Painting of Draupadi vastraharan by Arun Prem (Source: https://bodhikshetra.wordpress.com/)
You’re holding court
I know how you do it
I’ve seen you do it
I’ve HELPED you do it
You pick up the skin of the abused
That you tore off piece by piece
and stitched so that it fit just right
You wear the skin of the abused
To hide your own skin
The skin of the abuser
“She left me,” you say
Eyes fill with crocodile tears
“Come to my home.
Eat my food.
Watch me light my lamp.
Listen, rapt, as I tell you
The tale of her descent into madness.
“After all I did for her.
She left me
There was another man, you know
Otherwise she would have been with me
Draupadi promised me
That my skin will burn on you.
But I will be dancing, somewhere far away
While you go up in flames.
It is inevitable that an abuser will accuse his victim of betrayal when she finally finds the courage to leave. The story of his own betrayal of her trust is not required by society, which is programmed to judge women on the basis of their compliance with social rules, and to shame them when they resist. If you are commiserating with an abuser, know that you are part of the problem.