real life

"Dear perpetrator of violence against women."

“Dear perpetrator of violence against women.”

Trigger Warning: This post deals with issues of domestic violence and may be triggering for survivors of abuse.

Dear perpetrator of violence against women,

I don’t know you intimately – and I hope I never will. I hope I’ve never seen you with my friends, acquaintances or family, but – statistically speaking – I probably have.

I have almost certainly walked past you on the street.

Because if one-third of women experience domestic or sexual violence in their lifetime, that means someone – a number of someones – are committing that crime.

I know what you’re about to say.

It was only that one time. Or you only accidentally gave her a black eye. Or you didn’t mean to push her so hard.

Or it was only the alcohol. Or it was because she made you so mad. Or it was because you love her so much.

Or it was only because she was flirting with Alex from her work. Or calling her mother, and talking about you, and she knows you hate that. Or only because she wouldn’t shut up, just f*cking shut up.

I know why you think those domestic violence ads don’t apply to you. You have plenty of excuses. Those campaigns are aimed at stopping monsters – and you’re not a monster. You’re just a person who has made some mistakes.

Everybody makes mistakes, right? Sorry. You’re wrong.

It doesn’t matter if it was only once, or wasn’t that hard, or you didn’t mean to leave a mark. It doesn’t matter if you were drunk – that does not absolve you of guilt. It doesn’t matter if she was mocking you, or flirting with other men or women, or talking to her friends and family when you wanted her to pay attention to you instead.

ADVERTISEMENT

None of that matters because she is not the problem. If you have hit your wife or girlfriend – you are part of the problem. You are the problem, and I have a message for you.

She is already faced with messages every day telling her she has to be stronger. That she has to leave. That she has to pick herself up off the floor and go.

You can stop this.

And I am sick of expecting victims to be strong. Sick of telling people who have been belittled and beaten, put down and punched, abused both emotionally and physically that they are somehow responsible for what it happening to them. That they should be able to make it stop.

So I think it’s time you listen. For once, just stop making excuses, and listen. This is your message:

You have to be stronger, not her – you have to stop yourself. You have to leave, not her – you have to walk out the front door.

You are committing a crime. Stop looking at her face, trying to reassure yourself that it doesn’t look that bad; that it doesn’t look like it does in those anti-domestic violence ads. Start looking at your hands, instead.

Stop looking at her, trying to place blame. Start looking at yourself.

You are responsible for what is happening to her.

And you can put an end to this.

All of you can.

If you believe you may be an abusive partner, you can receive help via Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277. If you have experienced, or are at risk of domestic violence or sexual assault, you can receive help by calling 1800 RESPECT – 1800 737 732. If you are in immediate danger please call the police on 000.

Mamamia acknowledges that violence against men is an issue that needs to be addressed, and thinks that violence – committed by any gender, against any gender – is wrong. However, this article is about violence against women. Please keep your comments respectful. 

Please share this post – so that maybe the people who need to read it, will read it. 

You can follow Melissa Wellham on Twitter at @melissawellham