Thursday, December 02, 2010

Let's Talk About Domestic Violence By Moira Richards

Domestic Violence has become a nice 'safe' term to use when we talk about this kind of women abuse. It rolls too easily off the tongue and no-one stops to wonder at the irony that two such disparate concepts - 'Violence' and 'Domestic' - can slip so comfortably into the same phrase. It is a sanitized term that protects us from having to think too deeply about all the ugly deeds that hide behind it. Let me tell you some of the things that you are being told about, the next time you encounter the term ‘Domestic Violence’.

In physical abuse a man may punch his wife with his fists, or kick her if she has fallen to the ground. If she is pregnant, he might kick her in the abdomen. Weapons are also used in physical abuse - sometimes he will beat her with a stick, or stab her with a broken bottle, or shoot her with a gun. Or else he might just threatened her with these weapons.

A woman might even have none of those things done to her, but she might instead, find herself pushed or chased out of her home and locked outdoors in the middle of the night. Perhaps it will be raining or cold or unsafe outside, perhaps her young children will be locked out with her, by their father, or perhaps they will be shut inside with him and unable to reach her.

If a woman has to have sex with her man, whether she feels like it or not. If he makes her sleep with his mates. If he comes home late at night, drunk and disgusting and forces himself inside her. If he commits any of these all too common crimes, he is guilty of a form of Domestic Violence known as sexual abuse.

Domestic Violence also includes emotional, verbal and psychological abuse. In this kind of abuse, a man may always be insulting his wife in public, or humiliating her or rudely ignoring her. Perhaps he acts overly jealous or with rudeness when she talks to other people, and in this way, exerts his control over her social contact with others. He may bruise her face or lock her in the house to prevent her from getting to work, and to try to make her lose her job. He may even 'love' her so much that he will threaten to kill himself whenever she tries to leave him and make herself a new life without him.

And there is economic abuse. A man may take control of all the family finances, and refuse to let his wife know anything about their financial situation, or allow her to help to manage it. He might keep all their joint income to himself and just give her a small allowance. He may take her wages from her and spend her money on alcohol or drugs for himself, or sell her possessions so he can get money.

Domestic Violence can also include a pattern of 'innocent' behaviour that is intended to bother or terrorize a woman. Her ex-boyfriend may just lurk all the time near her office or home. Perhaps he or his mates pester her with anonymous telephone calls or clog her mail with repeated nuisance email messages.

I’ve just tipped the ice-berg here. The men who abuse the women whom supposedly they love, hide more atrocities behind Domestic Violence than I could bear to know.

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