The Hidden Faces of Domestic Violence

Sometime, I just don’t get the one-eyed views of our modern world, how we discern that one aspect of an issue is important, but other aspects aren’t! Our current anti-domestic violence campaigns are a classic example of blinkered views. The whole domestic violence issue, which for many decades has been a problem swept under the rug, has recently – thanks to a public outcry, and government incentives – had one corner lifted for a good spring clean.

Let’s get one thing straight right from the start – I am not trying to trivialise domestic violence! I detest any “man” who raises  a hand to a woman, or a child! It is the ultimate abuse of trust, and power! It is pure cowardice! I grew up in a generation where this just did not happen – or so we thought, as it was either well hidden, or people just turned a blind eye! 

What I don’t get is – why are we only focusing on one aspect of domestic violence…that of men-to-women! Why is female to male, female to female, and male to male domestic violence been overlooked? Surely that ANY form of domestic violence happens should be of concern to all of us! That one woman a week dies as a direct result of domestic violence is a frightening statistic. However, the fact that the “One In Three” site exists – dedicated to female to male domestic violence – speaks loudly that the problem is a lot bigger than that being focused on. The definition of domestic violence from their site is “Family violence and abuse is a serious and deeply entrenched problem in Australia. It has significant impacts upon the lives of men, women and children. It knows no boundaries of gender, geography, socio-economic status, age, ability, sexual preference, culture, race or religion. Domestic violence between partners, boyfriends and girlfriends (also known as intimate partner violence or IPV); violence between other family members (siblings, parents, children, aunts, uncles, and grandparents); most elder abuse, child abuse and sexual abuse are all different forms of family violence. Thankfully reducing family violence against women and children has been firmly on the agendas of government for many years. Now is the time to move to the next, more sophisticated stage of tackling the problem: recognising men as victims as well.” (http://www.oneinthree.com.au/).

According to their statistics, one in every three instances of domestic violence is a male. 94% of these instances is committed by a female. Between 2010 and 2012, 75 males were killed as a result of DV by a woman. This equates to one death every 10 days. Yet these acts of DV are neglected by government agencies such as Our Watch, and ANROWS. 

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, 30 May 2015, same-sex violence in relationships is a “silent epidemic”. Roughly one in three lesbian, gay bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) couples experience domestic violence. Those statistics are echoed among the general population. (http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/domestic-violence-a-silent-epidemic-in-gay-relationships-20150415-1mm4hg.html#ixzz3sTIxDpWL). 

Imagine this personal scenario from the early 90s. I was picked up one night in a local gay bar my a guy – Graeme, who I fancied – and his partner Peter – who was okay – for a threesome. Everything went fine back at their home, with no indication of any undercurrants…until breakfast the next morning. Right in front of me, as if I wasn’t there, Peter openly abused and humiliated Peter almost continually. It was incredibly uncomfortable, and not just for me. After breakfast, Greame drove me back home, apologising for the incident almost as if it had been his fault. When I asked him in for a coffee, he declined, saying that the clock was on him, and he had to get home to avoid any further problems. I was staggered that I had actually witnessed these events. Fortunately for Peter, the relationship did end. Funnily enough, we ended up as fuck-buddies for the next five years. In that time, he never discussed that issue with me, nor did I ask.

The statistics all round are frightening. No one – adult, child, male or female – should ever have to suffer violence as a way of control, or power play, or anger outlet. It is time to shift the focus from male-to-female violence, and rackke the oroblem in its broader context.

Tim Alderman (C) 2015

   

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