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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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You’ll never be able to talk down his fists

Dennis Waterman, renowned chauvinist and failed singer, whipped up a furious storm when he admitted giving his ex-wife a black eye to end an argument he was losing.

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No hiding place: Domestic violence will remain a common and too frequent killer until women – who are stronger and more intelligent than men who hit – get wise and get out

“The problem with strong, intelligent women is that they can argue, well,” he said in a TV interview.

“Something must have brought it on. When frustration builds up and you can’t think of a way out? I must have punched her one time ’cause she did have a black eye.”

There are two ways of looking at his miserable, grudging confession.

Either he’s mitigating what he did by blaming Rula Lenska for being strong and intelligent – she brought it on herself – or he’s excusing himself for lashing out. It was the drink that did it... and she brought it on herself.

Two very common assertions are frequently tripped out in abusive relationships. I have never understood or believed either of them.

Him: She drove me too it. I’m sorry now.

Her: But I love him – and he’s sorry now.

“She wasn’t a beaten wife,” Waterman says, “She was hit and that’s different.”

See? There is the problem in a nutshell – which happens to be about the same size as a wife-beater’s walnut brain.

A violent man who can rationalise by degree the pain and injury inflicted on a woman– or on anyone, for that matter – is a man who will never be anything but violent. An ignorant brute, in fact.

If he’s not winning an argument, he hits. If he’s drunk or depressed, he hits.

If his mates make him feel foolish, he hits.

If he hasn’t the intelligence or ability to articulate his feelings of disappointment, hits.

That’s what he is. A man who hits women.

Because he knows he can. Because she’s unlikely to leave him.

Anti-domestic violence campaigners reacted immediately and angrily to Waterman’s twisted and veiled admission of inadequacy. Nothing less would be expected of them.

They have a mission to rescue victims from life-threatening relationships.

But it’s the women who don’t realise they need rescuing who are the real worry.

Women who believe next time they’ll be able to talk down his fists. Because they’re cleverer than him – and he’s sorry now.

Women who think it will never happen again. Because he promised. Women who might one day leave him. When they find somewhere to go. And if they live that long. That’s the most urgent worry. Domestic violence is a frequent and common killer of women who love men that are bad for them.

And it will remain a common and too frequent killer until women – who are stronger and more intelligent than men who hit – get wise and get out.

Better still, get him out.

He’s not sorry. He will hit you again. You’ll never be free of his threat.

Maybe you do love him – but, believe me, you’ll get over it.

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