A number of things have happened recently which have highlighted the fact that domestic abuse isn’t just physical – though unfortunately physical attacks appear to be on the increase. Emotional / mental / psychological abuse can be just as damaging, though obviously not as visible.
I’m fortunate in so many ways, not least because I’ve not had first hand experience of domestic violence (DV). However, recently I’ve been in situations where I have heard it going on outside and in the house next door. I have also been speaking to people who have been affected directly by this, including one person who has been physically damaged for life by an abusive ex-partner.
If you don’t believe that domestic abuse is a big issue, or that it’s happening all around, or that people just carry on as “normal”, just have a look / listen to Coleen Higgins’ story, reported on the BBC recently. What caught my attention was the fact that the perpetrator “helped” by taking the “after” photo.
The first question most people seem to ask when they find that someone has been abused is “why didn’t you just leave?”. There are so many reasons why that can’t happen or isn’t an option and, rather than try to explain it myself based on what I’ve heard and read, I thought I’d share this piece from a fellow blogger, Mending the Broken. Please have a read, it’s well worth it. Something akin to Stockholm Syndrome occurs, where the recipients are convinced that their assailant loves them and is punishing them for their wrongdoings, and that’s a really difficult situation to break out of.
Many musicians have addressed the issue in myriad ways, so I decided to provide details of a couple from different genres. This first piece, from Eminem and Rihanna, is considered by many to be an anthem for Domestic Violence. It’s made all the more shocking because I know someone who was threatened with “being tied to the bed and having the bed set alight” – there’s a scene in the video which is chillingly similar.
This second item is from my favourite band, and I’ve included it here because, for a “punk” band, the lyrics are very poignant, not least the last verse:
Neighbours shrug, go back to chatter
Just a man who’s on the batter
Then he gets his legal way
On just another Saturday
DV is endemic in many communities, and it’s accepted by too many people as a man’s right. This is just so wrong. The thing that strikes me most, is that the behaviour escalates over time, gets worse over time, gets more severe over time. How many women (the majority of victims are female) have to die as a result of Domestic Violence before anything gets done to break the cycle?