“My boyfriend and I were on a flight when a couple sitting in the seats in front of us got into a ‘whisper’ fight. At first, their fight seemed humorous, not unlike a fight my boyfriend and I might have. But it quickly escalated and became evident that this guy was abusive. What seemed like banter back and forth was actually really harmful comments and denigrating behavior. At one point, she must have moved her legs or something, and he pointed a finger right in her face and whisper-shouted “don’t you EVER face your feet at me like that. You’re disgusting. You would get beaten for that in other countries.”
What was even worst was her constant apologizing. It was clear she was doing that to keep him quiet. It reminded me of my own abusive relationship when I was a teenager. She had to say whatever she could to calm him down. She seemed so defeated. He was truly awful. I wanted to say something but I didn’t know how he would react, and there isn’t anywhere you can escape to on a plane.
I followed her to the bathroom, when we landed, unsure of what I was going to say. I knew that if someone had come to me when I was dating my abuser and told me anything I wouldn’t have listened. I probably would have reacted with hostility. I stood next to her as she was washing her hands and basically blurted out “relationships aren’t supposed to be like that, and you deserve better.” She looked at me blankly and said “What?” So I repeated myself, and added: “I’ve seen you, and I wish that someone had helped me see the hell I was living.”
She didn’t reply, but she started to tear up and rushed out of the bathroom. I think about her a lot. I hope she found her way out.”
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