The world winces as high profile domestic violence cases are reported in the media but the reality of the presence of domestic violence in the UK is hidden behind closed doors, muddied by misguided social acceptance.
At least 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime and 2 women die each week in the UK as a consequence. Yet most cases of domestic violence go unreported to authorities whilst charities and help lines are inundated with victims seeking support.
In his recent interview on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories (which airs next month on ITV) Dennis Waterman made some rather shocking and frank admissions in regard to his abusive relationship with his ex-wife, Rula Lenska.
Although his admissions are shocking and laced with naivety, his frank confessions in a program which he knows will air to the nation adds evidence to the argument that domestic violence is often seen as a ‘grey area’ in society and highlights some of the reasons why domestic violence is still rife in the UK.
Waterman’s own opinion that although his ex- wife was hit “she certainly wasn’t a beaten wife” as “that’s different” highlights the detachment some abusers create to justify their actions. He goes on to reveal the following statements which only emphasise that he still has yet to accept the reality that he abused his wife:
· “The problem with strong, intelligent women is that they can argue, well. And if there is a time where you can’t get a word in … and I … I lashed out. I couldn’t end the argument.”
· “Something must have brought it on. When frustration builds up and you can’t think of a way out … It happened and I’m very, very ashamed of it.”
· “I’d never done it before or since. But if a woman is determined to put you down, and if you’re not bright enough to do it with words, it can happen, and it did happen in my case.”
Through his confessions we are able to see why some men and women feel unable to identify when they are victims of domestic violence and equally when they have become abusive.
Government cuts are only set to aggravate the issue reducing funding to the support sectors by local authorities. News reporter for the Guardian Alexandra Topping, revealed that last year on an average day 230 women were turned away by Women’s Aid and around 9% of those were seeking refuge. Due to lack of space the organisation had no option but to turn these women and children away back into the dangerous environments they tried to escape from.
These horrific figures are baffling. Making cuts in these sectors does not seem appropriate as they further risk the welfare of victims who are already representing unacceptable statistics. Couple this with the social grey area of domestic violence and we can do no more than sit back and watch these statistics grow.
Or can we?
Red Magazine and domestic violence charity Refuge are taking the debate to the House of Commons by launching the Speak Up, Save A Life campaign. The aim of the campaign is to ask that every police force in the country works alongside an Independent Domestic Violence Advocate in its work to prevent domestic violence and save lives.
To get this to the House of Commons they need 100,000 signatures. To show your support please sign the petition via the link below: