For our first meetup, myself and Dawn had prepared a couple of topics we wanted to discuss beforehand to get other people’s thoughts on the matter. Naturally, conversation progressed and we covered a far larger number of subjects than we anticipated which was both enlightening and fun. I thought it’d be nice to get the ball rolling a little early this time and gradually post articles up here as I see them. Perhaps some discussion will be enabled in the comments, and we can expand on those points at the next meetup. What do you reckon?
The first thing that caught my attention was an article on the excellent Feministing (http://www.feministing.com/archives/021197.html) – “Men who abuse think others do too.” A survey was conducted in America which showed that “men overestimated by two to three times the actual rates of seven behaviours ranging from throwing something at a partner to rape.”
Immediately my mind sprang to the Danny Dyer/Zoo debacle a few weeks ago (http://m.guardian.co.uk/?id=102202&story=http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/may/05/danny-dyer-zoo-magazine) in which an agony uncle column suggested a reader “cut his ex’s face” in order to get over the stress of their break up. Charming. Twitter was swamped in arguments from both sides. Both sides – one side saying that was pretty bad advice, the other saying it was just a joke and we “feminists” need to develop a sense of humour. If we lived in a world where 1 in 4 women weren’t victims of domestic violence, or that domestic violence incidents weren’t reported to police at a frequency of approximately one every minute (source: http://www.womensaid.org.uk/domestic_violence_topic.asp?section=0001000100220036&itemTitle=Statistics) then perhaps Danny Dyer’s column would have been amusing.
I would be interested to find out exactly what is taught in Sex Education lessons (are they still called that or is it Sex and Relationship Education now?) and if the complexities of relationships are discussed in schools or left to family, friends and Zoo magazine. Having been in an abusive relationship (emotional and physical) a couple of years ago, it took months after we’d broken up before I even accepted that I didn’t deserve the crap he put me through. Anecdotes aside, it would be extremely interesting to find out exactly how common that feeling of blame is, and precisely what measures are being taken to ensure the safety of men and women on the receiving end of abuse.
To what extent is teaching courtesy the responsibility of the government (in terms of legislation and education) as opposed to family/friends (by example)? In an ideal world, we wouldn’t need to legislate courtesy, but sadly this does not seem to be the case yet, as current statistics on domestic abuse demonstrate.
I rather like the poster campaign currently running on London Transport – http://www.togetherforlondon.org/ At first I thought it was pretty patronising, until I noticed that people were actually paying attention and as a result, I’ve seen far fewer arguments on the tube and buses since then. Is there a way to integrate this sort of approach to a wider range of situations, perhaps to publicly tackle the problem of domestic violence?