Friday, November 25, 2011

#287: I'm Not Your Baby

You are the eldest of four children raised in a family where your mother was apparently physically and verbally abusive towards your father. They remained together until you and your siblings left home and then separated. -- Honour Judge Soulio 23 November 2011; sentencing remarks in the district court.
 
Today is White Ribbon Day, or, more to the point, it is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and White Ribbon Day, which urges men to speak out against violence against women.  Right up front I want everyone to know that I am not opposed to this, I fully agree with it, in principle.  Men who carry out domestic violence are the lowest of the low.  What irks me about it is the continual silence over domestic violence against men, by same sex partners and by women.  And that we have to have such a day in the first place, and that such a day is gender biased.  As a man I am looked upon with a degree of scorn by women when I donate to the cause but refuse to wear the white ribbon.  I do offer my explanation, some people understand, others accuse me of being a perpetrator of hate myself.  Whatever gets people through the night I guess.

What are my reasons for refusing the wear the white ribbon?  Because I feel that domestic violence should be eliminated, for everyone.  In order I feel that it should not be acceptable to perpetuate violence against children, women and men.  The perpetuators are not always men; women and even children play their part.  I’m the first to admit, and agree, that the bulk of the violence is carried out by men, and for that I do feel a sense of shame for my gender, however when a woman attacks me for wanting to eliminate domestic violence, then they are merely perpetuating their own unique brand of DV against me.  Pure and simple.  Violence begats violence.

I’ve never hit a woman.  I’ve been tempted, more than once.  I’ve been in physically abusive relationships in the past.  One long term partner I had was particularly savage, in her own way, with the offending being emotional (she’d not speak to me when it was my birthday, when we were out she’d ogle and chat up other men in front of me, she’d tell me how she hated me and loved me at the same time – standard stuff), mental and physical.  As for the latter, I’d be hit, sometimes I’d earn it by my own stupidity (more on that in a second) and sometimes not.  She’d lose her temper at someone or something, and I’d wear the belt.  If she felt I’d messed up then she’d go off the handle, culminating in her running me down in her car.  Why you ask?  Because we’d gone a gig and some woman, behind me and unbeknownst to me, had written her phone number on my shirt in red lipstick.  It mattered not that, by the time we got out of the gig, I’d sweat so much it was mostly a red blur and unintelligible, it was the thought that counted.  So I pleaded with her not to leave, she left, I stood and watched her go, she slammed the car in reverse, lined me up and took me out.  I jumped, at the last second, but still got clipped enough to take the wind out of me and stuff my left leg up.  Later she had me admit that it was my fault.

In short, I played the lap dog.  I was so starved for her affection that I’d freely agree that any abuse was my own doing.  I was in total denial, my friends would point out to me what was happening, and I’d shrug it off.  And I never reported it.  And I stayed with her because I genuinely did love her and thought that this was just a phase she was going through.  Sound familiar?

I’m six foot three and weight anywhere between 80 to 100 kilos, depending on how many pies I’ve scoffed down that week.  I’ve been told that I’m a physically imposing guy.  My ex was five foot four and weight about 60 kilos soaping wet, fully clothed with weights attached.  Who do you think the cops would believe?  Not me, that’s for sure.  And therein lays the issue.

The White Ribbon web-site would have people believe that, “Of the men who have experienced violence, only 4% of assaults have been by a female current or former partner.”  I don’t believe that.  I think a more honest statement would be that of all the men who have REPORTED violence, only 4% of assaults have been by a female current or former partner.  Men don’t report domestic violence, it’s that simple.  There is a stigma attached to men reporting domestic violence, especially when it’s carried out by women.  A male would rather tell a treating physician or the police that they were mugged by male, or males, unknown, than admit that they got smacked out by a woman.  If you don’t believe that then you need to wake up.

In my former life as a Tesla Electrical Coil, I assisted many females and males who were victims of domestic violence.  To be honest the number of women was higher, but they had more resources, such as women’s shelters and domestic violence hotlines.  Men have men’s shelters, but a male calling a domestic violence hotline will generally be told that they can’t be helped, that the lines are for women only.  That’s not equality.  Of the males that I assisted one stands out.  A large guy he’d been the subject of on-going domestic violence.  His wife would hit him, she’d force him to sleep in the carport, he was not allowed to speak.  Each time he spoke up she’d simply tell him that she was going to phone the police and tell them that he’d hit her.  The police would believe it.  Each time he went to report it the police would tell him to toughen up and deal with it.  Eventually he fled, with the children, but not before she stabbed in the shoulder.  Despite her not having a mark on her and him covered in bruises and a stab wound, he was charged and told to return the kids.  He didn’t return them as they, aged between 8 and 14, didn’t want to go back.  I felt for him.

I feel for anyone who is a victim of domestic violence, child, woman and man.  I feel that, instead of the endless campaigns warning men not to hit women, we’d be better served with a campaign that states, simple, “Domestic Violence?  Australia Says No!”  That would work, I think, for all.  I think that more awareness should be raised so that ALL victims of domestic violence, regardless of their gender, should feel safe in reporting it.  That is the goal I’d like to see reached, and that is the goal I’d happily donate to.

In the meantime, donate to the White Ribbon Day.  It’s flawed, to be sure, but I guess it is a start.

1 comment:

blue_kat_88 said...

As much as you hate Dr Phil, just yesterday he did a show on this, emphasizing that while it is considered rare, that men being abused by their wives is more common than people think.