Balls. Testicles. Cojones. Eternal symbol of courage, determination, get up and go. Showing balls is what makes a man ‘a man’, albeit exposing him at his most vulnerable. There’s nothing worse for a man to be seen to have ‘no balls’. So pity this poor guy who ended up literally ‘neutered’.
But year in, year out, thousands of women put up with being knocked about, put down and let down by the man who swore to love and honour them. They give up promising careers or juggle them with the demands of domestic life: running the kids to school, shopping, throwing dinner parties to impress the partner’s boss; partners who might well screw around, are more faithful to the job or the bottle than to their spouses.
As hard as that might be they rarely take recourse in physical violence when the shit hits the fan. This kind of attack by a woman is rare; far more so than examples of sexual assaults on women by men; men who are ‘let off’ time and again either because their partner is prepared to give them endless ‘second chances’ or because ‘the system’ is notoriously unwilling to rule on ‘domestic’ issues; or because assaults on women (particularly rapes) just aren’t regarded as a ‘big deal’.
You’ll remebmer the notorious ‘Bobbitt’ case from 1993, where Lorena cut off her husband John Wayne’s penis. She had been in a “fit of rage” after he returned home drunk from a night on the town and allegedly raped her. The latter went on to enjoy celebrity status and a career in ‘adult’ entertainment:
The pair later appeared on an episode of the US tabloid television show The Insider and argued over what had gone wrong in their relationship.
“John, you did a lot of things to me that were very painful,” Miss Gallo said, claiming he had forced her to have an abortion. “You drove me crazy. You drove me insane. No woman should go through that I went through.”
“I didn’t really understand how sensitive you are,” Mr Bobbitt, 42, from Buffalo, New York, replied. “You take things really seriously.”
One can only speculate what Maria Topp was taking ‘really seriously’. In any case, she chose to attack not only her partner but the very core of his masculinity; that tells us something. It’s a serious crime of course but it would be a shame if the masculine-centric machinations of the law, anxious to show that it has balls, got too carried away making an example of her.
An interesting article from the Harvard vaults re the Bobbitts: