Why Doesn’t He Just Leave? Men and Domestic Violence

At the moment, according to Destroy the Joint there is at least one woman a week being murdered by her partner.
Domestic Violence is now more of a mainstream issue than ever.
And there is plenty of advice in the air.

Men Accusing a Young Woman (ID 52029258 © Everett Collection Inc. | Dreamstime.com)

Men Accusing a Young Woman (ID 52029258 © Everett Collection Inc. | Dreamstime.com)

Rosie Batty is campaigning against domestic violence as Australian of the Year. The Prime Minister has floated the use of ankle bracelets to monitor domestic violence offenders. But first they have to be brought to court. Most aren’t. Mark Latham suggested that poverty and unemployment are the cause. He didn’t really suggest a solutionSallee McLaren claimed that women contributed to domestic violence and needed to be more assertive. Phil Barker stated that it was men who needed retraining.Perhaps this scenario may yield another point of view…A man who was brought up never to strike a woman finds himself in a situation of domestic violence.After the initial shock, he resorts to non-confrontational tactics and seeks safety in work, parenting and housework. Most of the time that provides solace. It never occurs to him to seek help because there isn’t any. But after years of avoidance and abuse, he retaliates.

The police become involved and he is served with a Domestic Violence Order. Despite the woman admitting she initiated the violence, she is not charged. The man reflects upon his actions. He ultimately determines that he shouldn’t have retaliated regardless of the provocation. He takes responsibility and does get help.

But it doesn’t change things. For, from that point onwards, more violence occurs. This time the man does not retaliate. He bides his time and in time leaves.

Perhaps the Men’s Rights Activists would see this as a defeat by rampant feminism. Perhaps their advice would be for the man to be more assertive. But much like Sallee McLaren’s advice, it would have made things worse.

At no stage does it change that fact that most domestic violence is male against female. Neither does it justify misogyny nor misandry.

But from this scenario emerges a man who has seen both sides of domestic violence.And from this man comes an answer which many people may not agree with….
Man Leaving (© Alexeys | Dreamstime.com - Leaving Photo)

Man Leaving (© Alexeys | Dreamstime.com – Leaving Photo)

And it’s isn’t that rather over-used cliché, “Why doesn’t she just leave?
No it’s the opposite : “Why doesn’t HE just leave?”
In fact, whether victim or perpetrator, it is easier for the man to leave the relationship.
And for this man, domestic violence is now a relationship ending event.
And for this man, any domestic violence leaves him one course of action. Leave. And he should.

Why Mark Latham Can’t Get It Right On Domestic Violence

Perhaps it really was a quiet news week. Apart, that is, from the Budget, Johnny Depp’s dogs, double-dipping mothers and the Rohingya refugee crisis. But perhaps with domestic violence in some of the news, Mark Latham decided to single dip and write another opinion column.

And he’s done it again. Or to use the academic expression, more research is required before a conclusion can be drawn.

As I waded through this column, looking for insight, I found it. But I had to ignore all the flim-flam frippery about Tim Watts, Peter Walsh, the ALP,  Government intervention, Parliamentarians Against Family Violence, Attila the Hun (some interesting juxtapositions there), Paul Keating, government intervention (again), until Latham finally, finally, at last, made his point. “This is an issue where politicians have struggled with their own behaviour, let alone found solutions for the rest of the country.” True. And I thought to myself, does he have a solution?

And he does. He diagnoses the root cause of domestic violence easily, simply and elegantly. But perhaps he’s been watching too much Struggle Street. The cause is self-evident. Poverty and unemployment. Wife bashing (as he calls it) can be solved by making the poor rich and giving them a job.

If I was a heavy-duty latte-sipper I would’ve spilled froth everywhere. But being a mere flat white drinker, I just skimmed the rest.

And my conclusion. Mark Latham does not know what he is talking about. His focus is too narrow. Domestic violence is wife bashing. But domestic violence is intimate partner violence.Domestic violence won’t be solved through fighting poverty and unemployment important as those issues are. Domestic violence would then have been solved as the rich and employed wouldn’t commit it. But domestic violence isn’t confined to class, or race or creed or sexual preference. A glib answer. A slick solution.

Domestic violence is an attitude.

And my advice. Don’t read the column. Don’t get mad at Mark. Talk to him about it. Talk to him about poverty and unemployment. Talk to him about the victims of domestic violence. Let him do his research and then draw his conclusions.

Mark Latham v Lisa Pryor (Feminists Are Parents Too)

Like Mae West, when Mark Latham is good, he’s very good. Witness his eulogy to Gough Whitlam.

Unlike Mae West, when he’s bad, he isn’t better. Witness his garbled article stating that left feminists hate children.

After several reads and re-reads of this, I may have worked out the gist of what he’s saying.

He opens with a critique of Lisa Pryor  who wrote an article about parenting invoking coffee and anti depressants. She didn’t say what the anti-depressants were. They could be sugar or milk for her coffee for all we know.

She wasn’t writing about anti depressants. She was writing about the vulnerability of being a parent.

Latham initially misses that. He first makes the point that if you don’t want to have children, don’t have them. As a parent I won’t shirtfront Mark Latham on that.

Then surprisingly Mark Latham also writes about the vulnerability of being a parent.Clearly he  has had a good experience parenting and the joy in his words leaps off the page. He’s lucky and should be sharing that joy more often. That’s where he should have stayed.

He then somehow he crosses the chasm in two leaps. He follows up with an incredibly withering critique replete with psychological generalisations that feminists are child hating complainers. Where are these feminists that hate children? Are there any at all? If I’m a feminist then does that mean I’m a bad parent?

He labels  women and/or left wing feminists and/or Lisa Pryor who want more choices in raising families as child haters. He labels women and/or left wing feminists and/or Lisa Pryor showing vulnerability as complaining and avoiding responsibility.

Unfortunately, his article assumes that anyone else who has had a different experience to him is wrong. His first assumption is that as parenting has been good to him, it should be easy and joyful for others. As Lisa Pryor implies, it ain’t necessarily so Mark. His second assumption is that to admit that vulnerability is a bad thing and that you should harden up. It ain’t necessarily so Mark, showing vulnerability is actually courage in itself.

And that last assumption means he completely misses what Lisa Pryor’s article is all about. Perhaps he didn’t read it to the end.

What’s quizzical about all of this is that funnily enough Mark Latham and Lisa Pryor have more in common that one might think. They’re both parents and they both write about the vulnerability and the required courage of being a parent.

 

And I’ll leave the final word to Mae West , ““I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it.” Pity Latham didn’t focus on that more.

 

 

He uses

The Gonski Masterstroke (Still Confusing Christopher Pyne and Tony Abbott)

A month ago, I wrote a post on Gonski and here’s an update: 

Gonski infographic

But that is merely focussing on tactics instead of strategy. The reforms and their introduction are a strategic masterstroke for the following reasons:

  1. They are a clear and understandable reform to educational funding. The Gonski reforms mean that schools will be funded per student with extra to overcome disadvantage. Prior to Gonski, educational funding arrangements in Australia were incomprehensible.
  2. These reforms have been generally well received. There were protests regarding university funding changes (cutbacks or spending deferrals) made to finance these reforms. There have been some voices of dissent stating Gonski favours the haves over the have nots. But no educational counter revolution has occurred! The streets aren’t full of parents, teachers and students saying No to Gonski!
  3. Even in the ALP, where public versus private school funding has been a issue for decades, Gonski has laid the issue to rest. Because of Gonski, there will be no more hit lists as per Mark Latham in the 2004 Federal Election campaign.
  4. Most critically, the reforms have outflanked the LNP premiers, Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne presenting them with an issue that they cannot circumvent.

The LNP Premiers’ Dilemma:

  • If the LNP Premiers sign up to Gonski they’re seen as supporting the Gillard ALP Government. Worse, they are prevented by the Gonski conditions from making cuts to education spending (already occurring in NSW, Victoria and Queensland). O’Farrell has stated that he is in favour of Gonski on its own merits.
  • If the LNP Premiers don’t sign up to Gonski, it automatically (and has now) becomes a Federal and State election issue. Anyone who votes for the Gonski reforms is automatically registering a protest vote against the burgeoning State education spending cuts and the current educational funding model.

Tony Abbott’s and Christopher Pyne’s Dilemma:

  • If they agree with Gonski they’re seen as supporting the Gillard ALP Government. Even if Abbott had agreed in principle with the Gonski reforms and said they were too expensive, he would still be seen as supporting the centrepiece of the Gillard ALP Government re-election platform.
  • If they disagree with Gonski and support the current educational funding model, the current squabbling will worsen as education spending cuts (State and possibly Federal) bite.
  • Unfortunately, the position Pyne and Abbott have chosen is to criticise Gonski and state that the present system is better and that topping it up will make it even so. Their response is confusing and unclear.

So why is the title of this article not misleading?

  • In time, at least the ALP State Premiers will sign up to the Gonski reforms.
  • Gonski is now an election issue because of Abbott’s and the LNP State Premiers’ (except NSW’s O’Farrell) refusal to engage.
  • Consequently, the IGiveAGonski grassroots campaign will continue up until September 14th and beyond if there is a change of Government.
  • Abbott, Pyne and the LNP Premiers alternative to Gonski is the existing incomprehensible funding model and spending cuts which is no policy at all.

This issue is not going away. And it hasn’t!