Only women bleed

If you were around in the 1970s, the name Alice Cooper conjures up a mental image of a hard rock star, who was one of the first performance artists. Yet, he also wrote and performed numerous hit songs. One of his more out of character songs is a poignant and troubling tribute to women who live a life they did not envision called “Only Women Bleed” which he wrote with Dick Wagner. Below are most of the lyrics, being shortened where he repeats the chorus.

Man’s got his woman to take his seed
He’s got the power – oh
She’s got the need
She spends her life through pleasing up her man
She feeds him dinner or anything she can

She cries alone at night too often
He smokes and drinks and don’t come home at all
Only women bleed
Only women bleed
Only women bleed

Man makes your hair gray
He’s your life’s mistake
All you’re really lookin’ for is an even break

He lies right at you
You know you hate this game
He slaps you once in a while and you live and love in pain

She cries alone at night too often
He smokes and drinks and don’t come home at all
Only women bleed
Only women bleed
Only women bleed (repeat)

Black eyes all of the time
Don’t spend a dime
Clean up this grime
And you there down on your knees begging me please come
Watch me bleed

Only women bleed
Only women bleed
Only women bleed (repeat)

I write this song today as the suspension of Ray Rice, the football player who decked his then fiancé and now wife, was overturned yesterday. I have written before that domestic violence happens far too often in our country (and world) and we look the other way. It starts as a control issue, where the man (almost always) exerts undue power and influence over his significant other. Eventually, it can lead to violence. And, it is not unusual for the woman to hide it from others, as she is ashamed. There is also an esteem issue, where victimized women feel they deserve this maltreatment.

The song’s lyrics speak to the lack of self-esteem. Women will continue in such a relationship, even when they end up bleeding or beaten black and blue. If you are in such a relationship, please get out now, especially if you have children. If you know or sense a friend or family member is in such a relationship, provide a voice and suggest where she can get help. He will not change. He will say he will, but he will not. He will eventually put you or your children in the hospital and could kill you. Please get out now, as that is the only antidote.

The agency I volunteer with for homeless families gets about 30% of its single female parent families as a result of domestic violence. They are referred to us from a domestic violence shelter for families. There are places that can help. I have shared the story of a friend who along with his siblings had no idea their brother-in-law was beating their sister until he killed her. He also beat the children. I have not shared that I had a neighbor who knocked on our door one night with her daughter, getting away from her husband who had beaten her for the last time.

Women, you deserve better than to be maltreated like this. Your children deserve better than to be maltreated like this. Get out. Get some help. And, if I have not convinced you, re-read Cooper and Wagner’s lyrics above. Only women bleed.

13 thoughts on “Only women bleed

  1. I’ve heard stories directly from women who won’t leave, too. They’ve gone like this, “He only acts that way when he’s drunk. When he quits drinking, I’ll see his old self again.” “I forgot to call him and say where I was, and I made him so mad; I should have called him.” “He’s been so frustrated since he lost his job.” etc. All of which have in common: he has a “reason” for acting the way he does.

    • Great comments and anecdotes (or excuses heard). The answer to these comments are most men who drink do not hit their wives, most men who have lost their jobs do not hit their wives and most men who get mad at their wives, do not hit them. To the women who said it will get better when he stops drinking, the question is and when will that be? I know you know this, but am repeating it for anyone else who may not.

  2. Hot button. Once these people give themselves permission to violently touch another, it’s most likely a guaranteed repeat. There never should be an opportunity for that second assault. I absolutely cannot grasp why anyone would stay with an abuser. It frustrates me to even try to understand it.

  3. I’ve been meaning to comment on this since you posted, and I’m glad you gave me a prompting on my blog! I watched Janay Rice’s interview with Matt Lauer this morning, and I just felt so bad for her. It seemed like she’s still very much a victim and unable to break away from the bad relationship. She kept saying how strong she is and how she would never let anybody mistreat her, but all I could see was the image of her knocked out in an elevator. i wish she could see what the rest of us see. It is such a hard thing for these women to navigate and escape.

    • Thanks Emily. I only saw excerpts from the interview. But, I worry for her. For football players, part of the issue is the supplements that affect testosterone, plus they live in a pampered life, where every thing is done for them so they can focus on football. Yet, other football players don’t abuse, so it is not fair to generalize. We have a Carolina Panther player who is on trial here for abuse. I appreciate your comments and opinions.

  4. Note to Readers: As I was reflecting on this post, it is obviously biased toward a western world context, where women have more choices. Even when it is difficult to leave an abusive relationship and many don’t, they do have that choice. What is more difficult is in other cultures where either by religion or mores, the women are looked upon more as assets and less as equals. So, many women around the world do not have the same choices and can be sold, maimed, or killed for doing or saying the “perceived” wrong thing. The word perceived is emphasized for a reason, as the offense may be speaking with a boy from another religion or caste. Or, they could be killed for the shame they brought to the family for being raped.

    I have mentioned these two books before, but two must reads for men and women are Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s “Half the Sky” and former President Jimmy Carter’s book “A Call to Action” which speak of the maltreatment of women abroad, but also here. Note, it was reported recently there are 13,000 women and children enslaved in England, as we speak and there are many in the US as well. These women are forced prostitutes, concubines or house slaves.

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