This is a brief account of an earlier episode in my life. The names have been changed to protect the guilty.
I had started working in a new work place in a new city. I did not have many friends and my life was very quiet. I was in the mood for more excitement in my life. I had unmet needs including a lack of experience with women. In this workplace was Helen. She stood at 5 foot 9 inches making her about an inch taller than myself. She was not beautiful in a classic sense. Her face had some distinctive features including a prominent nose which in combination with her other facial features made her appear to me as a pretty face. She was impulsive, carefree to the point of careless, wild partying, heavy drinker and assertive where I was quiet, cautious, withdrawn, thoughtful and relatively sober. She had spunk and I was what you might call a dork. Helen’s work and punctuality was the subject of adverse performance feedback from her supervisors mainly due to her partying lifestyle. I very quickly developed a fascination with Helen to the point of obsession. She was never out of my mind. She was always friendly and ready to talk and I revelled in such occasions. I knew deep down that a relationship with her could never work but I had turned off my intellect and I could not think of anything else. I wanted her. I was in love. I had flipped from my normal caution into stupidity. From intellect to raw emotion.
To cut a long story short I was jilted. My working relationship with Helen deteriorated to hostility as she had not only rejected me but wanted that rejection to hurt. I descended into a deep depression to the point that my work performance was affected. My outlook on the world was very dark. I descended into the depths of a mental hell from which I emerged very slowly. In Jungian analysis it could be viewed as the shadow emerging and rather disastrously. In transactional analysis it could be viewed as a poorly adapted and not a very well protected Child after a lifetime of living in the Adult and following Parental precepts. However with psychology models one should keep a pinch of salt ready because they all have limitations and problems centred around unfalsifiability.
Helen went from partying most nights of the week to enter into several successive relationships with men. The most significant of these was to a fellow worker Simon. She was growing up a bit and her work had improved. Despite growing more mature she had deep insecurities which would sometimes manifest. Helen was extremely jealous and prone to acting out. Then the stories of her turbulent relationship with Simon started emerging. Simon would come to work with a black eye. He would visit me at home after the latest argument with Helen. They were both living together not too far from myself. Helen would throw heavy pots across the room at Simon. Men at work would mock Simon behind his back for being “hen pecked”. The insecurity of Helen was the extraordinary good looks of Simon. Simon would be regularly propositioned by women. He had been voted by the women in the office as the most attractive man on site. He had extraordinary problems fending off lusty ladies. He was that rare species known as a “chick magnet”. A problem most men would envy and it was definitely not a problem I shared.
Simon shared with some other people at work including myself an account of Helen in a nightclub. Her group of female friends had some issues with another group of girls in this particular nightclub. It was resolved by Helen and her friends intended to take knives into the club to teach the other group a lesson. Simon persuaded Helen to call off this act of vengeance. He was very good at talking sense calmly and with reason. Helen and Simon eventually parted ways. Helen became a single mother to someone else’s baby.
I can make several observations from this story. First I was fascinated by what was a violent woman. I was ready to start a relationship with a violent woman. It was lucky for me that she wanted nothing to do with me. Another observation is that female on male domestic violence is an object of amusement for other men and women. There is a tradition of laughing at this form of domestic violence in the media and in films and I saw this in real life. For men it is a case of “scream quietly or the neighbours will hear”. What could Simon have done? The answer is nothing. There are no sympathetic police officers and quiet a few who will quickly arrest the male victim instead. There are few friends a male victim of domestic violence they can turn to. I was one such non judgemental ear for Simon. There is no lobby group for such victims. There are no political candidates who will waste any time on an issue which by general consensus is met with heads buried in the sand. There are no shelters for such men. There is nothing but derision for such male victims. There is only the never ending media tirade of “how violent men are” and how men must feel guilty about domestic violence against women.
Statistics in most jurisdictions show that domestic violence against man by women is about on par with domestic violence against women by men. The level of domestic violence in the gay and lesbian communities is on the same level as in the heterosexual community. Erin Pizzey founded the first women’s shelter in the world in Britain. For the trouble of pointing out the above facts she was precluded from a women’s group, was subjected to hate, had to have her mail vetted by the police for fear of letter bombs, received death threats and had her dog shot by angry feminists. She was forced to leave Britain for her own safety. The feminists were objecting ironically to the notion that women can also be very violent. Anne Cools in Canada opened up Canada’s second women’s shelter. She has also been subjected to hate for making similar observations to Erin Pizzey.
We all know Helens and Simons in our lives and if we haven’t buried our heads in the sand conclude that 1) it’s not anything more than a 1 in a million problem, 2) he must have have done something to deserve it, 3) that’s so funny and 4) Yay, girl power, go girl.
Time to get real. Time to stop pretending. Time to stop gazing at the world through ideologically tinted sunglasses. From the 1930s on the abuses by Stalin were clear for all to see but otherwise quiet intelligent socialists were hand waving them away, burying their heads in the sand and making up excuses. George Orwell is one notable exception. He was a socialist who spoke out against Stalin’s abuses. In the 1950s it was no longer possible to pretend as Khrushchev himself came clean about Stalin. We observe the same devices being used in feminism today in respect of violence by women. Time instead for some good old fashion intellectual honesty. Time to realise that domestic violence is not a gender issue. It is a criminal issue and a mental illness issue. It is not to be used for scavenging opportunities for idealogical feminists in their hate campaigns.