Alice Shaw

Abuse by Any Other Name is Still Domestic Violence

In Opinion on July 25, 2010 at 10:25 am

Oh dear, Mel Gibson is at again.  His last tirade was an anti-Semitic rant which was unforgiveable, and for which he had no choice but to publicly apologise.  He was quite humble about it all.  He isn’t a racist anti- Semite at all apparently, and so, despite the ugliness of it, he was allowed to move on.

 But Mel is at the centre of a media storm again.  This time he allegedly raged at his former girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva and she caught it all on tape.    He apparently hurled vicious verbal abuse at her, insulting not just her but his tiny baby daughter who was with Grigorieva at the time of the attack.  Vile name calling and racist remarks peppered his rant.  There has been plenty of media coverage of the alleged abuse but we have not heard the tapes yet and we have heard barely anything from the Gibson camp.  There has been no humble apology this time.  Because this time, there might just be a way of having his behaviour excused.  Reports have begun to emerge that Oksana is being investigated for extortion – pardon my cynicism but I wonder who leaked that bit of information to the press.  Further, there has been a report that Mel had begun to try and give up smoking on the very day that he unleashed his verbal tirade against his former girlfriend.  Oh, and he thought that she was having an affair.  Well I guess that makes it okay then.

 But let me point out that when you scream abuse at any woman, you are an abuser.  When you rage against her, obscenities flying from your mouth, you are a perpetrator of domestic violence.  Yes you are.  You can dress it up in excuses about giving up smoking, or fears of an affair or any other of the mitigating circumstances that perpetrators try and bring up to negate the seriousness of their actions.  How many women were punched in the face this week for buying the wrong butter.  How many women wore long sleeves to work so they could conceal the bruises they got when they looked the wrong way at a male friend.  How many women spend every day hearing that they are stupid, they are useless, they are dirty, they are whores, they are worthless, they are bad mothers, they are psychotic?  The list goes on.  And how many children are also exposed to this nightmare?

 Is it possible that Mel Gibson has become violent, abusive and menacing after his 30 year marriage to Robyn Gibson ended?  Yes it is.  Is it likely that he was never verbally abusive to her?  I would argue that unfortunately, no it is not.  I suspect that Mel has been skilled at hiding his abusive nature under his oh so public front of devoted Catholic father.  He has been quick over the years to refer to his Catholicism as though it somehow made him above reproach. 

 Domestic violence is an insidious and on-going problem which permeates all walks of life, from the rich and privileged to those on the poverty line.  It knows no class divide and domestic violence is predominately perpetrated by men, against women.  In far too many cases, we hear of the perpetrator attempting to discredit his victim in order to reduce his culpability.  It is very disappointing not to have heard from other prominent male figures in Hollywood regarding this incident.  I realise that the media are still using the words “alleged” and “apparently” in their reports and that we have still only heard Oksana’s side of the story, but just once I would like to see a group of well known, easily recognised men, genuinely speak out against the crime of domestic violence, instead of the victim frantically scrabbling to keep herself safe, lest the perpetrator be successful in convincing everyone that she, is in fact, to blame.

 As more information emerges, particularly that which is detrimental to Oksana, we would do well to remember that domestic violence is a crime.  It does not matter if she was having an affair, or if she wore something Mel didn’t like or if she told him to go take a flying leap.  She is the victim.  It is the perpetrator who must be brought to task.

  1. Welcome home Alice. Just discovered this new offering of yours; good luck with it. What are you going to do with Romanace 101?

    Now I should go and read it all.

  2. How was the trip over – any luck?

  3. Welcome BS.. good to see you! 101 is taking a little break for a bit and The Shaw Daily is going to be my main focus, at least for a while. The trip was amazing – concentrated on being a tourist and enjoying a holiday with the kids. Hope you enjoy this new blog!

  4. Keep up the great work!!

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