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What would you do?

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Recently, I had an conversation with a client whose ex-wife has moved in with a ‘working man’ who enjoys watching and simulating sexual violence.The problem for my client is that both his daughters are living in the same house and he doesn’t want this man’s influence, innuendo or state of mind to affect his daughters.

It’s an interesting point because women who become victim to abuse, either verbal or physical ALWAYS later say, “How did I get into that situation?”   The easiest answer is “INCREMENTALLY”.

These men don’t have a plan because they operate at a sub-conscious, immediate gratification level.   In practical terms, they simply test your limits. A comment here, an inappropriate touch there, and it is the woman who suddenly finds herself in the awkward position of trying to say NO. Each time you don’t say NO, allows them to try something a little riskier next time.   Suddenly, you’re fighting them off in the broom closet and saying, “How did I get into this situation?”

Often, the man will pose the comment or act as a joke. If you say NO, their response is, “Can’t you take a joke”, which belittles you and keeps them safe.

Therefore, my clients concerns about his daughters are valid. Although the ‘working man’ may not physically touch them, he is incrementally belittling them and adding innuendo to conversations, so smut becomes the norm. If they speak up, they are shouted down, and incrementally they become politely submissive. This can have a dramatic effect on other relationships the daughters may have in their future.

Unfortunately for my client, his ex-wife has not yet reached the stage of “How did I get into this situation?”, and so she indirectly & unknowingly supports the negative influence on her children. Nor does she realise the slow drain on her own self-respect. Inevitably, her family and other outsiders will see what is developing but they will not say anything. It’s been proven that in awkward situations, rather than tell the truth,  people often tell you what they think you want to hear! So, you can’t rely on family and friends to save your bacon when it’s clear to everyone but you that you’re making the wrong decisions!

Without ‘insider’ support my client is practically powerless to alter the situation his ex-wife has imposed on their daughters. What would you do?

Is this a good influence?

White Ribbon Day – November 25th 2010

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Simply put, White Ribbon Day, focuses on eliminating violence against women and girls by men or boys.   It’s a pretty simple concept that I agree with. I became a White Ribbon Ambassador, and, made a committment at http://www.myoath.com.au/    Check out the website and make a committment too.

But it’s not just committing to not being violent against women, it is that you will SPEAK UP if necessary.

I’ve shared my values with a few of my mates. Basically, I don’t want them to put me in a position of having to ‘protect’ them. Some guys think they can do anything and then I, and others, shouldn’t say anything – but then the onus has been transferred to me!   I say the them, “Don’t you put me in this position”. It isn’t dobbing. If they can’t toe the line, I’m not their bail ticket.     

An old  mate who I’d known for over 25 years, Alan, had been verbally abusive to his wife of just 8 months or so, and her daughter, during my visits.    At the time, I was too stupid to say anything.   In hindsight I should’ve simply said, “Alan, ease up, that’s not right”. It wasn’t my problem to solve,  but it was my responsibility to speak up if she was being abused.  And it’s not just relating to violence against women.

I once had a friend at work who would nick off early. But as his manager I had to haul him over the coals for it. He said to me, “I thought you were my friend”. My reply was simple. “I thought you were my friend, and if you were, you wouldn’t have put me in this situation.”

If a guy wants to play up on his wife – someone I know, don’t expect me to ‘keep it quiet’ from her. If I’m going to be looking her in the eye, mate,  don’t put me in the awkward position.   And it happened to me too. The abusive Alan mentiioned above, began an affair with my wife.   Later when I found out, he was puzzled why I wouldn’t ‘get over it’. He tried to make it my fault that our friendship fractured.   “If you were my friend, Alan, you wouldn’t have put my in this situation.”

The funny thing is, I heard Alan tell my wife he loved her, on the night he proposed to his wife! I simply dismissed it as ‘beer talk’, but I should have said something there and then. I didn’t want to spoil their night in front of 100 people. I was his best friend at that night. Yet, he shouldn’t have put me in that position. If the night turned sour, it was his fault not mine.

Over many years, I’ve not spoken up about lot’s of things, things that I should have.   “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Martin Luther King

There are all sorts of reasons why we should speak up. White Ribbon Day is just one.

Rodney Lovell