Thank you for that response
David,
Jennifer Marie Gady
11

It wasn’t really adequate, I should have thought first before I typed. I think what I said was hurtful, and I really didn’t intend what I said to sound the way it did. My heartfelt intention (to all non-fascists) is the total opposite. Your response did give rise to a couple of thoughts though:

You said ‘ A lot of people have the same point of view you do’. Actually, here in Oz (Australia) they don’t. Which is odd. Let me digress briefly. When I was a uni student in London I lived in Earls Court, and I heard people refer to the ‘Australian disease’. I didn’t know what that was, I thought ‘flu maybe. But I worked out fairly soon they were referring to DV. There are historical reasons why it’s so common here, I can tell you the history sometime. So it is strange that there is so much ignorance about its true nature. Maybe we sweep the dirt under the carpet. But you will see that the Royal Commission, the Premier, The Australian of the Year — Rosie Batty (whose 11 yo son was killed by her estranged partner to get at her), right the way through to those of us working directly with victims, are very focused on dispelling the commonly held belief that it’s only physical, that if a woman isn’t hit, it isn’t DV. We try to get the idea across that words can be just as violent, and cause immense damage. I looked back at your original story, and I see you were the victim of both physical and mental abuse, so I’m guessing you know, in fact I think you say as much, the words caused as much pain as the physical abuse. It was a different sort of pain, but pain nevertheless.

If I have any excuse for what I said, it’s that I wasn’t thinking about the fact that maybe in the USA, with a somewhat lower incidence of DV, there may be less of a tendency to attempt to minimize, ignore really, the Australian disease.

I said I’d try to be brief, but I’d just like to quote from the Royal Commission report which quotes the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic):

“ — Family Violence is —

(a) behaviour by a person towards a family member of that person if that behaviour —

(ii) is physically or sexually abusive, or

(iii) is emotionally of psychologically abusive, or

(iv) is economically abusive, or

(v) is threatening, or

(vi) is coercive, or

(vii) in any other way controls or dominates the family member and causes that family member to feel fear for the safety or wellbeing of that family member or another person, or

(b) behaviour by a person that causes a child to hear or witness, or otherwise be exposed to the effects of, behaviour referred to in paragraph (a).”.

I’m taking this directly from page 2 of the report of the Royal Commission into Family Violence in Victoria, which reported in March this year. I don’t know what happened to point (a) (i) but that’s a direct quote from my copy of the original report. On page 8 they said:

All parts of the system — support services, police, courts — are overwhelmed by the number of family violence incidents now reported. Services are not currently equipped to meet this high level of demand, which undermines the safety of those experiencing family violence and their potential for recovery.”

The next point is especially relevant, I think:

The many different forms and manifestations of family violence are insufficiently recognised, and responses are not tailored to the particular circumstances and needs of diverse victims.”

I don’t know if you think this is relevant to you, but maybe you might think that at last someone, some where, cares and is actually doing something — which we are, I think I pointed out earlier that the government is doing what the RCFV recommended, regardless of cost.

You also said: ‘ When I first learned that, I decided to speak out about it when I was ready’. That’s exactly how I felt. I started out just being glad to have recovered, then thinking ‘I might speak out’. That became ‘I think I will speak out’ then ‘I will shout about this’. Now I’m very angry. I admire you and congratulate you. You say ‘I have been able to begin that promise I made to myself so long ago’. I think now you have started you won’t be able to stop. I suspect you’ll find support in surprising places, that there are lots of other victims just waiting for someone else to speak up, to give them the courage to do what you are doing.

I’m afraid that this may all sound a bit patronizing, but I don’t mean it that way. Yes, my situation is different and it’s been a bit easier for me to speak out, than it is for you. Male privilege again? I dunno. I’ve really got only two things to say: 1) DV is a crime, it’s despicable, it’s as bad if not worse than murder. You have a right, possibly you may end up seeing it as a duty, to speak out. 2) Never ever be afraid of your anger. It won’t get less, I guess there’s a wellspring of deep hurt inside of you, that’s starting to turn into anger. You are entitled to be angry, in fact you should be angry, and as time goes by you will get more and more angry, and you will start to hurt a bit less.

You have my full sympathy and support, in a way I’m glad things started the way they did through clumsiness on my part, otherwise some useful things might have never been said. Good luck in life, stay in touch.

David.

Oh, one last thing, my email address is on my profile, so if there’s ever anything you want to say privately, use it.

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