Posted by: Chasy | 18/07/2011

Surprisingly, I’m not 100% for this

Women may be warned of partners’ violent pasts under new ‘Clare’s Law’

Blears, MP for Salford and Eccles, in whose constituency Wood lived, said: “Women in Clare’s situation often are unaware of their partner’s previous relationships and this can mean they start a relationship with someone with no idea if they have a violent past. Clare’s tragic death shows how vulnerable women aren’t always protected under the current law and until women are given the right to know if their partner has a history of serial domestic abuse they can’t be sure of the risk that they face.

“By changing the law we can empower women so that they can take informed action about their relationship and give them the chance to protect themselves and prevent domestic abuse from happening before it begins.”

No, it won’t.

Wood’s father Michael told the Mail on Sunday: “My daughter wasn’t stupid. If she had known about that man’s past, she would have taken herself out of there in a heartbeat.”

No, she wouldn’t have.

People don’t just wake up one day and kill their spouse. There would have been a history of emotional or physical abuse leading up to the murder. The reason no one knew about it, is because she loved her partner and wanted to believe he would change. Why would you tell people how badly he treats you, if you truly believe your love for him will change him? Why would you tell people you’re afraid, when he apologises, tells you he loves you, and promises he’ll never do it again – he just got angry. Just try not to make him angry, she thinks.

What women need is not a warning, but encouragement to speak up. Our culture, which accepts that intimate partner violence ‘just happens’, is what keeps them silent. It’s what leads them to believe everything will be O.K, because it’s just what you do in a relationship – you take the good with the bad. Right?

Labelling men as violent won’t change anything, sadly. What they need is education and counselling, not labels. Women also need education on what to do if they find themselves in an abusive relationship. They need to understand what’s not O.K and where to seek help – be that emergency accomodation, or simply having the support of your loved ones when you tell your partner you’re leaving. That is possibly the hardest part, especially if you have children together.

Having said that, it is true that sometimes shock tactics are the only thing that works on victims. A psychologist once told me of a case he heard where the victim was having trouble accepting her partner’s violent behaviour was an issue – until her psychologist said in one session, “You do realise he’ll kill you, right? Have you made plans for that? Where are your children going to live?” This was not accusatory, but rather matter-of-factly. Apparently, it was enough to shock the victim into being more critical of her partner’s behaviour, instead of forgiving.

Given that anecdote (and, I admit, it’s not hard evidence), it may just be that informing women of their partner’s past may help them in making an informed decision on whether the behaviour they are putting up with is worth it.

It saddens me when politicians advocate a ‘quick fix’ on the issue of intimate partner violence. It just ain’t gonna happen. The more they push the idea that it will, the more cases will be swept under the rug, because society, in general, doesn’t believe it’s their problem. Someone else will fix it, surely?

No, they won’t. Intimate partner violence IS your problem. YOU have to fix it. We all do.


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