Letter: What is family violence?

What is Family Violence?

I have asked myself this many times. I have wondered at the pain it causes, yet I have not seen it. Not in my family, not in other families. Why is that? We see it on the TV news, reported in the paper, magazines tell of it, even Hollywood uses it. Is it true? Of course it is. It’s real, it’s destructive, soul destroying and costly.

Why do we hear of it in the media? What makes it such an issue? Is it because those cases are the serious ones, involving injury and perhaps death? Maybe. Take road deaths. Tragedy on so many levels it’s hard to define. This makes headlines. The statistics themselves even make headlines. What don’t we hear about in those fatal figures? The injured. Their plight, their journey, their smashed lives. We seldom hear of them.

Is this the same for family, or domestic violence? Could be. Those unreported cases of someone hitting or hurting or raping. Just how much is there? Those screams, yells for help, crying, door slamming, wall thumping noises heard by neighbours may be just the tip of that iceberg. Not everyone reports these. Why? Fear of retaliation? Not sure. Maybe there’s an acceptance that a family argument is just part and parcel of our life, part of our culture, none of our business, it’ll go away. We hear about the serious cases on TV, in the media. Surely those noisy neighbourly arguments are not that serious? Surely not.

I am no saint, not perfect, have tripped up a few times in life so why have I not seen violence in my family? Attitude I guess. Had a few knocks as a kid, most of us did. Fighting with other kids wasn’t a preferred pass time but it did happen. We were worthy opponents. In a warped way there is some pride in that. A child or a woman is not a worthy opponent in a fist fight due to their physical stature. No challenge, none at all, in fact it’s cowardly. Sure, I’ve slammed a door, raised my voice, gone off for a walk in a grump. But never a fist. I couldn’t do it. Wouldn’t do it. Attitude. Maybe instead of reporting the serious cases and adds saying it’s not ok, maybe change attitude. Maybe reaffirm the pride in ourselves, respect for others and love of our family, even under the stress and duress of our lives.

Mark Joblin

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