am a woman! YES, I have boobs! It’s all very exciting, now would you mind not staring at me?! Seriously, you’d think these losers had literally never seen a woman before. If men can’t grasp the “small” daily shit we go through, what hope is there for them to understand the big stuff?

  60. Vera Venom

    “Why are they so incapable of identifying with women?”

    What’s weird is, I’ve often tried to imagine what it would be like to be so completely lacking in empathy for my fellow humans beings – and find it impossible to do so. I’m told a lot of the time that I’m too emotional because even dispassionate news reports of the horrors we do to each other can bring me to tears.

    But, I can’t imagine what it’s like to not empathize, or identify with others. It doesn’t matter what sex, race, nationality, etc etc they are.

    Why am I capable of identifying with others and they’re not? Why don’t they see that they can’t? Why is it so easy to feel for the criminal and not the victim based solely on who has the extra appendage and who doesn’t?

    Somehow IBTP seem inadequate. But it breaks my heart anyway.

  61. justicewalks

    Why is it so easy to feel for the criminal and not the victim based solely on who has the extra appendage and who doesn’t?

    Under patriarchy, manliness, masculinity, and manhood are all more important than human-ness or humanity. It isn’t that men don’t have the capacity to empathize with women; it’s just seen as a trivial, worthless, feminine thing to do. Why exert the extra effort to be human when it gets in the way of being a MAN, which is more important?

  62. Feminist Avatar

    Men, under the patriarchy, cannot empathise with women as they would have to acknowledge that there was a problem with the system. The idea that women are anything other than entirely happy with the system is terrifying as it undermines their authority and threatens their whole understanding of the world. In this sense, it is like a slave revolt. Slave owners had to believe that slaves were happy with their oppression because the alternative, that the people who were with you everyday, who had access to you all the time and perhaps even had intimate relationships with you, were planning to overthrow you and to destroy your sense of self is really very frightening.

    That is why blogs like this are considered threatening as women are talking about their anger at the system.

  63. CannibalFemme

    Shira: this is the sort of thing that always makes me want to post about it *incorrectly*; change the story to switch the genders and then put it out there, and see who says what. As a sort of experiment. Save the reveal for an appropriately piquant moment.

  64. buggle

    CannibalFemme-that’s a GREAT idea! I’m sure most men would be ready to lock the female murderer up-appropriately. But yep, I bet when you reveal it’s a male murderer, they’d somehow find a way to change their minds. God I’m cranky.

  65. mearl

    “Why do men ALWAYS empathize with the man holding the gun or the knife or the penis and not the bullet-riddled or stabbed or raped woman? Why are they so incapable of identifying with women?”

    Because it’s a war out there, Us vs Them. There are “two” sexes in mainstream thinking, so men identify with their own camp, and it takes a lifetime of critical thinking and empathising to unlearn the brainwashing that started for all of us in childhood. All men harbour hatred towards women because we’re “the Other” to them. We either represent, in a flesh effigy, their extremely powerful and scary mother, because her body and our bodies mean the difference between life and death for everyone (whether men like to acknowledge this or not, and you bet your sweet ass they try as hard as they can not to), or we represent all the vaginas they want to poke their sad little weiners into for their own satisfaction; those elusive vaginas that they don’t have 24/7 access to; the vaginas that men think they SHOULD be entitled to. Men grow up convincing themselves and every other man out there that women are inferior, so they would never TRY to identify with a woman because that would degrade THEM as well as us. Women are on the other end of the shit stick, so we CAN identify with others. We have the capacity for empathy because we aren’t constantly in the process of wildly trying to protect our sovereignity in the world. We don’t have anything to lose by being decent human beings, or by having a revolution. As Susan Maushart said,

    Men don’t seek change to the status quo because the status quo has been good to them. Husbands don’t actively seek more equality in marriage for the same reason that managers don’t lobby for sales jobs, doctors don’t aspire to become nurses, and queen bees don’t facilitate workers’ strikes. (Wifework, 204)

    Whew! Sorry, that question just triggered my feminist reflex.

  66. Shira

    CannibalFemme- wonderful idea. I’ll definitely do that next time. I can’t wait to see them suddenly understand that “She was such a decent woman and this is so out of character for her!” isn’t a defense to murder.

  67. Mary Kay

    While it is clear that Cymbalta is perfectly capable of inducing psychosis — indeed, this appears to be its primary function

    This literallly makes me see red. Cymbalta and drugs like it are the only reason I, and lots of folks just like me, are alive today. They make life not only possible, but good. Just because you had a bad experience with a drug does not mean it is useless and/or dangerous. People vary enormously. Please don’t do this. You have no idea if you might be warning away someone who would be greatly helped. PEOPLE VARY. And so do their reactions to drugs.


  68. MedeaOnCrack

    My understanding is you plateau, then you need greater and greater doses and experience greater and greater side effects. When you try to get off them, you find you cannot and you are left with depression (or peripheral neuropathy or whatever the original prescribing reason was) and addiction.

  69. Twisty

    “Just because you had a bad experience with a drug does not mean it is useless and/or dangerous.”

    Of course it does. What am I, chopped liver?

    Dang it, I knew that sardonic little remark would draw out the yay-Cymbalta folks. I doubt that anyone reading this blog would mistake me for a psychiatrist or a pharmacologist, but if it will ease your worried mind, Mary Kay, I hereby go on record as stating that the article to which this comment is appended should in no way be construed as medical advice.

    Fortunately, for you and for drug companies, there is no shortage of anti-depressants or of people to prescribe them!

  70. Mary Kay

    “Just because you had a bad experience with a drug does not mean it is useless and/or dangerous.
    Of course it does. What am I, chopped liver?

    Fine. It’s useless and/or dangerous for YOU. That isn’t what you said. Words are important and you know it.

    Also, “Fortunately, for you and for drug companies, there is no shortage of anti-depressants or of people to prescribe them! ” is both dismissive of my experience and incorrect. In fact, Cymbalta is currently the only drug which works on my constellation of symptoms. What I’m going to do when it quits, as all of them have, sooner or later, is a good question. A good scary question.

    They don’t have to mistake you for a psychiatrist. I originally asked my doctor about SSRIs because they helped someone I worked with. I’ve done a lot of writing about and educating on this topic. Some people have been good enough to say I helped them get help. Word of mouth is important. Words are important and have power. Else why would we do this blogging thing.

    Biochemically induced depression is real and life threatening. — I was 13 the first time I tried suicide. I’m currently 54 and I’ve been living with that shit for 40 years. Really you know, I do know what I’m talking about. Just as I have never thought I knew more about your medical situation than you do, I’d appreciate the same courtesy. Rather than the implication that I’m a tool of the drug industry.


  71. Sarah Z

    Thank you Mary Kay. I’ve been trying to write something similar to what you just did and haven’t been as successful — my version’s a lot less eloquent.

  72. Twisty

    Mary Kay and Sarah Z: You are correct; I have appeared dismissive. Sometimes I am afflicted with an irrepressible imp of the perverse that makes me josh when joshing is not indicated. I started joshing about clinical depression and the sore inefficacy of treatments the day my good friend Jeff killed himself, and saw no reason to quit 2 weeks later when my girlfriend blew her chest off with a shotgun. Without joshing, I’d be dead right now myself, and that’s no joke.

    But I grasp that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I apologize for giving offense. And I certainly never meant to equate you with the drug companies, although, looking back at what I wrote, it sure looks that way.

  73. Joanna

    Spanish 16th century literature actually has a whole sub-genre of theater called “wife murder plays” that are about menz and their “honor”

    Twisty, like Liz, badkitty, anaham, Mary Kay, Sarah Z, I’m another commenter who has had a different experience with Cymbalta, than yours. But I also routinely have paradoxical relations to drugs (the ones that are supposed to make me sleepy make me wired, etc).

    Like some other readers here, I live with fibromyalgia and chronic depression, both probably hereditary. The fibromyalgia isn’t life threatening, but the depression has been. I didn’t get a diagnosis for the fibromyalgia until I’d had the symptoms for about fifteen years, and I hid from the diagnosis of the depresssion for a longer time. I worked out for myself that I wasn’t crazy (“hysterical”) or making shit up. I understood that the alcoholics and drug addicts in my immediate family were/are self-medicating in destructive ways. So I resisted ALL medications for years (including “natural remedies”) and worked hard to manage my symptoms without them, through diet, exercise, therapy, physical therapy, meditation, twelve-step groups, self-help books, willpower and all kinds of major life changes. My mother and I helped check my sister into a hospital so she wouldn’t kill herself before she cleaned up (she’s been clean and sober for over ten years now). For me, suicide is what people do when the pain they are experiencing is more than they can bear at the time, with the resources at hand. The people left behind are devastated. When I couldn’t walk over the Mississippi river (something I have to do where I work) without imagining hitting the water as a way out, I decided to try the meds.

    Twisty, I had a similar reaction to the Elavil (amytriptaline) which was prescribed for me to help with symptoms of fibromyalgia. It worked for the sleep-disorder stuff, but I felt utterly stupid until noon every day, and I’m a teacher so that was unacceptable. I tried Celexa, but it made me perpetually hungry, paranoid, and took away my ability to have an orgasm, also unacceptable. Now I’m taking Cymbalta (have for a year) and I’m doing OK. It hasn’t helped my chronic pain at all, as we’d hoped, but so far I have been side-effect free.

    So, I’ve found a combination that allows me to reconnect with my joy, and to continue working to support myself and my daughter. But the drugs are never enough by themselves-they’re not happy pills. If I don’t do the other stuff I need to do to manage my symptoms, they get worse. In the last few years, when I have experienced a suicidal impulse, I have been able to understand it as an emergency flare my body is sending to my consciousness telling me to seek help.

  74. Orange

    I’ve never heard of a suicide pact in which only one of the two people dies, and a furious rage of stabbings is involved. How on earth did the jury contemplate 47 stabbings as anything other than a murderous rage??

    In London last week, the cover story in one newspaper was about a rape trial. Yes! We know how well those go in merry old England. The defendant’s lawyer, a woman, argued that the 16-year-old victim of a three-dude gang rape wanted it because she was chubby, and the “sex” would boost her self-esteem by making her feel attractive to men. A couple days before, a 17-year-old pregnant married South Asian woman was found murdered in her home.

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