Domestic violence is nothing new to our society but it is finally now being recognised and acknowledged.
Nothing will change however, until we educate our children. We as a society need to be able to demonstrate and explain why the values of mutual respect, dignity, equality and compassion are both real and important. Until we have strong role models in our Communities that lead by example and mentor our youth.
We need to unlearn wives submit to your husbands and husbands do not be harsh to them; vows promising to obey. Have these central ideas infected our collective subconscious in what is considered acceptable within marriage? Although major shifts in thought in recent times have created contemporary, post-enlightenment thought; and for the most part we have abandoned myth we don’t appear to have examined and abandoned this core belief.
Why else would we have the culture of Bystander phenomenon?
Personally I cringe at the thought that domestic violence is a choice but despite what many people believe, domestic violence and abuse is not due to the abuser’s loss of control over his or her behaviour. In fact, abusive behaviour and violence is a deliberate choice made by the abuser in order to control you.
Don’t agree? Just think about this…
An abuser will typically chose the time and place when no one can see their behaviour; acting perfectly ok in public, not in any way threatening to others rather saving that for their partner.
The majority can stop the behaviour when it suits them, be it an interruption caused by an incoming phone call or more serious, a police visit, they will appear calm and reasonable. What is worse, most will direct their blows, rather than a mindless rage, actually aiming to ensure the bruises won’t be visible!
And so the cycle spins…. The abuse… The guilt, or rather the worry they might get caught… Then rather than take responsibility for their actions they will rationalise the excuses… Followed by their return to “normal” to regain control of the situation and lure their partner into a false sense of security… (this next step I can’t imagine) fantasising about their actions and planning the setup to legitimise the next round of abuse… Each time they promise never again, make caring gestures and you get drawn into the fantasy; you are the only one that can help and things will be different…
The Media has recently reported the proposal that the act of domestic violence be made a criminal offence, although my belief was this was covered within our assault and battery laws. What may help, is compulsory anger management courses and/or independent counselling – we expect drink drivers to attend driver re-education then why not re-education, or their first education in respect, love and honour?