Over at The Spectator, I have a piece about the untold side of women and domestic violence.
Domestic and Family Violence (DFM) is a big issue in Australia and pretty much everywhere.
It is a scourge, a cancer, it has no place in society, let alone in the church, it is only and always evil.
Women bear the brunt of the majority of the abuse and men are overwhelmingly the perpetrators of DFV.
However, when I keep hearing the mantra about men as abusers and women as victims, I have to tell you that I feel a certain degree of dissonance. My biography doesn’t fit that narrative. While my mother could be a caring and loving person, she was also, spasmodically, cruel and vicious, and subjected me to physical and emotional abuse as well as homelessness.
25% of DFV is perpetrated by women, often at children, yet it attracts very little attention in the media or in public campaigns.
I don’t want for a minute want to displace women as suffering the brunt of DFM nor too deny the fact that brutal men are the cause of it.Yet, when I hear things like “We must protect women and children from men” part of me naturally asks, “And who is protecting the children from some of those women?”
This abuse had a deep and detrimental effect upon me. For the first twenty years of my life I was convinced that most women hated me or were at least coldly indifferent to me. When I joined the army, this gynophobia was translated into a form of misogyny where women where somewhere between damsels to be protected and objects of sexual conquest. When I joined the church, I gravitated towards a very strict form religious conservatism on gender roles which was only undone by marrying a wonderful woman, raising two fantastic daughters, and realizing that white middleclass suburban life combined with nineteen-seventies sitcom patriarchy was not the lens through which to read Holy Scripture.