Unmasked: The Face of Abuse

The Face of Abuse: What does it look like to you? A man with a five o’clock shadow and a “wifebeater” T-shirt, perhaps? He’s probably sitting in a well-worn recliner and shouting, “Shut up, bitch! Go fix me a turkey pot pie!” If this is the image you conjured in your mind’s eye, then you don’t know Jacqueline about the Face of Abuse as it appears to far too many men.
Similar to the supernatural creature known as the Hydra, the Face of Abuse is a loathsome monster with many faces. And like that nightmarish serpent, the Face regenerates two heads for each one that’s severed, and its breath and blood are the deadliest of poisons. Unlike the image of the male chauvinistic brute that mainstream society associates with abuse, the Face can be female, and at first she seems far from the dreadful reptile of Greek mythology.
This Face of Abuse begins as one of exquisite beauty. Ask any guy who’s come eye to eye with this she-beast and at first he’ll describe soft, loving eyes, angelic cheekbones, and a smile that took his breath away. Beneath this façade of expertly applied lipstick and eyeshadow, however, lurks a monstrosity that harbors a seething animosity toward men. It won’t be long before she attacks her unfortunate Victim with unmatched and unchecked violence and ferocity; such is the case for a creature spawned upon the arid plains of No Accountability. Punching, scratching, biting, and kicking are all too common, and the law of the jungle dictates that the Victim must suffer these attacks in silence and restraint: bruises, cuts, and even trips to the hospital are a regular occurrence, yet the damage to his psyche goes even deeper. If there’s an upside to this incarnation of the Face, it’s that it doesn’t last long.
After being moved to violence, the Face becomes a mask of righteous indignation. Cloaked in this pretense, she reminds her Victim that this is what happens to those who disrespect her. “If you were any kind of man,” she hisses, “you’d apologize. Either that or I’ll find someone who knows how to treat a woman.” Her toxic breath is so painful to her Victim’s central nervous system that he’s willing to do or say anything to stop the pain. Only then will the Face’s sweet, innocent beauty return, but not without the warning “If you do this again, I’ll make you regret it!”
The Face can adopt a look of blinding anger, especially in the heat of a discussion. What starts out as a disagreement quickly escalates into her unabashed use of household weapons: anything sharp, heavy, and deadly that can be swung, thrust, or thrown is used by this she-devil when in attack mode. She will think nothing of hurling a steak knife at the Victim’s head, and she will not flinch when the blade skims past the face of their four-year-old child whose only “crime” was wandering into the kitchen in search of Mommy and Daddy. At best, the Face will remove this blindfold and replace it with another mask—one of shock—and then another—the look of righteous indignation. Once again, the toxic cloud fills the room as the Face says, “I didn’t do that. You’re crazy.” By now, the demon’s Victim will do anything to bring back the beauty of what he thought he knew; but by now, her porcelain mask is starting to crack and the vibrant paint and delicate gilding are fading fast.
Beneath her many veneers lies the Face’s true nature, and it’s one of pure evil. This hideous monstrosity is a rarity, only showing herself when she genuinely feels confident in her power. The Victim might experience this after he comes home to find his best friend in the clutches of the evil beast. It is here that her pantomime of normalcy begins to fail, revealing something so vile, so wicked, and so depraved that seeing it forever changes the Victim. With venom dripping from her fangs and tongue, the Face relishes her hateful words, saying, “That’s right, I’m in love with him and he loves me. So why don’t you just leave, just get the fuck outta here for good, so we can be together!”
While demonic sadism is the true nature of the Face, she has other disguises. Desperation and panic blush upon her cheeks when her true nature has been discovered. Pale-skinned and wide-eyed, this grasping jackal digs dark talons into her Victim’s skin, drawing blood while shrieking, “Wait! I … I didn’t mean it. Don’t leave me. Please!” In this state, it’s easy for this succubus to transition back to the thing of beauty she started out as … but only if the Victim chooses to stay. If he keeps walking, he’ll shatter her magic, leaving the Face forever trapped in her most monstrous form. This is why she tries so hard to prevent her Victim’s escape.
A mistress of camouflage, the Face’s final incarnation is her most deceptive. Like a snake shedding its skin, she transforms into the Eternal Sufferer; then, by fang and stinger, she spreads her poison. Between tears, she details the horrors she suffered under the Victim’s brutish hand. A virulent toxin to his reputation, this substance is sweet nectar for police, prosecutors, and judges, and soon it’s their faces that the Victim sees. Their naked hatred and contempt for him will be exhibited in how he’s treated. As the Eternal Sufferer, the Face also turns the Victim’s friends and family against him, including his own children. The youngest of the Face’s victims, these children won’t remember all the times the monster attacked their father; the Victim, however, will never forget those chilling words the Face spoke just before she attacked him for the last time: “Daddy’s hitting Mommy! Call 911 just like I told you!”
So, what more do you need to know about the Face of Abuse—except that this is the Face of Abuse society doesn’t want you to see?

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