Keep domestic violence indoors?

Published on The Daily Femme – Wednesday, July 7, 2010

This weekend, my boyfriend Dick and I heard a philosophy on domestic violence that made us both stand there and say “Say whatttttt?” It was so weird and so random that I felt it needed to be shared and debated.

Here’s the story: After shopping at our local bodega in Southwest Philly, we were approached by a guy (late 40s, early 50s) on the corner, just standing there, hanging out (he told us his name but it escapes me). He wanted to see Dick’s tattoos and then we got into conversation. It started with the tattoo, then Obama and how the “young kids” brought him to office, how people in our neighborhood “don’t have any respect now”, and then…domestic violence.

And what did he say about domestic violence – something one in every four women will experience in her lifetime* – “keep it inside.”

Yep…Keep. It. Inside.

To sum it up, his philosophy is this: you have to keep it inside because if you don’t, and he sees it, then he would have to intervene. And he doesn’t want to have to because, really, it was the woman’s fault for marrying the guy, so if the guy wants to hit his partner, then just keep it inside – so it doesn’t become someone else’s problem.

As I said, we first thought that this was nothing more than a weird and random idea.  Unfortunately that is not the case. According to a 2009 British Survey conducted by the Home Office, reported by The Times UK, approximately one in seven people “believed that it was all right for a man to slap his wife or girlfriend if she is ‘nagging or constantly moaning at him.’” The survey also found that while a majority of the people (over 18-years-old) questioned “believe that it is never acceptable to hit or slap a woman,” those between 25 and 39 were “more likely to consider that there were circumstances in which it was acceptable to hit or slap a woman.” In other words: our random corner fellow’s belief that it’s the woman’s fault for marrying her abusive partner may fall under the “acceptable circumstances.”

In addition, according to the Men’s Network Against Domestic Violence website, a 2000 Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF) study found that “one in three men did not actively support community efforts to stop violence against women because no one had asked them to get involved or they did not know how to help.”

This is not the worse thing I’ve heard in my life but it sure is up there. You don’t keep it inside. YOU JUST DON’T DO IT. Whether you’re a man hitting a woman, a woman hitting a man, a man hitting a man or a woman hitting a woman. Domestic violence – physical, verbal or mental – is NOT OK in any situation.

So what do you think about our guy’s thought process on domestic violence? What would you have said to him?

*National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

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