Domestic violence

While researching domestic violence, I encountered two articles on Wikipedia. One, about the pro-feminist, ‘original’ White Ribbon Campaign against domestic violence; and the second, about an ‘imposter’ campaign, initiated by an anti-feminist group called A Voice for Men. I was, quite frankly, stunned that an issue like domestic violence / abuse would become so politicized. On the surface, the ‘imposter’ campaign seemed to make a valid point, in that domestic abuse does not just happen to women or children. This is something I have seen in the past – even as a kid, I knew parents from other children where the mother was very openly abusive, not just toward children but the father as well. But, because this has apparently become so politicized, I am honestly reluctant to support either campaign.

What started me on the path to researching this was, as I walked home the other day, I happened to notice an elderly woman sitting outside. She had been crying, and was in the process of trying to cover up what looked like cigar burns starting on the palms of her hands, working their way upward, on arms that already showed heavy scarring. I don’t think it mattered much to her whether or not she or her husband subscribed to feminism. When I asked her if there was something I could do to help, after asking her a couple of times because she had difficulty communicating in German, I saw a sadness and despair in her eyes that is understandable in any language. I think she must have also seen the sadness and frustration in my eyes as she emphatically told me that she needed no help, while getting up and walking away from me. Since she was someone I didn’t know, I was reluctant to start talking to her about calling the police … it’s been my experience before that this approach puts a lot of pressure on the abused, and with a stranger who has already refused help, there seemed not much I could do.

So I decided to start researching procedures and organizations in my local area that might be able to help, should I see something like this again in the future. In the end, taking this kind of measure doesn’t require a ribbon of any color; and I would encourage others reading this to also look into local laws, procedures and organizations that are dedicated to the prevention and ending of domestic violence – regardless of the gender dynamics involved.

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5 responses to “Domestic violence

  1. The concept of an imposter campaign piggybacking on the success of another more prevalent campaign is a common yet unfortunate reality these days. As a result, I try my best to avoid certain ribbon campaigns (such as this) altogether because there is such polarization that occurs, even if it isn’t a ‘political’ issue. As it is with a lot of situations, there is so much more to the issues being presented than one might think. A good example of this is the pink ribbon campaign for cancer, and the puzzle piece campaign for autism: both movements are polarized by some very problematic and complex elements which one would not be aware of unless they research these campaigns in depth. And then, even after researching the campaign, a prospective donor may find that the issue that zir financially and actively supporting may not be particularly serving the needs of those victims that the campaign claims that it was intending to help, if at all.

    It can be rather disconcerting, especially in cases such as the one that you discuss in this post. While I do agree that the campaign to ‘stop domestic violence’ is an important issue in society that must be addressed, but it would seem that the campaign only addresses the surface of the ‘violence’ issue. There is so much more to the issue of ‘stopping domestic violence’ that I don’t think that the ribbon campaign for it is adequately prepared to take into account.
    You touch on some of those issues here, such as the reality that either gender is capable of abusing partners in relationships, and the issue of child abuse comes into account as well, but then facing those aspects of the issue would demand that we as society must work to overcome complex underlying issues that call into question so much of our prevalent societal attitudes concerning gender, race, social class, religion, education, marriage, power dynamics…damned near everything that is involved in how human beings have come to relate to each other in the modern age.

    And I don’t think that the white ribbon campaign -or any one campaign – could ever be adequately equipped to tackle the tangled roots at the heart of the ‘violence’ issue especially.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for this thought-out and well-written response! I think you are absolutely correct in saying that tackling all the underlying problems is beyond the scope of a single campaign. When I think about it that way, I’m almost tempted to think that such ribbon campaigns are misleading in that they aren’t able to solve much of anything on their own. But when I look at it from a different perspective, many of these campaigns do educate and serve as a common grounds from which to start meaningful dialogue. I just find it very sad that something that should be a no-brainer, don’t abuse the people around you – let alone the people you share your life with – gets diluted and spread so thin by people with different agendas. This is why I wound up moving away from the White Ribbon Campaign (both the Sr. and Jr. varieties), and moved more toward a position of taking individual initiative and becoming more aware of local laws and organizations. Skip the politics and ribbons and just help someone.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I worked in a facility for drugusers, like a café, and of course we had abused women there (not because those often use drugs, but because you find abused women _everywhere_).
    I have come to a conclusion then, not that I have worked much with it. I will, if I should need to.
    I am tired of talking to the victim. Yea, s/he can leave, go to the police, to other places – everyone should know this by now.
    I want to talk to the abuser. They are not happy people either. And perhaps it is time to show them: I see you. And if you want to change anything, the door is open.

    Work in progress, don’t work there anymore. We called the police a month ago, when we saw a couple fighting violently on a balkony., We called out to them, they closed the door, we called the police. Well, my partner did, I was mesmerized by “No Police Evar!” I am happy he did, though. No Violence Evar!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think your idea is an interesting one. In most cases, approaching the abuser is safest once the abused (notice, I do not use the word ‘victim’ here) has been moved to a safe place. This is because, in most cases, confronting the abuser will mean greater harm comes to the abused when the confrontation is over. Your way is interesting because you don’t suggest a confrontation; but rather simply keeping such people in the open, and inviting them to do something about their problems. This would also keep abused people out of a position where they feel like they have to choose against someone they still love. A very, very interesting idea – thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah, yes, ‘victim’ implies something, that’s stuff for another time. :)

        I have decided to look onto the abuser, because working on the abused has been done for ages, and it wasn’t too successful. I know exactly the fear to make things worse, if the abuser notices the abused is about to get help. This way we all contribute to the silence that often surrounds violence. The hush up. We don’t talk about it, we pretend we don’t see, so the abuser doesn’t get suspicious and takes it out on the abused.
        I think, this is WRONG! I know this sounds New Age, it is not: I believe in light. To shed light, to see what’s going on, and then to name it. Might help the abuser, too. Might open doors.
        (I am rambling… X) )

        Like

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