Wednesday, 17 February 2016

The cost of stopping domestic violence. It isn't giving money to men.

The Drive programme is in the news this morning. A programme to help the most violent domestic abusers via one to one counselling and rehabilitation. Details a bit wishy washy. Data set influencing this a bit wishy washy.

Here is my problem (apart from research and evidence). Let's imagine an interview.

Q. Why do men hurt women?

A. Because they can.

Q. Why don't they stop?

A. Because they don't have to?

Q. How can we stop them hurting women then?

A. Change the world that allows them to. In the circumstance of domestic violence and abuse this includes policy-making that allows women to escape by ensuring that they receive support including physical, emotional and financial. Restore legal aid provision to allow women to obtain justice when at their most vulnerable. Ensure that police are properly trained and financially resourced to deal with the men who hurt women. Ensuring that those same police know the difference between ticking a list with a roll of their eyes and taking a woman seriously and making sure she is not hurt again. Making sure they know all the reasons she may not want to report or may not have done so before. Ensure that courts are properly trained in the issues surrounding domestic violence. This includes policing the ways that men may try to hurt women in court... such as obtaining their full bank statements during their divorce proceedings... which they are currently entitled to do and which is potentially fatal. Ensuring that juries are properly trained to convict violent men. Proper funding of adequate refuges that allow women an easy escape route. Adequate funding of support groups. helplines, training programmes, social work and other agencies, including third sector, who work tirelessly to keep women safe. Educating women from an early age to recognise potentially dangerous men and not victim-blaming them if they can't/don't. Not demonising women who suffer domestic abuse in the media by suggesting they have made poor choices or have returned or have sent texts that suggest they liked it all. Making sure the press aren't guilty of minimising the behaviour of men who kill them by keeping them out of the headlines. Or suggesting that a bit of a chat about their alcohol/drug use/or how them being denied a dog aged 5 caused their violent behaviour and funding this and putting it on Radio 4 as a cure-all. Providing a CSA or its equivalent that actually works for women and their children rather than one which allows a spouse to further abuse them. Retraining women and helping them access a self-sustaining lifestyle. Providing abused women with adequate housing and their children with good schooling. Providing abused women with access to one to one counselling so that they are not easy targets of dangerous men in future. Stop making men a focus. Unless it is to stamp on their behaviour. Punish men who abuse women. Hard. Punish them in the courts, condemn them in the pubs, denounce them in the media.

Q. Isn't that really difficult and expensive?

A. Yes.

Q. Are you sure we can't help the men?

A. I'm sure.

Q. Why?

A. Start at the top of this again.

Q. Are you saying we shouldn't even try to help the men?

A. Fuck the men. Help the women.

Q. You're mean.

A. That's not a question.