On a serious note, domestic violence in the LGBT community

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

A weekend in the Drakensberg

This last weekend we went to the Drakensberg to celebrate the upcoming birthday of my darling spouse. It was beautiful, peaceful and rejuvenating.

After a quick 6 hour drive we arrive at Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge which lies on the borders of KwaZulu Natal, the Free State and Lesotho. It is certainly the closest one can come to heaven on earth, but don’t take my word for it look at these photos…

The bunch of usDrakensbergDrakensbergSentinel ValleyWitsieshoek

Photos taken by my very talented father in law. All rights reserved.

#ProjectPoetry 2

#ProjectPoetry is a creative writing collaboration between 4 bloggers; Green Lydia, Flat White Concepts, Cupcake Mummy and myself.

Each week we each post a poem

Each poem is written using a line from the previous poet’s poem.

Click here for the previous poem written by Cupcake Mummy

1987

The rain lashes down
and the rivers run full
A serpentine torrent
breaches it’s banks

The rain lashes down
and the flood water rises
A serpentine torrent
breaches it’s banks

The rain lashes down
rivulets on the window
Replacing drought dust
with mud…

A serpentine torrent
creeps under a door
The rain lashes down
and the rivers run full

A serpentine torrent
took the car and the bed,
a box full of photos,
and you

Groves & Vineyards 2014 – Casalinga

This past Sunday we went to an absolutely delightful olive and wine festival called Groves and Vineyards at the picturesque Casalinga Ristorante Italiano in Muldersdrift.

I am a foodie through and through, it was an absolute delight being able to immerse myself in wine tasting and delicious food. Having young kids has somewhat curtailed the number of events I have been able to attend but we are finding our groove with managing naps, getting out and about, and having the kids enjoy it too. DW was a superstar and played with the kids while I did tastings and got into passionate discussions on the making of chèvre.

My first stop was at the stand of my all time favourite vineyard, Creation Wines.

I have a long standing love affair with their wines which began in 2009 when we went to visit a friend who had moved to Hermanus. We knew nothing of the various wine farms in the area other the names of some of the famous ones like Bouchard Finlayson & Hermanuspietersfontein. On the spur of the moment, we decided to go for a wine tasting and drove into the Hemel-en-Aarde (Heaven and Earth) Valley until we found a place that caught our eye. As we drove past Bouchard Finlayson, we were a bit intimidated by the austere look of the farm. Other farms looked too commercial and garish. Finally we saw the turn off to a beautiful farm that looks more like a little bit of heaven fell to earth than a wine farm. We had an amazing experience. The people were warm and inviting and the wine absolutely sublime! We bought an entire box of their 2008 Syrah Grenache (of which one lone bottle remains) which is hands down the best wine ever to cross my palate.

At the festival I tried their 2012 Syrah Grenache. It is as rich and smooth as I remember with all the spice and berries that I love, like an explosion of Christmas in your mouth. It has a slight hint of sweetness in the finish that makes it an incredibly easy wine to drink, and while it is full bodied and satisfying as a red it certainly isn’t an overwhelmingly heavy wine. My love affair is reignited!

Creation Syrah Grenache 2012

The other find of the festival was Spice Route Chakalaka 2011. Named after the quintessential South African spice mix, it is an unusual blend of cultivars (Syrah, Mourvedre, Carignan, Petite Sirah, Grenache and Tannat) which, together, make a wine that is a delight to drink. I love the unapologetic spiciness of this wine, beautifully balanced and rich with hints of cinnamon and clove. I have not drank enough of it to give a full description yet, but further comment will come when we open the wine and chocolate.

I ended up chatting to the marketing manager Jean-Baptiste Cristini, (who has the most delicious smelling business cards) and found out that not only do Spice Route make amazing wine, but also the produce my favourite craft beers Jack Black lager and CBC Amber Weiss, as well as make their own chocolate and roast coffee at their tasting room/farm in Paarl. He is also involved at the Fairview Farm which is next door to the Spice Route.

The wine farms are in Malmesbury and Darling, while the tasting room is in Paarl. I could wax lyrical about their farming techniques but I think it may bore you, dear reader, to tears.

I am already planning a weekend of wine and food in Paarl, come January.

I bought the paired chocolate to go with the wine; it is a spicy dark 70% cocoa.

Tonight I am off to the Fine Brandy Fusion event. Expect lots of excited blogging as soon at the hangover has worn off!