A forecast says that more domestic violence is in the offing, rather throwing a shadow over White Ribbon day.
So, a new report has suggested we’ll see a rise in domestic violence due to the credit crunch.
Oh joy. Once again, women getting it in the neck.
I suppose it is inevitable, given the society that we live in. Many marriages are violent or troubled to start with, many women have little power or autonomy in their own homes, especially once they have children, and add the stress of job uncertainty, job losses, repossession and God knows what else worries, it will be all too much for some men of very little brain and rather too much muscle. Half the women murdered in the UK are murdered as a result of domestic abuse – killed, like Baby P, by the people who’re supposed to love them, and domestic abuse is the leading cause of death worldwide for women aged 19-44.
Yesterday was White Ribbon Day, an international day calling for an end to violence against women, and I find it interesting that in Wales, efforts have been made to get sportsmen, particularly rugby players, to speak out against domestic violence, in opposition to their macho culture. It is the culture, after all, that needs to change, so that women don’t feel they have to stay with men who are violent, and men don’t feel entitled to brutalise their nearest and dearest.
I grew up in a pretty macho environment, in the South Yorkshire coalfield and my mother was deaf in one ear where my father had belted her. We never knew what for, and she never said, but I’m guessing that she got a bit too friendly with the insurance man while dad was out at work.
She remained pretty scared of dad, as we all were (my sister and I have no trouble understanding how the Fritzl case occurred) and if he didn’t get his dinner on time, or the teapot wasn’t hot enough, you could be sure that the contents would be spread liberally all over the kitchen walls. He had his standards, however, and continuously spoke against men at his pit who gave their wife a backhander every Saturday night just to keep her in line. We were already in line, of course, so no need for that… 😉
I did always notice that my mother’s deafness was strategic, interestingly. Whenever she wanted something, she’d suddenly become hard of hearing, a little game they continued to play among themselves for the whole of their marriage. She’d want chocolate, he’d say no, she’d go deaf, he’d get his coat on and go to the off-licence. Talk about something back-firing – she made him pay for that for the rest of time.
I loved my father but I was never sure he loved me, and I left home as soon as I could get away from him and his endless bloody rules about every damn thing under the sun. He didn’t speak to me for two years because I chose a college course (Classics) that he didn’t approve of. But he wasn’t a monster, he was a bully, and he crumbled as soon as anyone stood up to him. Once I’d worked that out, he was easier to deal with. When I was 19 I told him to get off my fucking back, and he never troubled me again.
In the end, I reached a slightly better truce with him than I ever did with my mother, when I got him to admit, just before he died suddenly at the age of 61, that he’d never wanted any of us in the first place. And it must have been hard for him, marrying at 17, during the War, a women he’d met only six weeks earlier and then being stuck with being a husband and parent forever – roles that condemned him to hard manual labour underground for the rest of his breadwinner’s life when he was naturally a quiet and bookish man who preferred to be left alone.
In our sympathy for our fellow women, we shouldn’t forget that men need help too, to withstand the pressures that the next few years are going to bring, and to learn to control their anger and frustration rather than taking it out on their wives and children. No society benefits from violence, and men who are violent in the end hurt themselves almost as much as those they love.