Recently I overheard a man in a store complaining about the stupid questions they ask you at doctors’ offices. “Do I feel safe in my home? Are you kidding me? I weigh 250 pounds. You think somebody’s beating me up at home?”
I understand his annoyance – I’m annoyed when I call the nurse hotline and have to go through questions about whether I’m having symptoms of stroke or heart attack.
But I wanted to ask him, “What would you like the weight limit to be for that question? Would 225 pounds be small enough? Should there be a height requirement, too? How does that nurse know your partner isn’t 300 pounds? Or maybe 95 pounds with a wicked right hook?”
At work I routinely meet with men who report that their female partners hit them. They don’t bother calling the police, because guess who gets arrested on a domestic violence call? It’s not the one who weighs 95 pounds.
Likewise, most people laugh or get offended when I ask them if they hear or see things other people don’t. “Look, I’m not crazy!” some of them say. But they’ve never been there for the interviews where someone looks at the floor and says, “Actually…”
Some people seem to find the abuse questions pointless, but occasionally I get people who find them pointless in the opposite direction. I once asked a young prostitute if she had ever been sexually abused. She looked at me like I was stupid. “Well, yeah.”