Posts Tagged ‘domestic violence’

  1. It was a bad week for women

    February 20, 2013 by Ashley

    This post is taken from @Blonde_M‘s fabulous blog, Against Her Better Judgement.

    Gods above, but that was a bad, bad week for women. In amongst the other enormous breaking news stories (resigning Popes; covert ground-up horse in apparently everything; meteors hitting the Earth), a woman was shot dead in the middle of the night, allegedly by her boyfriend.

    Image from Jezebel

    Image from Jezebel

    The story has garnered far more media attention than any other case of domestic violence might because the man who’s been charged with her murder is a world-famous Paralympian athlete. This, understandably, has meant that the focus of the story has been Oscar Pistorius, rather than the victim, Reeva Steenkamp. The faint irk that she seemed to be referred to for the first 24 hours of reporting as “his girlfriend” rather than by her name was nothing in comparison to the anger felt the following day when tabloid newspapers around the world saw fit to illustrate the story with pictures of law graduate and model, who spoke out about empowering women, in the skimpiest bikinis and underwear they could find.

    Then, on Friday morning, between a tweet about a band’s new single and Bruce Willis flogging his latest film, Daybreak tweeted the following:

    Image from Twitter

    Image from Twitter

    I’m well aware that Daybreak isn’t the epitome of high culture and sophisticated discussion. That’s fine: there’s space for both it and BBC4. But it’s a programme with an enormous audience, and one staffed by people who should know better than to put out such idiocy. ONS stats might be a deeply worrying portrayal of Britain’s attitudes towards women and sexual violence, but the responsible journalistic approach isn’t to start a “debate” where there isn’t one. It’s to educate viewers that there aren’t two sides to the argument. This might be an individual incident, but it’s individual incidents that combine to add up to a culture in which blaming victims is acceptable, when actually the only people who are responsible for crimes are those who have committed them.

    Because these two incidents came in a week when the 1 Billion Rising campaign was launched, highlighting and campaigning against the fact that one in three women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. They came in a week when the BBC ran a deeply saddening but entirely unsurprising piece about women’s attitudes to their own safety when walking home after a night out. The verdict was unanimous: from Ramala to Kampala, Melbourne to Rio to Ottowa, women don’t feel safe. They make sure they have something they can lay hands on as a weapon should they need to. A quick, unscientific Twitter poll of followers elicited the same information. Check with your female friends: I guarantee the majority of them will have done it, at least once, if not regularly.

    Is it any wonder, really, given that – globally – there’s a culture of violence against women. It’s a systemic problem; that if we don’t speak up against it where we see it, nothing will change, and one billion more women will suffer.

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    Blonde writes a fantastic blog which I recommend you bookmark immediately. You can also find her on Twitter.


  2. Hitting back: standing up to domestic violence

    February 20, 2012 by Rachel

    Image from Tumblr

    No man has ever hit me. I’m lucky. According to statistics, almost half of all women have experienced some kind of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. Chris Brown’s performance at last weekend’s Grammys caused something of a furore – had we forgotten that he was convicted of assault against Rihanna? Does the passing of time make violence excusable? Today, Rihanna is one of the world’s biggest popstars; she came back fighting. Yet her success doesn’t mean that Brown’s assault can be forgiven.

    As a society, we have a social duty to condemn Brown’s actions. It is our responsibility to ensure that Brown does not become a figure of adulation for teenagers. We cannot allow his actions post-Grammys 2009 to be forgotten. Yes, every human is entitled to forgiveness, but if that person is in the public eye, it’s another matter. If we accept Brown as a “star”, we are essentially accepting that the crime he committed was not a big deal. Rihanna admitted in her post-assault interview, that it takes a woman “eight or nine” times of returning to an abusive partner for them to finally leave. According to the tabloids, it’s possible she’s back with him again. It’s sad if it’s true, especially as she recognized her own responsibility to her fans in the interview, admitting she “didn’t realize how much of an impact” she had on her fans’ lives. 

    Brown’s appearance at the Grammys this year was greeted with a mixture of indignation and approbation. There were those who enjoyed his music, his dance moves – those who saw his music as something greater than his actions. Or those who were too young, and had missed the domestic violence case three years ago. Many were angered that he was booked to play at the Grammys, tweeting Rihanna’s abuse photos to remind us of his crime. In the days that followed, I re-watched her interview and re-read articles – and I was stunned by some of the comments – many standing up for Brown.

    This is a provocative headline. Did Rihanna strike first? There are a thousand remarks that can be made on the article’s content, but the comments left me aghast. Judging by the spelling and emphatic capital letters, many of the commentators are poorly educated. That’s no excuse, but it is, unfortunately, an explanation - a great many domestic abuse perpetrators are from low-income backgrounds. There are also perfectly eloquent commentators. One suggests that Rihanna “played the victim while Chris Brown was the bigger person and took the rap for the incident.”
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    Rihanna’s interview in response to the assault is documented dozens of times on YouTube – and similar comments can be found there.

    By allowing Brown to perform at the MTV VMAs, the Grammys and other such award shows where musicians are put on pedestals, we are silently accepting his actions; silently saying that it’s okay to assault a woman. Grammy executive producer Ken Ehrlich commented on Brown’s Grammy performance: “I think people deserve a second chance, you know. If you’ll note, he has not been on the Grammys for the past few years and it may have taken us a while to kind of get over the fact that we were the victim of what happened.”
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    The victim?! A woman was battered, and the Grammys think that they’re the victim. Chris Brown can be privately forgiven – but as a society, we need to remain steadfast. He didn’t just throw a strop and walk off stage. He didn’t just swear at the paparazzi. He hit a woman in the face, repeatedly. And we have to stand up and say, loudly and clearly, that it’s wrong. He doesn’t deserve the accolades. A modern pop star’s success is as much due to their tabloid inches as it is due to their musical ability. If the Prime Minister were to assault his wife, we would make a stand. The same should go for the entertainment industry. Brown’s target audience is at a vulnerable age – we have to articulate the flagrancy of the crime he committed.
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    Rachel is an arts and music writer for Electronic Beats, as well as the editor of Matchless Magazine. Her favorite comfort food is steak and blue cheese sauce, mashed potato, and peas, followed by cheesecake. She lives in Munich. You can follow Rachel on Twitter here.
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    If you’re suffering from domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 or head to Women’s Aid. There is a lot of support out there. Don’t stay trapped.