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Friday, 11 August 2017

Sticks and Stones and Words and Bones.

                                And you can wash your mouth out ( with soap) Babycakes!

Once we were children told;
                                             to pay no mind to unkind words,
                                                                                                 calumny, swearing, curses, lies.
Nor were we to speak any such;
                                                  unkind words, calumny, curses, lies,

It was a Catholic thing, a moral thing, a christian thing, a matter of good rearing thing.

Now, you are likely to be told that,
                                                       anything anyone ever
                                                                                         says to you,
                                                                                                            is actually,
                                                                                                                             about the speaker.

Not personal. Not to be taken on board. It's only... words.
Exposing the speaker....using his words.  Only.  Words.

                                        you are dead to me, dead to me, dead to me Delia.

Yeah. My children have all used their words from time to time to tell me how very badly they hated, you, and why it was they didn't love (you),  and how they just wanted to get away (from you)...
and, like, so maybe they were adopted?
In the hothouse madness of teen-age.
"And so, like, do you hate being a Mammy, Mammy,  or what?" Beauty once asked me passionately.
"Hate you, hate you, hate you, hate...." the Boss spat from the top of stairs, choking on the last I hate.
"Irrational! Mad you are mad do you know you don't even know that you don't actually... get it... "
 the Boy, sixteen, managed through gritted teeth as I confiscated his Xbox, beer stash, cigarettes, in one fell swoop. One long and shouty afternoon.

                                           hold me close don't let me scream

Did it hurt, did it hell. It, basically, hurt like hell. But, hell, you take it on the chin.
Your children are in a kind of make or break process in teen-age. They have to cast you off, to seek, to find, locate, themselves. And you, my friend, must suck it up, must stand your ground, contain it. Wait. You have to sit it out. You wouldn't call that domestic abuse now, would you? It's about Context?

All that door slamming? distempered screaming, door slamming, knives quivering in the breadboard, (no really!) door slamming, howling contempt, door slamming, passionate blaming, door slamming... the soundtrack to the rite of passage. When you were teenaged.

Short of actual physical violence, you wouldn't say any of that's  a 'domestic'.
You wait for the quivering shivering teen to crawl out of the bedroom afterwards. Bereft, confused. Sorry even. You just... wait. All Context. Yeah.

                                          Coercive Control to be Out-Lawed.

I think about that as I listen to a Radio discussion, on Pat Kenny I think. He's being told that we, the Irish, lack an actual law? against Cohersive Control as an aspect of Domestic Abuse? They have it in the UK,  they have it in America, other places, but we do not. We have something in all.
Our Judges do not understand, are unable to grasp the dynamic binding victim to perpetrater.  Judges don't have any range past actual violence.
But what are we talking about here?
Words, verbals, that's what. Words as your weapon of choice.

A (mostly but not always) man gets into a (mostly but not always) woman's head with his loaded, knowing, manipulative, words. His wordfeed garnered from intimate knowledge. Oh, he may break her down with the shadow of the threat of violence, but soon, in time, he only needs to use his words to make her dance to his tune.

                                                     .....if only

The Judge just can't see it. It's not an actual crime. So right, we make it a crime.  We teach the Judge, we criminalise the behaviour, no?  Coercive Control.  I can't see it.
A dodgy definition, running like sand though your fingers, impossible to prove. It will catch a handful of extreme cases maybe,  extreme behaviours.  Requiring Guards to observe and gather incidents for proof, without, dispensing with the need for, the victim's complaint? That's a profound intrusion on personal autonomy, calling for big brother type judgements from Guards! (gawdhelpus)

So, right, we instruct the Judge, the Guards, the People... and afterwards no one is ever allowed to say 'well hey, she went back to him, didn't she? Didn't she?'
That'll work!
Can't see it.

I think we already know what happens here. You can't, we can't, protect a (mostly) woman from this kind of possession. Can't interfere with and regulate personal interactions in this way. It's slippery treacherous territory.  Its behaviours easily concealed by any abusive Partner on top of (usually) his game. It's words. It's control, Pavlov's dog style, behind closed doors,

And there's this. No woman is here unless she has chosen to be, in the beginning. And you may advise, prescribe, support until the seas run dry, until the coral reef is finished, but she and he will take up again the fatal dance as soon as she walks through her own front door. Like vampires, she's let him in, and now she's his.

                                                ......and so, back to the drawing board.

You can't legislate for all the twisted, complex human behaviours. You can't stop words arrowing home to detonate with infinite effect in the mind. Blows are easy, words are incalculable, infinite in effect. Think of the internet. Tweets, posts, snapchats, Soundbites... words. Unstoppable.

The only salvation, the only way out for anyone here is on their own steam. The only way to help is  in consciousness raising.  Expanding the minds of Everywoman; about what happens, how it can happen, how it can enslave.  The only way to facilitate a release from this particular version of hell is in giving support. Providing practical support, money, Women's shelters. The only way to intervene is to ostracise the abuser, recognise it when you see it, hear it. Call them on it. On the killing words. Remember context? Context is all.

                                          One day (your reward will be in heaven, darling)

And as for you, one awesome day your tortured shambling teen will walk back through your own front door, down the stairs from the bedroom, disentangle from her twisted sheets a smiling rueful adult. The little man, the tiny girl who loved you lurking in the deeps of a becalmed and balanced gaze.  Never to utter the killing words no more, whats more.  Mostly never.  Hopefully never.  Nevermore. And in the words of the inimitable Bell XI

                              "All my distant sons and daughters/
                                I hope you can forgive yourselves/
                                and I hope you can forgive me/
(Sons & Daughters. ARMS. 2016)

Or this little verse I stumbled on;

                                                             Hurt you

                                          Sticks and stones may break your bones/
                                           words will never words will never/
                                          Sparked your heart down through my own/
                                            words could never words could never/
                                          Caged you in your brace of bones/
                                            words did never words did never /
                                          Left you barely beating strong/
                                           left you left you left you/
                                          Bring it on, your sticks and stones/
                                            Words boomerang words ( echo)