While there are no longer any doubts that domestic violence is truly ‘in play’ when physical evidence is apparent, many of us, still maintain ‘false truths’ about the breadth and depth of this type of violence.
There is a deep sadness and an overwhelming fear, that all women harbour, when confronted with a ‘sister’ who is ‘sporting’ a black eye, split lips or finger bruises on her arms.
Perhaps our language is to blame, for this is no ‘sport’.
Maybe like myself, you have witnessed domestic violence and not intervened. Walking in similar shoes, can leave you too traumatised to act for another.
With the advent of the internet, information can be sourced so easily. There are plenty of resources and support services to assist those that feel that their lives are being controlled by the intervention of another.
If you think that you maybe at risk, you can test yourself for ‘early signs’ of domestic violence here:
The violence of denigration is a too subtle weapon. Sometimes, there is no ‘verbal judo’, there is just a one sided attack.
Recently returning from interstate travel, a young urban couple with their two small sons, waited in the queue, in front of Greg and I. There was a long delay. Seriously, it would have tested the patience of Job.
I thought it curious, that these young boys looked only to their father, for reassuring approval when testing boundaries. A stern look was all it took for them to immediately cease what they were doing and wait quietly. Later on after waiting in line became too torturous, the boys sought comfort from their father directly, avoiding their mother.
She remained withdrawn and quiet. She kept eye contact with the boys and would smile and occasionally when he wasn’t looking, wink. The young couple appeared to be quite fit and healthy, although she was noticeably thin. I noted that when she did respond to her children, she did so in a quiet calm voice, in order not to gain any attention from him.
On the way to the plane, she accidentally dropped the tickets. It was then that he launched, what could only be described as a subtle but persistent verbal attack.
He mocked her capability to hold onto the tickets. Reminding her that they would need them to board the plane. He asked her ‘if he needed to hold the tickets for her’. He said, that she was clearly incapable. His tone was not one of loving concern.
He spoke to her like she was a toddler. He framed his words slowly. He edged them with sarcasm. He persisted, mocking and belittling her.
For a brief moment, she told him to ‘shut up’ in a quiet voice. Perhaps she felt protected by the crowd of people around her? Maybe she was close to cracking?
If I pointed out this young Caucasian couple, with their expensive travel luggage and well dressed children, you would have thought it unlikely. But all the signs were there.
I looked at this woman. She wore beige pants and beige shirt, no make-up, no jewellery except her wedding ring. The only thing that she appeared to be in control of was her weight. Her bones screamed that on this account, she was victorious.