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If you see domestic violence but say nothing, then you are part of the problem

ALMOST half of us (44pc of Irish people) know someone who has experienced domestic abuse. But most of us are only willing to intervene in 'certain' circumstances.

Those were the key findings of a survey conducted by COSC – the National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence – here.

What were the reasons given for not reporting the abuse? Well apparently, our greatest concern was the feeling they we shouldn't get involved in other people's business (88pc).

 

WARPED

In other words, far too many of us think domestic abuse is a 'private matter'.

How many people, when discussing the Nigella Lawson pictures this week, did you hear saying 'well if I saw a situation like that in Dublin and tried to stop it, I'd be afraid I'd make matters worse and that he might lay into her even more at home.'

Or 'if you got involved in something like that, the woman could turn on you, you might get a volley of abuse hurled at you.'

Or even 'Sure that could be some sort of honeytrap; a 'put on' to get you involved and suddenly you're attacked and robbed and they're off down the street with your wallet.'

It's obviously not just a stiff upper lip thing, to not get involved, it's an Irish thing too.

Safe Ireland, a group providing refuge for women who suffer domestic abuse, has spoken about the "the warped rationale of men who abuse in the open".

Clearly had a similar incident happened at a restaurant here, diners would not want to or would be too afraid or intimidated to intervene. Talk to anyone who has been in an abusive situation and they'll tell you 'it's complicated.' Relationships are. People are.

Remember Fiona Doyle telling Ryan Tubridy on the Late Late show that she still loved her father? This was the man who sexually abused her once a week from the age of eight. She still said that when they were taking him away in the prison van that she nearly shouted 'stop.'

But just because people and relationships are complicated, that doesn't mean that if you suspect something, you put your head in the sand and turn a blind eye, telling yourself that it's 'not my business'.

 

HUMILIATING

Charles Saatchi has said that Nigella and he were having a 'tiff' and an intense debate about the children. He has accepted a caution to avoid the issue 'hanging over' the couple for months, he stated.

But the pictures of his restaurant spat with Nigella are deeply humiliating for her. The one of him 'tweaking' her nose is particularly upsetting.

He has form in not being the most mild mannered man. He's also on record saying that he doesn't like his wife's food.

He buys and discards art on a whim. Many who've encountered him describe him as controlling, if not an outright bully.

But Saatchi did what he did, for whatever reason, and rightly faces public scrutiny for it. The onlookers though? Well, they looked on.

The theme of the COSC survey I mentioned above was 'Your silence feeds the violence'. In other words, say nothing and you are complicit in abuse too.

You are complicit in the most under-reported, undocumented and unprosecuted crime in the country.


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