Columns

Domestic violence is slavery

Franklin JOHNSTON

Friday, March 14, 2014    

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I work well with a female being boss, team member or whatever. They are not pompous, power-hungry pricks. They do the time, work rate is high, understand value, and know when it is absent. Parliament could be all-female, as they can do no worse than the old school in the last half-century. If female legislators read Aristophanes' Lysistrata, written centuries before Christ, our lives could change.

Clare's Law in the UK protects women from abusers. From early years men sexualise and condition females as chattel. The age of consent in the UK is 16, with a teacher it is 18, and the law assumes men have sexual agency. Males control females in the domestic space and may abuse or kill them. We blur boundaries between girlish charm and womanly wiles and expose tweens and teens to men with urges, and the violence visited on their mothers at home is now their lot -- "force ripe" exacts a price.

The same apparel in the women's section is sold "smalled-up" in the kids section of the store as girls are pushed to take mom's place. This may explain the behaviour of many men, but does not excuse it. Anyone with a vagina is fair game. In my peri-urban village, men condition young girls. The one who got a special seat on the taxi to town is the next sex slave and damaged teen. The power dynamic was once teacher/student, now down the food chain to bus driver/student; If you think knowledge is power drive a taxi which controls ingress and egress of a community. A taxi gives men access to girls and opens them to abuse and 'sexploitation'. Hell may have no fury as a woman scorned but she may have to walk to school jeered by friends in the taxi if men get no back-seat satisfaction. Public transport is not all that public. The power dynamic in domestic abuse is male insecurity, female sexuality and conditioned women.

Domestic abuse is not soft and cuddly, it's brutal. The flip side of love is hate, and the label "domestic" is just male moisturiser. Murder is the resort of delusional men who think they own women. The contract killer is clinical -- no clues. The domestic abuser is entitled -- fingerprints everywhere. "I own you and I can make you suffer." In the Neanderthal recesses of his mind he is right. The old slavery is small compared to this genre of physical and mental chains; women even excuse men's cruelty.

On International Women's Day Saturday, March 8, Clare's Law came into operation in the UK. Women can now check if partners have a history of domestic abuse. Many women live with strange men as love allows a man you met six hours ago into your bed and your life. In a big city, to pass a person twice in a week is unusual, but you trust your instincts, fall in love, and if you are lucky it lasts all weekend and you never see him after Monday. But then again he may stick around, and so abuse is endemic in large cities.

Claire's Law is the response of a society to keep its women safe from abusive partners. We need to try harder. Refuge -- a UK charity -- says two women are killed each week, yet only 23 per cent of victims go to the police.

Clare Wood was strangled by an ex boyfriend in 2009, yet she had complained to the police for months. Domestic violence is a code phrase for crime against women by men they know. Clare was set on fire and died like a dog. Her father, Michael, with radio station Key 103 got the "Right to know" campaign going, so Clare's Law was passed in 2011 and came into effect on March 8. The "Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme" allows women to access police reports as abusers often have a history. The companion "Domestic Violence Protection Order" requires police and courts to protect females; so women need to report the first incident to get cover and take back control of their lives.

The speeches on International Women's Day were great; now can we get to work? How to emancipate women is Job 1. The subtle, presumed ownership of women by men is the most offensive, insidious crime against humanity. When a man says "ah my ooman dat" he is being literal. When he says: "If she no come home early fi mek de dinner me ah go chop har up," he means it and he is a simple rural man with a machete and no ego. The root of abuse is in men's minds. Seats at the top table will come naturally. To keep the brightest 51 per cent in thrall to insecure, feral men who demean them in private is slavery. Women are chattels and some get a "backsiding" to keep them in line. Have you seen a one-legged man beat a woman? Saw it in May Pen...she does not run. Can Freddy or Aggrey explain this psychic ball and chain? What makes men bedroom pugilists? The mantra seared in the psyche of men is "my woman, is mine, and I can chop off her head!" and some do. Slavery is not dead, it is genderised! The battle for women's emancipation is in the minds of men. This struggle needs a champion -- "who shall I send, who will go?"

Senator Sandrea Falconer deals with sexual harassment in the workplace but slavery at home damages a woman's psyche. An abused woman defends her abuser "he is under pressure" or "he has a lot to worry about"; broken women cater to male egos and eccentricities. A vagina makes you vulnerable. Females thrive in the secure space of academia, but career goals pale in the domestic power matrix; ambition is cauterised. A power woman may be satrap of a cretinous man (he abuses her) she married years ago; he underdevelops her -- mental slavery. Quotas, shmotas my foot! Can this negate the entitlement men assert in private? In my village a man with machete bars his woman from going to her job, though she supports his unemployed, idle butt. Why? He is man, he can! A poor-arse tyrant but entitled to all that women have and are. We cannot prosper with half of us are enslaved. Let the liberation struggle begin!

Clare's Law does not protect men, though in the UK 36 per cent of domestic violence is against men (Mankind Survey). In London some 10,000 persons are convicted each year and most cases fail as victims do not appear. A woman is abused three or more times before she reports it, what! Put a frog in cold water, bring it to the boil gradually, and it never moves. But if you drop it in boiling water it leaps out in a flash. Domestic abuse is corrosive and may begin with "he loves me so he does not want me to go outa street". Crap! "Oh he was right to slap me as he had a hard day." Well, hello, what is a relationship? Psychological abuse is not on the crime radar and Clare's Law is not a panacea, but do something. We must not make perfection the enemy of the good. Start the struggle now and female emancipation day could be Christmas 2020. Lysistrata lives! If we liberate women we also free men from their fathers' burden. We all win. Reparations anyone? Stay conscious, my friend!

Dr Franklin Johnston is a strategist, project manager and advises the minister of education. franklinjohnstontoo@gmail.com

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