My father is observing the same things in my sister's situation but he's looking at them in a very different way.
I look at MABIL's actions and see the desperation of a man fighting to keep what he's already lost; I see him flailing, desperately trying to hold onto the illusion of his masculine control and patriarchal authority.
My father, on the other hand, buys into the fear MABIL tries to drum up. He believes a man's moral anger will naturally supercede a woman's legal defense. I think that's interesting.
It's as if the world these men imagine is more real than the world actually in front of them. In the real world, California statute and practice limits what MABIL can do; but does he realize that? No. He thinks that the weight of his moral outrage and disapproval will be all it takes to punish my sister and keep his family the way he wants it. My father believes, to some extent, the same thing - that the wrong done to MABIL will necessarily require some sacrifice from my sister.
But that's not the way the world works. In the real world, marriages fall apart and people walk away from one another all the time. No one is punished; no one is sacrificed. They pick up, go to therapy and move on. Or maybe they pick up a hobby, learn how to be civil, and then they move on.
In the real world, bad actors get away with their bad acts all the time.
There's even a real possibility that MABIL will get away with his bad acts, performed in retaliation for my sister's, whose own acts were created by the sinkhole of her own marriage and the immediate death of intimacy between them. So in this daisy chain of bad acts, intentional and otherwise, who deserves punishment?
Oh, what do I know about marriage and bad acts? M- won't introduce me to his family until my last remaining ambivalence about our relationship evaporates.
And, yet the very tiny pull and tug going on between me and M- (and my acknowledgment that he has a right to set his own limits and boundaries, even if it creates some pressure for me) seems more honest and realistic than creating an ideal world where everyone is set up for failure.