Lets write the next chapter not turn the page
June 23, 2013
There has been a great deal of excellent public commentary following Charles Saatchi’s violence against Nigella – Michael Laws perhaps misses the point in his weekly column. Where we hopefully agree is that leaving is the victims choice, however, women need to be supported whether they stay or go. It is not a case of turning the page and moving on as Michael suggests. That is a continuation of the status quo, that violence is a private matter.
I disagree. Women do not ask for this violence, and are guilty of nothing that makes violence acceptable . We should also remember before passing judgement on women who stay, that leaving is a complicated decision which can involve any number of variables such as children, a place to live, shared friends, money, transportation and even social standing. The list is long and can include love for ones partner and the hope he will change.
Rather than turn the page and ignore the issue we need to acknowledge that this violence is not, and should never once again be considered a private matter. When the Police are called, no longer do they drive away with the professional opinion, it’s just a domestic and let’s leave it to the family to sort out. Those dark days are over and our justice system now takes domestic violence seriously, but as member of the public, do we? That next page Mr Laws suggests we should turn over could be a hospital visit or even an obituary list.
As men we need to take responsibility for men’s violence. We need to talk to our friends and use our ability to influence and change men’s perceptions before another daughter, mother, wife or child is hurt or killed.
That’s why I won’t turn the page. I will not change the conversation. As a parent, I’ve already buried a daughter and I don’t want any other parent to go through that. I will use all my strength (such as it is) to help men understand that we can, and we will change our attitudes to violence against women. Violence is not acceptable, and I and the rest of the White Ribbon community will continue to speak out and speak to, men. I hope you’ll join us in writing the next page.Mark Longley White Ribbon Ambassador
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