Grandpa Told Grandma: “Make a meal for my mistress!”

Humiliating abuseBy Yesenia Herrera

One stormy night as my grandmother, aunts and uncles all slept, my grandfather crept into the house with a dead cow.

He jostled my grandmother awake and told her to help him unsaddle his horse in the middle of a Mexican rain storm.

Afterwards, per usual, he demanded she remove his muddy boots.

What followed, however, was not usual.

After drying off he told my grandmother to skin the cow and cut it up for consumption, with no time to waste.

His intention, he said, was to take the meat to his mistress. He laughed at the humiliation of his demand.

Grandmother, like others who have endured repeated abuse, suffered from low self-esteem. Plus, grandma had carried the shaming label of “orphan” her whole life, making her feel unworthy. Unworthy of being heard by “higher-ups” and unable to speak against an abusive spouse, but willing to weather disrespect in order to uphold her husband’s peace and the collective peace of the home.

So she robotically followed the command.

But then something else also happened.

As my mother witnessed this her rage burst over. She told off my grandfather, demanding he respect her mother! Her rage rose, unabated, in the face of his threats and his knife.

My mother’s reaction was all reflex — a terrifying one — and it left grandpa stunned at what he had created. He could not deny that her strength was his own doing. For even as grandfather had spent his life batting his wife down in hopes of lifting his own sorry ego, he had also put all of his children to work — both sons and daughters — which toughened them up.

My mother’s defiance of grandfather’s rule in that moment highlighted her strength in the face of a machismo fostered by a patriarchal society.

Once mom stood up to him, his children lost their fear. That moment. And always.

In the broader Latino community it’s exciting to see that with growing education and more access to a world beyond small pueblos, Latinas are taking it upon themselves to fight misogyny. My Mexican-American family, for one, is testimony of this change — a change that we younger generations hope to take even further!

This was written by one of my students.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on August 24, 2016, in feminism, violence against women and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 31 Comments.

  1. I wish we could erase the words ‘manipulation’ and ‘abuse’ from the dictionaries of this world, from societies and minds. I know we need a new invention for that and hopefully the next generation would focus on it, as even highly educated, economically independent individuals become the victims of these two words.

  2. I loved this story … the tone of it, the telling of it, and the message at the end.

  3. My wife is Hispanic and would never tolerate the behavior described in this post (although she would never be tested in that way because I would never, ever treat her in that fashion). While having a mistress and/or ‘casa chica’ may have been common for the last generation, from my experience, at least among well educated Latinas, they no longer tolerate and accept that it is normal for the husband to have a mistress.

    • Thanks for bringing up those points. I don’t think my student meant to imply that all Latinos behave, or have behaved, this way. But these things are more likely to happen in patriarchal cultures, and the Latino culture her mother grew up in was strongly patriarchal (patriarchy, in current parlance, means valuing males over females and male rule).

  4. domestic abuse is never acceptable regardless of culture nationality or otherwise. on and off for several years there’s been a couple who have lived nextdoor to the house I currently live in although others have lived in this house nextdoor to this particular couple and from time to time said couple would argue and the guy’s temper I thought was unjustifiably angry with cuss words towards his girlfriend. I’ve heard this performance from time to time over the course of the 4 years that I’ve lived nextdoor and I will not go out into my backyard when there is a yelling match but the girlfriend hardly says a word. I tell my parents I have considered calling the police but have been told that if I attempt to call the police on this certain neighbour in relation to what he is doing my parents would give me a month’s notice to move back home with them All that can really be done is to ignore what’s going on and if the guy talks to me as civil as you like I can only be civil but I know for a fact I would never treat my girlfriend wife or anybody man or woman with disrespect.

    • I’m glad that you wouldn’t treat a woman disrespectfully like that! And for sure you find this sort of behavior in all sorts of communities, including some of my own family members, unfortunately.

  5. what do you think of this? “http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2012/02/08/a-more-peaceful-world-if-women-in-charge/

    • I think that the world would likely be more peaceful if women were in charge but not for the reason Steven Pinker suggests. He is a evolutionary psychologist and things that men are naturally more warrior-like. I don’t think men are naturally were your life because our earliest ancestors weren’t . Men didn’t start to become Warriors until there’s something to fight over, like the wealth that came from agriculture. I’ll write more on that later. But when you get Warriors they tend to be male because better Warriors tend to be bigger and stronger. And then you encourage a warrior mentality in the males: tough, aggressive, dominant, not nurturing, not emotional. And then you raise your boys and girls differently.

      So I do think that if women ruled we would have less violence because girls are taught to be less warrior-minded.

      • Yeah but people will say and argue that there is an innate, biological component for women being more peaceful other than women not being taught to be warriors. Like women because of being child bears have more innate nurturing ability and that’s necessary or more important considering women are the one’s who carry a fetus in their bodies for 9 months or what becomes a fetus and the pains of child labor, a unique bond because of that. That while man can have a close bond, I’m not sure to that extent, because there seems to be something unique as a result of women having that element, and men not being child bearers. Women can learn to be warriors and probably violent like men, but I wonder if the biological element of women’s nurture would still prevent women world wise or number wise being as bad as men even if taught to be warrior like as men.

      • But our earliest ancestors weren’t war-like, either the men or the women. So it’s not just natural. And if you look in society today you will find plenty of women who are more warlike than men. My dad and my brother are two of the most peaceful human beings I have ever met. More so than my mom and I.

  6. I have a question. What can people do or I do to help fix our broken judicial system? I’ve always known it’s broke and things have pissed me off about it in the past like the Brock turner case. But look at this.

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/cops-man-bond-beating-wife-now-kidnapped-her-141343636.html

    This man fucking beat, tortured, raped wife for weeks. He’s taken in and so this is all evident of his offense. Yes there has to be trial and it’s good that we have to be proven guilty, as it protects wrongful imprisonment. But no wonder women are hesitant of admitting abuse when the judicial system lets them down and makes it more dangerous. The justice system shouldn’t be just handling people for a crime, but said people who are obviously a danger to society and can harm or kill people to be put away from society. It’s highly negligent. The bail system pisses me off sometimes, posting bail, so if met, a person can be out even if evidence they are dangerous and can do harm when out. This woman should have been safe having him arrested and such. But he met bond, and what’s happening? He abducted his wife at gun point and drove off with her. So this woman might end up dead when she should have felt safe for once. the judge probably doesn’t care, but I feel blood is on his hands and I don’t know if a judge can be sued or not.

    I’m not crazy about suing often as people do it too much instead of taking accountability for themselves. But if I’m her parent or family member, I’d sue the shit out of the judge and DAs responsible for that shit. But you see this too much. Either a poor person or minority over punished for simply selling weed and for 30 years or way longer than should. Then a guy like this or Brock turner who get a joke of a sentence. It seems like if it’s a minority or poor person, the sentence is longer than it should be. But if the victim is a woman or child at the hands of a white male, or rich powerful person, it’s under sentenced of slap on the wrist. With the bail system too, it seems like the justice system is an illusion of providing justice and protection from criminals. But rather selectively choosing and it’s a $ grab. It seems that way with the bail system and the rich or privileged getting a slap on the wrist for the same crimes or worse and women and children not being protected. And it makes it seem that way because well rich people and top attorneys they can pay off judges right? or pay a high bail, so more $ that can be raked in right? Sounds pretty corrupt to me.

    • I like the idea of suing the system, but it can be expensive if you don’t win. Maybe get an attorney who gets paid only if they win – that sometimes happens. And some attorneys work pro bono on some cases — especially if they think the case is important.

      Otherwise, it helps to start publicly questioning things like in letters to the editor or on blog posts and other social media. In the Southbay there is a movement to remove Brock Turner’s judge – who has already taken himself off of criminal cases. So creating a social movement helps. You have to pray coalitions of people who care about the same issue to get something done.

      • Isn’t ridiculous though? I don’t know if you read the post, but this man with evidence of his actions and he’s a dangerous man. He should never have been set to where he could be free unless proven innocent after trial. He should have been set bail to where he would be released. The poor woman was brave enough to go forward, despite many women not doing so because of fear. But she did in hopes that he would be punished and she could be safe for once. And the judge and justice system let her down. What do they think would happen wiith a man that beat her, raped and tortured her would do if let free? Umm, he’s probably going to find her and be a danger to her life. And what happened? He abducted her and they are traveling somewhere where he has a gun and she could be dead. Her life gone, because our justice system doesn’t care about protecting people’s lives even when clear evidence the suspect is very dangerous and should not be free because that person will kill or harm someone badly when let go.

      • I didn’t read the post yet– it sounds horrendous! But I did email it to myself to read later. Sounds like we really need to do something to change the system! I’ll have to think on this some more.

  7. But our earliest ancestors weren’t war-like, either the men or the women. So it’s not just natural. And if you look in society today you will find plenty of women who are more warlike than men. My dad and my brother are two of the most peaceful human beings I have ever met. More so than my mom and I.”

    I saw this too and it’s sad, but through it you see this kindness and nurturing from a cop, who has kids of his own. A man doesn’t need kids and just being a decent guy, but I wonder sometimes if and when a man has children if it springs more nurturing side. And here’s the spin too. Where the POS mother neglected and it’s just horrible the condition she left the baby in, but how the cop helped the baby out and cleaned the poor baby up.

    http://metro.co.uk/2016/08/26/police-find-vomit-covered-baby-and-give-him-a-wash-in-the-station-sink-6092321/

    I mean look at the pictures ha

    • What a sweet, cute little guy! I sure am glad he was rescued, And I sure hope he gets into a home where his parents really appreciate him and take good care of him.

      We are all a mix of natural personality + culture + personal experiences.

      On average, both women and men who parent are more nurturing. If a man becomes widowed and takes over parenthood, They become more nurturing. And in the example you give you see men who were more nurturing than the little boys biological mother. So her natural personality — and likely a personality disorder — are coming into play there.

  8. I didn’t read the post yet– it sounds horrendous! But I did email it to myself to read later. Sounds like we really need to do something to change the system! I’ll have to think on this some more.”

    I was right unfortunately. Remember how I brought up this case? Yeah the husband ended up killing his wife. This is such bullshit. Like a commenter said, I don’t understand why what happens if where the suspect is kept in jail until after trial. This guy was set bail and allowed to leave before when there was overwhelming evidence that he’d kill his wife. And lo and behold he did. For what I’m concerned, this judge and Brock turner’s judge can go play with each other with steaks strapped on them in a fucking lion put. fuckers!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/domestic-violence-prevention_us_57cf20cde4b0a48094a623e8

  9. Sorry to have more news, but I saw this on the news and it’s nothing new, but it made me think of that post you had. And that viral video a few years ago of that woman walking down a NYC street and being cat called and why this can be a big deal for women. It opens up eyes and how men should have more empathy in understand how it can feel threatening to women because of what can come from it. I didn’t always understand since I’m a man, but after having read posts and thinking more about things, I’ve began thinking more or try to in women’s shoes or how it can be from their perspective. This is sad and sucks that men have to behave like animals and where women just ignoring a cat call can be attacked.

    https://www.yahoo.com/style/yet-another-woman-is-attacked-after-trying-to-ignore-catcallers-202820692.html

  10. But I don’t want all negative posts, so with that one here’s something I saw on dr.oz or flipped through. I don’t watch it but my family does and I happened to go by it and I found this inspiring. Talked about bad men in the last post with catcalling, and perhaps because of how young troubled boys are raised at home and internalize our culture and the anger comes out, I don’t know. But more men like this men helping and mentoring young boys can hopefully make a difference. I guess this because a popular video on youtube and went viral of a martial arts teacher, but also his mentoring.

    And the whole clip isn;t up yet on dr.oz, but this is like the snippet here too.

    • I’m glad you have made the effort to become more thoughtful and empathetic. And you are a treasure trove of blog ideas! Thanks 🙂

      • what did you think of the clips here if you;ve seen them? I thought it was pretty inspiring and this is what more young boys need is mentors like this that let boys it’s ok to cry and show softer emotions and not bottle it up and help with building mental toughness and character. It’s great that men like this man take time to not just teach boys martial arts or sports, but life lessons. It helps give these boys a chance and set them up a path to be upstanding men when they grow up and not the path of juveniles or like those guys like I said who feel they can harass women or take their problems out on women or people. This is the time when boys are young and the early stage to teach them good lessons and it’s good he’s helping with that.

      • I agree with you. I like how you connected how men are put in emotional straitjackets and expected to be powerful and then if they aren’t and have no way to express themselves they end up taking it out on women. I’d like to write on that too.

      • What gave you the ideas this time, the things women deal with from some men cat calling or become violent from being ignored or the clips of the martial artist helping to mentor young boys and teach them life lessons? Or you just meant this in general from my previous posts that gave you ideas?

      • I was thinking of writing on the life lessons. I don’t actually see the clip on catcalling or men becoming violent from being ignored, I just see the mentoring one twice.

  11. Yeah there wasn’t a clip from that, but just an article. Yeah I head two clips of the mentoring. One of the class session that is longer and the other one a quick snippet of the same man on dr.oz show. Though there is a quick part of his martial art session on the dr.oz clip., but he doesn’t believe boys are inherently bad or he specifically pointed out black boys, because of perhaps how our culture stereotypes black men and boys and I thought you’d like his faith and thoughts on how it;s not black guys, but seems he’s implying how boys are raised. Especially in poor areas and how they don’t have outlets and take in a macho culture and express this anger in a violent manner which causes problems down the line.

    His mentoring is good I think because it’s the outlet that can help troubled boys with no outlets or no male role models or father figures and give them guidance, but more importantly how he admitted and said it’s fine to cry and didn’t put this macho act on the boys. I think what he’s doing is great and can help boys have a better chance on a better path than where they could be going without that guidance and in return it will help them in their relations with women and people in general.

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