A Father Without a Family: Domestic Violence Part 2 of 2.
Tonight we discuss three specific examples of domestic violence.
Our first scenario in an example of non-violent domestic violence, what needs to be made clear is that despite there being no physical violence; this particular method does constitute domestic violence. Lets examine why…
Our father of four is married, lives in an affluent area, is financially independent, and enjoys a lifestyle above what most might consider average. In this scenario, the problem is all about keeping up appearances. From keeping a clean well-presented house, to the wife’s physical appearance, to the vernacular that their social circles demand, this wife faces a constant and challenging barrage of domestic violence. Even with financial independence, for any husband to pressure his wife to keep the house in order, particularly when he is offering little in the way of support is not only archaic, but also disrespectful. It would seem that men like this think that because they work to provide a lifestyle they should come home to a clean well presented home. Well, like every relationship in life, you only get out what you put in. This is a form of psychological abuse; it can leave the woman feeling inadequate, in fear of being berated in front of her family, or worse still fuelling the seed of resentment within the marriage. Nevertheless, this is domestic violence. For the wife, she may live in luxury, but at what cost! Buttressing the appearance of the house is how he expects her to look. This is pure and simple sexual based abuse, and can cause untold damage to the women’s self esteem, her mindset, and psychological condition.
Our second scenario is a little different in that we see a husband, in middle management, travels allot for work, and has an unrecognised problem with alcohol. I can personally attest to seeing this very type of abuse first hand with former colleagues. The method here is to restrict access to family finances, and to continually force the wife to validate where she is and what she is doing. Someone who has his or her own transgressions to hide normally drives this. Despotism in any relationship is simply not conducive to a long lasting life together. By restricting finances, this in turn restricts travel; moreover, by controlling both of these functions, it ensures the husband knows exactly where his wife is every second of the day. This is typical of assuming that your wife is your property, when indeed she is anything but that. For the wife, the walls in the house would close in; by having no access to money she has little independence, and no ability to have some sort of life outside of her husband. Financial restriction often leaves the woman with very little option to “get out” as they do not have the financial resources to do so. Further evidence of this type of domestic violence could include constant communication from the husband to the wife ensuring that she is where he wants her to be. As mentioned above, this could be a way of ensuring any ulterior activities being undertaken carry little risk of being exposed. In this scenario it is drinking, where the husband who travels allot, is use to running his own race. His employment affords him the cover to feed his habit, and for him it would mean protecting it via control. The effects of alcohol abuse carry through to many parts of our lives. Forcing your wife into a metaphorical corner because you have a problem with alcohol is domestic violence. I have had my own problems with alcohol, and it takes a very supportive small group of friends and family to break that cycle, what is absolutely key though, is that the first steps must come from within. In time, the wife in this scenario can become a social introvert, lose all her self-confidence, and ultimately lose respect for her husband. Can we blame her!
Our third and final scenario is one that not many people recognise as a real issue today. Whilst it is true that the bulk of domestic violence is committed by men onto their female partners, there are a percentage of examples where the wife undertakes an alternative modus operandi. I will acknowledge that in some scenario’s this may be in retaliation to an existing form of domestic violence, however we cannot ignore this example in today’s society.
This family, with one young child are from the outside, normal. Both parents work to pay the mortgage, they are fumbling their way through parenthood like we all do. However when the relationship starts facing further challenges, the wife, feeling the marriage is ultimately doomed, falsely accuses the husband of violent behaviour in order to punish him, proven or not. There are two parts to this, the motives behind her assertion, and the affect this accusation has on the husband if he is indeed innocent of any violent behaviour. Motives may include the wife not wanting to be in the marriage anymore and not wanting to risk losing control of her child, reaches out with a knockout punch. It may also include a husband who has had an affair, and in her eyes must be removed at ‘any cost’ because of the hurt he has placed on to her. Does having an affair condone falsely accusing someone of violent behaviour? I would ague no; I would argue that because of the immediate and ongoing damage to a person’s character, this is an unfair penalty for the crime if they are innocent of it. In many ways to be falsely accused of such a socially unacceptable crime would carry a lifetime stigma that would always taint the view people have of that person. This behaviour constitutes domestic violence.
In the middle of all this is a child. Seeing your father removed, possibly by force, would cause untold trauma to any child. Couples tend to get lost in the pissing contest of how to get back at each other that ultimately results in children being left behind or worse being used as pawns. I guess what I am saying is that women can be allot more tactful than men in finding ways to get at each other. Take care to make critical evaluations of scenario’s, there is always two sides…
These three examples illustrate several ways in which domestic violence can appear. It is not a simple case of violent behaviour, as many may think, hence why I have not covered a violent example. I was raised to not hit women, I was raised with the ‘fear of god’ that when mum said, ‘wait till your father gets home’ I felt like crying instantly. I was scared of the Police; I knew the difference between right and wrong. Consequently I have zero tolerance for domestic violence, violent or not. In many cases, women feel stuck; they feel there is no way out. True friends will speak up, no matter how hard it is to address. Sometimes people just need that little extra push, a little extra motivation to take that step, particularly if the wife has faced this behaviour for several years.
Conversely, for men that are facing the less traditional forms of domestic violence, stick with the truth. Be honest and upfront with your kids, all lies come out, and in time you will be able to rebuild.
My next post will tackle the problem of what happens when a child does not want any contact with their parent after a separation.
In the coming weeks I am off to Russia for five weeks. I look forward to writing from a foreign country; hopefully I can engage with some locals and understand how their lives work and how close our everyday problems are to theirs.
Love selflessly, and unconditionally, we are only here once…
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