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January 26, 2011 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-01-26

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IB Wednesday, January 26, 20 / The Statement

JANUARY 26, 2011


few years ago, I was madly
in lust with my abuser.
*Barry was 5'10" and tow-
ered over me like a sneering gar-
goyle. My ignorance nourished his
caustic disrespect as our mutual
antagonism evolved into palpable
abuse. Our arguments excited me,
and his slaps reinforced my suspi-
cion that anon-jerk simply wouldn't
satisfy my "needs."
One day, in his mother's dingy
apartment, one of our verbal quar-
rels erupted into our last physi-
cal struggle. I was sitting opposite
him on a barf-green faux-velvet
sofa chair. My thighs sunk into the
cheap cushion. Barry was drum-
ming the fingers of his left hand
on the coffee table, hunched over
the Marlboro Red he was twirling.
The ashes fell haphazardly onto the
table I could imagine his mother
polishing hours earlier. Tomorrow,
she would tut, clicking her tongue
against her teeth and shaking her
blonde curls, as she cleaned up after
her freeloadingson. I scowled.
"'What?" he smiled contemptu-
"You can't use the ashtray?"
He puffed the cigarette, held in
the smoke and exhaled through his
yellow Chiclet-sized teeth before
stubbing it out and rising to his feet,
still smirking.
I rose to my feet so that my nose
was level with his neck. I was not
looking into his eyes. I usually
didn't. Barry brought his middle
and pointer fingers to the soft
spot right below my collarbone
From Page 5B
She tried her first burrito earlier
this month and her first cup of cof-
fee during finals week last semester.
Still, Zulkifli cultivates her
home culture on campus, living
with some other students from
Malaysia and participating in a
Malaysian club, which celebrates
festivals for the three main ethnici-
ties in Malaysia - Chinese, Malay

and pushed, testing my mood. My
weight shifted to the heels of my
feet, andI put my hand on his shoul-
der to steady myself. My mood was
volatile. He mistook volatility for
He clenched my wrist, removed
it from his shoulder and pushed
it behind my back, spinning me
around so I was facing the terrible
print to the right of his mother's
television of a woman sniffing flow-
ers with her eyes closed. He had
both my wrists in his glove-like
grip, the fingers of his other hands
jabbing into my sides. He was tick-
ling me.
This was vaguely amusingto me,
until his touch became vicious. I
bent forward slightly, letting my
elbow drop and then bringing it
forcefully into his thin torso. Hot
air exploded from his lungs and he
dropped my wrists immediately,
doubling over with his face hidden.
I smiled. This was how we played.
Hands on his knees, he lifted his
head and met my smile with a
malevolentglare. Ina swift motion,
Barry had picked me up, confining
one arm to my side. His feet made
circles on the shag camel rug
beneath us, and my protests grew
"Put me down, now," I started.
He ignored me, giggling.
"I'm serious. I am going to hit
you," I threatened. +
Hestopped walking in circles
and struggled in a curvy line
toward the bathroom while my
legs flailed in protest.
"Let go of me!" I continued.
and Indian.
According to Zulkifli, the
acceptance of different multi-
cultural clubs is similar to the
acceptance of diversityin Malay-
sia, where people from different
cultural backgrounds co-exist.
This acceptance has helped
Zulkifli adjust to new experienc-
es and a life far different from
the one she knew before.
"I'm so far away from home
and my friends here ... they make
me feel like home," she said.

and I slammed into the bathtub,
tailbone first. He yanked the rod
out of my hand, baring his teeth
as he strained to unbend the metal
into a straight line. I didn't move. I
Y was absently staring up to the right
at the moldy showerhead. Barry
enveloped my limp hands in his
aggressive ones, pulling me to my
feet once more. I let him. Walking
He set me down on the bathroom slowly to the living room, I scanned
counter, one hand holding down my the stifling space for my coat that
left arm and the other tightly grip- I found hanging on the plastic
ping my thigh. In blinding anger, I metal rack. My shoes were in a pile
brought my right hand back to gain beneath it. I grabbed my things and
momentum and thrusted it forward padded down the stairs in stock-
to meet his cheek. The sound of my ings, surprised by my calmness as
hand on his face surprised me. And Barry trailed behind me cursing
and afraid.
"I was falling backward, so "You can't
leave, Allyson.
quickly and forcefully that I was You won't make it
down the block."
likely to bruise." I did leave,
walking backward
then silence. He paused, bewil- to my car with my shoes in hand in
dered. I had never hit him, though the middle of February, staring at
he told me his dad did. At once, him where he stood slouching in
recognition filled his eyes until his the doorway.
pupils seemed to be swimming in I am not thankful for Barry,
rage. He pulled me off the coun- nor did he teach me any "lessons,"
ter by my collar and then pushed except how to throw a cuff with one
me backward toward the bathtub, hand behind my back. Simply put,
throwing his hands up with finality Barry was bringing nothing to the
as he let go. table except violence and suffer-
I was falling backward, so quick- ing. I shouldn't have needed a push
ly and forcefully that I was likely to realize it. That night, I decided
to bruise. I reached for the shower I was going to respect myself and
curtain rod, but the stupid cheap to demand it from those around
aluminum buckled into a V shape, me. The alternative was - and is -

compromise and self-loathing.
Here I am, very much in one
piece, still drawing on the stan-
dards I extracted from that grim
year-long maelstrom with Barry.
The would-be chaotic dating scene
at the University, brimming with an
infinite number of potential com-
panions, all with varying accents,
worldviews and life goals, has been
simplified by my self-centered
approach to dating. Before I invest
more than a second glance, I want
to know: "What are you bringing to
my party?"
This philosophy is self-centered,
not selfish. It's necessary: an hon-
est and critical evaluation of some-
one's additive potential. Barry was
bringing guacamole made with
rotten avocados to my party. I don't
blame him for his putrid fruits. My
inexperience blinded me. I told
him how to treat me. I didn't know
how important guacamole was to
the party aesthetic, nor did I real-
ize exactly how many people were
waiting behind the velvet rope
bearing five-foot speakers, inten-
tionally ordered playlists, crystal
punch bowls, red cups and ping-
pong balls. Now I know. I've hired
bouncers. Your clever advances
might be tempting, beer-breath bio-
chemistry major and your 4.0 GPA
is vaguely impressive, but what am
I to do with your stale chips?
-Allyson Samfilippo is an LSA junior
*Names have been changed.

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ETHICS Fellowship Opportunities
The Center for Ethics in Public Life is pleasedto announce its Fellowship Program for the
2011-2012 academic year. Fellowships are available for University of Michigan
Doctoral candidates, Pre-candidates, and Undergraduates.
The Dissertation Fellowship Program provides summer support for doctoral students
who have achieved candidacy and who are writing dissertations that engage
ethics in public life.
The Pre-Candidate Fellowship Program provides summer support for pre-candidate
doctoral students who plan to incorporate ethics in their dissertations.
The Undergraduate Fellowship Program provides support for undergraduates
to develop and explore issues related to ethics in public life for the campus community.
Fellows will receive a stipend of $4,000. Applications are due February 21, 2011.
For further details and application materials, please visit: www.ethics.umich.edu

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