“Switch off from Archers’ victim Helen and you’reÂ no better than those who ignore domestic abuse in real life”
That is the damning opinion of Polly Neate, Chief Executive of ‘Women’s Aid.
Confused that Helen is the victim here, when it was Rob who was stabbed?
You are supposed to be; this Archers’ storyline has been linked to by every journalist following the two cases of ‘coercive control’ sentenced over the past week.
Sam Williams was given an eighteen months suspended sentence for, amongst other things, ‘continuously belittling the victim, telling her what to wear, and how to get her hair cut’.Â Mohammed Anwaar was jailed for 12 months for deciding what his girlfriend should eat, and making her take exercise in order to look like Kim Kardashian. Â (His sentence was more severe in light of additional offences of physical assault).
This element of the ‘coercive control’ of Helen, according to Polly Neate, is what we should be concentrating on – because ‘it is the heart of domestic abuse’ and ‘two women a week are killed by a partner or former partner in England and Wales‘ – which must rank as one of the most disingenuous sentences, in a crowded field, written this year.
It is a ‘Neate‘ trick. (See what I did there?) for a start Helen wasn’t killed by a partner – she was the one who stabbed her partner, Rob. Secondly, although it is true that two women a week are killed by a partner or former partner, that is to omit the fact that actually three individuals a week are killed by a partner or former partner…and the other ‘one’ is a man killed by a woman, just asÂ Rob almost was.
So what Polly Neate has done is take a mere third of the potential cases to look at, and used it as an vehicle to list the possible excuses for what Helen has done.
“They do not understand why women like Helen may be driven to attack men like Rob”.
The other two thirds of cases where men like Rob stab women like Helen are apparently easily explained away by the fact that they are men, congenital brutes…
The country is not littered with hostels where men can get away form controlling and coercive women. Women who choose their clothes for them; control what they eat; belittle them for failing to look like the ‘Hof’.
Nor is it littered with agencies to give them advice on how to protect themselves before they are beaten with the proverbial rolling pin; stabbed through the heart with a steak knife; stabbed in the neck with a broken Ouzo bottle; hit over the head and accused of being gay; bullied and beaten for ten years; laughed at for admitting to being a victim of violence at the hands of a woman; and finally hit over the head for failing to ‘consent’ to having sex…
Apart from the police station, there are few other places for them to go to for safety; most refuges are *NOT designed and intended for homeless males. Â
Surprisingly, you are more at risk of being battered to death by the ‘little woman’ in your life, if you live in Cornwall. Four out of the last five ‘deaths at the hands of partners’ were men. Only in the last year has a refuge opened in Cornwall which looks after men.Â
Sue McDermott from the refuge said that in its first year, they came into contact with 80 men experiencing domestic violenceÂ and housed 11 men in desperate situations.
She said: âWhat we try to explain to professionals in the field is that itâs not the size of the man that means they couldnât defend themselves; often theyâve got values which means they wonât hit backâ.
Peter Clinch, whose brother Alan was stabbed to death by his wife with a pair of scissors in 2012, said: âMen feel embarrassed â ashamed that theyâve been driven out the home by the wife or partner.
Irish women can be just as violent as Cornish women, according to ‘Amen‘. Yet the Gardai do not even keep a record of the number of male victims, according to a question asked in parliament byÂ Pearse Doherty, the Sinn FÃ©in politician.
You might have expected the ‘hard men’ of Belfast to want to keep quiet about their fellow man being beaten up by mere shrimps of women, but it seems they have more courage than, say, the Council of Europe, whose coyly worded ‘Istanbul convention‘ speaks only of violence against women – ‘and domestic violence’.
The crime that dare not speak its name…
The ‘Mankind Initiative‘ produces some helpful facts and figures for journalists writing about domestic abuse – not that I have found any journalist keen to reproduce their horrifying guesstimate of 2.2 million men having suffered domestic abuse during their lifetime.
A few years ago, there was an influential advertisement with the caption: ‘It’s a crime to beat a woman’. As it is to beat a man. Men, like the proverbial ‘vulnerable little woman’, oftenÂ don’t fight back – partly because cultural prejudice against hitting a woman can be deeply ingrained, partly because they are well aware of their own strength and that they could inflict far more damage should they retaliate, and partly because of the shame attached to being a ‘hen-pecked husband’. They don’t always report the crime either, because they fear being laughed at by the ‘hard men’ at the local police station.
Sometimes they are not physically capable of reporting the crime; we hear much from the feminists regarding ‘power imbalance’, and have been groomed to believe that this is all about little slips of young girls being bullied by shed-sized gym fanatics. It can happen the other way round too.
Suzanne Edmondson, a fit and healthy 49-year-old, pinned the 90-year-old man she was supposed to be caring for down, swearing at him and striking him in the face. SheÂ then picked the man up and threatened to put him outside in the rain. Fortunately someone saw her and called the police.
She got two years and eight months in jail – so presumably she is one of the women that Michael Gove is offering to reform the prison service for:
Now the plight of poor, vulnerable Helen Archer, is being used to reinforce the case for reform:
Gove said: âWe need radically to reform how we treat women offenders. At the moment, too many women are in jail. A prison sentence not only punishes them, but also makes life much tougher for their children.â
Seems that women are cast into the role of victim, regardless of which end of the rolling pin they are on…
[*EDITED THANKS TO MANY SHARP EYED READERS!]