Friday, April 16, 2010

A line in the sand..

I cannot find a way to address the issue of domestic violence in soft or subtle terms. Perhaps, this is appropriate for the issue as it stands is not one of subtleties or nuances. There exists no delicacy in the act of a man beating his wife, or children. No grace or beauty in the aftermath, filled with tears, pain, and fear. Domestic violence is simply cruel, cowardly behavior, performed by persons of lesser intellect who seek power. Power over others, for they have none over themselves or their surroundings.

No, there is no nice way to write about it, but this should not make us shy away.

The recent charge of Murder placed against Patrick Dapolito in the death of his wife Kelly Winslow of Limington last month, really brought the issue to the fore again. After shooting his wife in the back of the head with a 9mm handgun, Mr. Dapolito then stuffed the victim in a freezer until such time as he was able to dispose of the body in western Maine.

If we as a society truly believe that Domestic violence in all its forms is unacceptable as evidenced by the myriad of articles and books written on the subject, then I ask why in God’s name do we still have families who are living in a state of fear, where life itself, can become the ultimate price paid?

The situation continues because we as a people may pay lip service to the notion of stopping violence in the home, but do little to translate the idea into a reality. Yes there are education programs and outreach facilities, there are social service organizations and law enforcement officers, but overall these programs and avenues, are mere stop gaps. They exist to help save people from suffering at the hands of a supposed love one. Noble yes, but they are not, by their very nature, able to change the general perception and social values of the citizenry which, I believe, is what really needs to happen.

That, my friends, is left to you and me.

If we really want to stop violence then we should make the idea of it so socially unacceptable, that once found out, an abuser cannot help but experience great shame and/or fear. To do this we have to make the abuser understand not why he/she was so abusive, but rather why we will not tolerate this behavior as a people. This is not hard to do, for those who lower themselves by attacking women and children are nothing more than cowards. Being such, they are deserving of none of our attentions, friendships, or business. In other words, we should ostracize them. This can be done without violating anyone’s civil liberties, for nowhere in the Constitution does it state that you must interact with those persons you find distasteful.

I personally have no room in my world for men who are tough with women and children. I have found that these types are generally of an unreliable and unstable personality and that they cannot be trusted. The very nature of their lives makes it so, for they must lie and deceive continually to cover up their crimes. They have no honor, no pride, no strength of character, and lacking such they deserve no respect, friendship or companionship from anyone least of all me. I draw a line in the sand on this issue, a very distinct line, and if friend, family member, or even associate, crosses it they quickly find themselves “Shut out” completely.

I associate not with cowards.

I believe if more people took such a stance, if perhaps the abuser’s friends looked past “What a nice guy he is except for that beating his wife to a bloody pulp every Friday night bit” then we just may find a decrease in the instances of domestic violence here in Maine. If we can all measure our relationships with perpetrators of domestic violence with a moral compass that rejects any and all excuses, that scorns those found guilty, then we can begin to remove this barbaric plague from our society as a whole.

It will be shame that brings such persons to their knees and to heel, not discussions about drug use or their childhood. It will be their neighbors and friends turning away in disgust at the cowardice of the act which will leave no doubt, domestic violence is no longer acceptable or wanted.

Draw your line in the sand!

Allen R Butler

*the photo is of the cowardly and weak Dapolito heading to court*


Anonymous said...

50% of domestic violence, and 95% of verbal abuse (we used to call it nagging) is committed by women - and absolutely nobody cares. I do not know a male high school student who has not been assaulted by a girlfriend, but if he were to raise his voice when she ran over his pet, he would be on probation.

In short, this plague cuts both ways. But only half of it is socially unacceptable here in our Matriarchal Republic.

Anonymous said...

This is a very moving and eloquent editorial. I would hope you would at least submit it to a newspaper, perhaps it would be published. This Sunday's telegram has a section on this topic.
As for the comment from previous person, violence certainly is starting to become part of the woman's culture, much to my sadness. However, the fact remains that most violence is done to women as they are still seen as 'objects' own by men. Entire cultures and religions encourage this thinking.
We are seeing our society and the media encouraging anger and violence and it will only get worse as we refuse as a culture to recognise the subtle brain washing happening every day in the news.

The violence of children killing other children, mothers killing their children, fathers killing anyone just because they are mad. It is very disturbing trend, this hatred fire being fueled on by media and others in postiiton of power. Kids have been playing violent computer games for a lifetime and we are seeing the results. They have slipped to the world of non reality and don't understand that killing is not acceptable.
I agree, if it only society could 'see ' and make this violence unacceptable, then perhaps this kind of behaviour would stop.
As a woman who experienced violence toward myself, I can only hope someday this will change.
Well Written Allen.

Blighter said...

I have received tons of emails on this particular post as well as the two comments above and I want to thank you all (even those who disagree with my contention) for your input and thoughts.

The responses were varied and well thought out for the most part but, I find the general theme rather disturbing even though said theme supports my overall contention.

Of all the responses only two agreed that domestic violence is unacceptable without question. All the others tried to either shift the topic or to lay blame on the victim, society, or even upbringing. This means that people are looking for either an excuse for the abuser’s actions or at the very least a way to understand the abuser, probably in the hope that through such understanding we as a society can somehow stop the behavior.

This goes against my line of reasoning completely, for I fully believe that there are no acceptable excuses to be had on the subject, nor are there any extenuating circumstances such as “nagging”, that are valid reasons for someone to assault their wife, girlfriend, etc.

My article dealt with Men as the primary perpetrators of domestic violence however, in the comments above it has been pointed out that women are just as prone to violence as men. I honestly find this hard to believe but for arguments sake lets just say it is so.

I know of no woman who could beat me senseless in a fit of rage and I am a wee man to boot. So if a woman was to be angered to the point of assaulting me (not beyond the realm of possibility as I am an annoying sort) a few blocks, perhaps a restraining move of some kind should suffice to end the confrontation quickly. Needless to say I would not find it necessary to pummel her or inflict massive amounts of pain.

So for arguments sake let’s say that my female attacker was my wife, who for some reason lost all control and began to assault me. For those of you who know my wife I am sure you find great humor in this scenario, what should I do then? The bonds of marriage are sacred so here we are faced with a difficult situation are we not? The choices are few and simple: A. I can retaliate in a violent fashion which makes me no better than DaPolito, B. I can simply take the beating, in which case I am allowing myself to be victimized, or C. I can control the situation and then once able I walk away.

If a relationship marital or not, has violence as a mainstay of its existence then there is something very wrong with one or both of the individuals involved. It is unhealthy to the extreme and quite frankly doomed to failure.

I reassert my contention that we as a society must use the power of the community to stop this behavior.

Lastly, even the “Westies” a criminal gang from Hell’s Kitchen NYC found that those who hit women were disgraceful. It just was not to be done “especially in public”. These criminals were notorious killers and yet even they, amidst the poverty, ruin and desperation of a depressed community could understand that domestic violence is wrong. If a group of such as this can get it why the Christ can’t the rest of society?