Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Domestic Violence - Hit and Miss

I was delighted to see Sandra Holey from Refuge calling Jacqui Smith up on her and her government's failure to do anything real about the two women a week killed in the UK by partners or ex-partners. Sadly of course in spite of her brave stand, it still seems like a solution to this crisis is a long way off.

There is still talk of "telling women when they start a relationship with a man with a history of domestic violence" - which is so hypocritical it's not true. If these men have previous convictions and are a threat to women- they should have been locked away and not released back onto the streets until the prison authority believes they no longer represent a threat to the public. We already know that many victims of domestic violence blame themselves for the situation - how easy is it going to be to convince women not to blame themselves when they've persisted with a relationship against police advice?

And how utterly offensive to suggest this without talking about catching, prosecuting and jailing the perpetrators of domestic violence which is the obvious real solution to the problem. Plus of course tackling the culture in which we live - the culture in which one in seven people think it's ok for a man to hit his partner if she wears "sexy" clothes in public.

Meanwhile I just noticed this: a new pocket-sized body spray for men from Lynx - the people who brought you things like "Manwash" and "Spray More, Get More" and as I recall "We Have No Decent Ideas In Marketing So Lets Just Get A Bunch Of Girls In Bikinis". And what is the catchy men-appealing name for the new pocket-sized body spray? Bullet. Yes really - in their words "giving guys on-the-go pocket pulling power anytime, anywhere". Bullet.

The good news is at least that now rather than waiting for the police to get in touch women can tell by smell alone whether or not their date is the sort of asshole who responds to advertising like this. Spray More, Get None from now on...



Yet again the Government's focus is on women rather than on preventing male violence against women. Claiming that a database of violent men will supposedly enable women to 'check' whether prospective boyfriend/male partner is violent is useless. It is mere window dressing.

We need to go to the root of the problem which is masculinity and how it is constructed, enforced and perceived as normal and appropriate male behaviour.

Challenging men's beliefs the 'world revolves around them' with women on the peripherary is a start, but no instead the focus as always is on women being told they must be the ones who should be taking responsibility for ensuring men do not commit violence against them.

Until such time as we critique dominant ideas concerning male behaviour nothing will change. As always it is women who are constantly being told 'to take measures to protect themselves, to be on constant guard against supposedly 'male monsters' etc. etc. No mention whatsoever that most violent men are respectable normal males who commit violence against women selectively and who make this choice.

Feminism is needed even more now especially since it is men who are increasingly being perceived as the 'real victims.'

Excellent that Sandra Horley stood up to Jacqui Smith who, we must remember is merely the 'voice' of far higher male government ministers. Men will never cede their power without a struggle, which is why the focus is always on women being held responsible for male actions and male behaviours.

Ruth Moss said...

Yes true indeed... if you smell a bullet coming, run a mile!

butterflywings said...

Jennifer Drew: Jacqui Smith is the home secretary, not some junior underling. Assuming she is merely the voice of men is actually sort of patronising and insulting.