It’s a forewarning that I’m going on a rant.
What caused me to rant? Ah life. In all its intricacies and heartache.
I presented my Introductory Seminar nearly two weeks ago now. I sat in on the other presentations. One of the earlier presenters was talking about representations of domestic violence in the media (in Australia) since Rose Batty became Australian of the year. The presenter was saying she wasn’t sure she was going to keep the title ‘domestic violence’ because it’s difficult.
This certainly had me thinking. I object to the term domestic violence for a number of reasons. For me in evokes the Victorian sensibility of the man in his castle and women and children as property. It brings back the times when my mother was bashed and the cops did nothing. The sixties was like that. It’s like it if is labeled domestic violence it somehow has a veil over it and it’s no one else’s business. It’s domestic. It’s behind closed doors. It’s not ‘real’ violence. The media treat it like that and that angers me.
But it is violence.
If women and children for that matter are human beings with equal rights, then any violence done to them is violence and should be treated the same as other types.
If my partner came home and shot, strangled or bashed me dead. It would be termed domestic violence. If I did the same to him, I reckon the media head line would be ‘murder’. (Not that I’m going to do that to you darling, Dweeb.)
The other thing that irks me about the term is that it has a sense of shame associated with it. The victim is shamed. Not the perpetrator. Thankfully this is changing, but not enough, not by a large margin and not fast enough. I feel shame twice over. I was a victim of child abuse and domestic violence. Why is it my fault? Why do I have this shame? Oh because I chose that fellow and therefore I got my just desserts. Or I was from one of those families. White trash. Just stay away from me, you might contaminate the rest of us. Why for godsake do I feel shame for something that was done to me? Because I was brought up in a world where you don’t talk about that, you pretend it doesn’t happen, or if you do you, look the other way and, by the way, if you interfere, you are going to look like a jerk.
Stuff that in your jumper, patriarchy!
So what do we call this. The presenter suggested intimate partner violence, but then that doesn’t capture the violence against children, which can coincide with violence against the mother. I was thinking patriarchal violence myself, but that’s a bloody big umbrella. Under patriarchal violence, you have war, abuse of: refugees, prisoners of war, women, racial minorities, gays, lesbians, trans, the poor, children… need I continue?
Patriarchal violence-sub category women?
The other aspect to the talk was the media representation of domestic violence. If media are the invisible arm of the patriarchy then they do a good job of whitewashing domestic violence. Man goes home, kills wife and kids. Media asks, what happened to this decent bloke? Poor man. Let’s all think about this poor man and what he went through to cause him to (destroy his property? )Not man turns violent; cuts the throat of his wife and kids. Or man keeps kids, then when wife is trying to get custody, he kills them rather than let her have them. Man throws children off bridge because no one else should have his kids. Man strangles child while having a visitation. Women denied protection by police and then is murdered in cold blood in her car on at the road. It is happening every day. It’s awful. Tell it like it is media. Stop whitewashing this bullshit. We shouldn’t have to have sites that reedit your whitewash to make it tell the truth.
Man is denied his property so he destroys it. No one else gets to play with his toys.
Anyway, it all boils down to how women and children are viewed, valued and validated. Here I think there is a long way to go to making them equal.
And my last bit of rant– the fight against domestic violence is seen as a feminist issue. Why the hell is that? Feminists have been fighting against domestic violence and providing avenues for women to escape it since the first wave of feminism, this is true.
Why is it just a feminist issue? Why isn’t everyone concerned? Why isn’t it a social issue that we are all working to eradicate?
Sadly this post is not as eloquent as I envisaged first up when my rant factor was running high. I will also acknowledge that women can also be perpetrators of domestic violence…but I consider them victims of patriarchal violence too.
I have violence in me. It was beaten into me. It’s a darkness that is sometimes hard to control. I’m not perfect. I see it is there and I try to rein it in.