Let’s try it again
Posted on March 17, 2009
Ok, so I’m cheating now because I’m in a hurry and I’ve got a train to catch.
So here it is again:
“I would say that the attitudes demonstrated in these polls are at the root of DV. Society makes an awful lot of excuses for why someone did something. I think we need to start at the very bottom – violence is never acceptable. A lot of abusers come from abusive backgrounds themselves, an I think that counselling could be a great help for them, but never at the expense of the women they are abusing. I think women need to be taken more seriously when they suffer from DV and we need to recognise that it isn’t as easy as saying “well just leave them” – abusers usually start off as the nicest man you’ll ever met. Great listeners, very sweet and they gain the trust of women. The abuse usually starts as little digs, ways to undermine the self-confidence of their partner – subtle stuff, which is laid on a groundwork of love and trust. So when that first violent attack comes the victim has already had so much of their self-esteem eroded that they will listen when the abuser promises never to do it again, when they say how much they love them and how sorry they are. And the cycle continues.
We need people to understand this cycle in order to reduce victim blaming. We need people to put the blame on the abuser – this does not mean that I don’t think the abuser should not get help, because god knows it takes a certain kind of fucked up psychology to do that. The first time a woman looks for support for DV then the police and courts need to take that seriously. The woman needs to know she has an out. The abuser needs to know that violence will not be accepted. It should not take a woman calling the police 3 or 4 times to be taken seriously. The most dangerous time for a woman who is suffering from DV is when she tries to leave. That is when most victims die.
At the moment we are almost willing to overlook what is regarded as “minor” incidents. It is changing this attitude that will allow us to help women break out of the cycle – and abusers too. We need to be there for that first incident of DV, without victim blaming, without analysing to death the whys or wheres, without asking who started it, and say that it is not acceptable. If we can do that, then I think we can help both men and women destroy the cycle of abuse.
I’m not saying that this won’t take a lot of work – like you, I feel it is a huge wall. But I have a lot of faith in men and women and I think it is possible.
I welcome other peoples thoughts.”
So do I.