TW: domestic violence
Recently on Twitter there was a conversation happening tagged #whydidntsheleave and #whyididntleave which highlighted the reality of so many people living in abusive households. Many very serious topics were raised which very clearly showed how complicated an issue domestic violence is.
Often people say things like “Why didn’t she just leave?” and ” I’d never let someone treat me like that.” What people often don’t understand is that DV is insidious and doesn’t start of with someone hitting their partner. It often takes the form of long term manipulation and isolation, so that when the dynamic turns physically violent the victim can barely distinguish the behaviour as abusive. Putting the responsibility for not leaving on the victim is not only disempowering to the person but also victim blaming of the worst kind. Often there is an aspect of economic abuse where the victim doesn’t have money to leave, they are so isolated from family and friends that they can’t ask for help, and the chances of an escalation in violence to being life threatening increases dramatically in the days and weeks following the victim trying to leave.
Here is a basic guide to recognizing Domestic Abuse
Domestic violence can happen in any relationship. Women are far more likely to become victims of domestic violence, and while the systems in place are woefully inadequate there are still structures in place to assist and support women and children DV survivors.
After a recent event where a friend was caught up in a dangerous and abusive relationship I realized, there are very few resources for men who are the victims on DV. Yes, men can suffer from Domestic Abuse, yes men do need help to get out of an abusive relationship, and yet there are only 2 shelters in Gauteng that will take male DV survivors. Neither of these shelters are easily accessible.
To complicate matters, if you are a gay male it is almost impossible to lay a report of violence with the police, obtain a protection order, or find a place of safety to go to. The issue of DV in the LGBT community is almost completely ignored. If you are gay and you aren’t married to your abuser, access to the structures for DV victim support and legal system is even more difficult.
After spending the day trying to find some sort of help for my friend and having phone call after phone call met with “I’m sorry there is nothing we can do” I realize that the LGBT community is still marginalized in South Africa and basic community support structures are inaccessible to the LGBT community.
Database of Men’s Organizations (focusing more on males as abusers than as the victim of DV)
Victim Empowerment resource document (comprehensive list of shelters and DV support however some of the shelters for men no longer exist
DW forgot mother’s day. Well not actually, she got the date wrong because of a mix-up on the reminder on her phone, and as luck would have it we were away with my folks for the weekend and there was no way either of us was going to get to sleep in or have breakfast in bed. Being two pragmatic people we decided to postpone our Mothers’ day for this weekend past so that we could have all the traditional celebrations.
On a side note: Seeing my dad give my wife a “dude you fucked up” look in a moment of masculine bonding was priceless and I love them both a bit more for that moment.
Now when you have toddlers there is no chance in hell that both parents are going to get a sleep in. Mother’s day weekend tends to be very busy with all the grannies that need a little celebrating too. As such, we have decided that from now on we will always celebrate Mothers’ day the week after the traditional mother’s day. What we did this year was DW got Saturday and I got Sunday. We each got a sleep in. We each got breakfast in bed. We each got a day to choose how we wanted to spend it with our family. The result was a magical weekend which left our hearts full and our little family brimming with happy vibes and love.
Last year we tried arranging it with me celebrating mother’s day and DW celebrating father’s day, but it left DW feeling a little left out and unrecognised with all the other happy moms. DW is a mom after all, a butch mom yes, but still a mom. Trying to celebrate on the same day doesn’t work because someone is always going to be left on baby duty (for a good couple years to come) and being the organiser.
Breakfast in bed and good morning cuddles are without a doubt the best Mothers’ day gift. My coffee got spilled into my plate of scrambled egg. The boys ate most of DW’s crumpets with strawberries and cream… but that it the best part of family life isn’t it? Those beautiful moments of togetherness which are imperfectly perfect.
Also DW redeemed her mixed up dates by gifting me a beautiful Wushoff 16″ cooks knife and a candy thermometer for jam making. Lucky me.
At the end of the month Dear Wife and I celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary.
What a wonderful 4 years it has been. I can’t believe how blessed we are. We have such a wonderful life together, we have two beautiful children and we live in abundance.
When celebrating our amazing life my thoughts often turn to other people around the world who don’t have the right to get married. It makes me sad that I get to experience a joy that is denied to others.
I wouldn’t even bother to argue against all the various religious aspects of why homosexuality is wrong. Instead I try to live my life as a testament, showing how beautiful our relationship and family is.
Our wedding was presided over by an ordained minister and I truly believe that our union is blessed.
We were blessed with the two most beautiful twin boys.
We are a normal family, with all the same worries and concerns as any other.
Our families love and validate us and our relationship.
We are members of a mainstream Anglican church, where we are welcomed and acknowledged by the rest of the community.
We are raising our children with Christian values and within the Christian faith.
We are exhausted just like any other new parents and despite that try to do the very best for our children.
Our boys have loving parents who love them and each other.
I would give my life to protect my family.
We pay a bond, do grocery shopping, argue occasionally, make up, cuddle on the couch, go for walks, dance around the kitchen to Ella Fitzgerald, have bad days, have good days…
Are we so different from you and your family?
I firmly believe it is easier to hate what you don’t know, and what you don’t understand. I hope that our family gives a face to what gay marriage (or as I like to call it marriage) can be like.
My hope is that every person in the world will be given the opportunity to live as happily (or unhappily, as some marriages may be) ever after with the person they choose irrespective of the gender of their partner.
Wow this post took an unexpectedly serious turn.