[CW domestic violence, intimate partner violence, sexual assault]
This is a heavy one, but it is important information to get out there.
In the UK, the cross-governmental definition (not a legal definition, to be clear) of domestic violence is as follows:
Domestic violence and abuse: new definition
The cross-government definition of domestic violence and abuse is:
any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:
Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.
Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.
This is not a legal definition.
That’s a lot to take in.
It is also important to note that it states this can happen to and be enacted by anyone, regardless of their gender or sexuality.
This is important, because whilst domestic violence and IPV are absolutely feminist and women’s issues, we also let down a great number of masculine identifying folx when we focus solely on feminine identifying folx.
It’s tricky to talk about, because some people will absolutely read it as a “not all men” mansplaining situation, but that’s also false.
The whole situation is a result of this continuing misogynistic conception that men must be strong, in control and authoritative whilst women are supposed to be weak, submissive and know their place.
THIS HURTS EVERYONE.
It leads to men venting their feelings through violence against those closest to them as they haven’t been taught any other way to express these deep and painful emotions, and it leads male victims of DV or IPV to hide it from the world because they’re supposed to be ashamed of being emasculated.
Domestic violence and Intimate Partner Violence are crimes, and it is high time we started treating the perpetrators as the criminals they are instead of putting all blame on the victims.
I’ve talked before about mental health, and how there are campaigns now encouraging men to be open and get the help they need. It ties in very closely with this topic, because better mental health makes for better people which makes for a better world.
Some useful links:
National Domestic Violence Helpline, run by Women’s Aid and Refuge
Victim Support, which opens with a working definition of Domestic Violence
Galop, for LGBTQIA+ identifying folx
Refuge also help men
It is also important to note that you do not need to be the one suffering from DV or IPV to contact any of these services: they welcome contact from friends and families of victims.
It is INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT to note that you should never call on a family member or friend’s behalf without their consent, as you don’t know the effect this may have on the situation, and it is entirely possible you will make the situation worse.