Here in the UK, the Sentencing Guidelines Committee (SGC) has given a new advice to judges that 'remorseful domestic violence' could get a community order or suspended sentence.It sounds as though the SGC has been listening to a garbled account of "Supernanny", rather than considering the realities of domestic violence. I say a 'garbled' account, because the structure of "Supernanny" is this:.· Offenders are given a clear understanding of what is and isn't acceptable behaviour.
· Offenders are isolated and punished.· Offenders apologise for their behaviour and are 'rehabilitated' into the family.And then, of course, there is the fact that they are pint-sized, children, well under the age of 10.
The SGC's advice seems to suggest that:.a) the offender cannot be presumed to have fully understood that domestic violence is not acceptable behaviour.b a good, heartfelt apology is adequate.
Adequate for whom?.Is there any reason to suppose that offenders live on planet Zog ? and therefore don't know that domestic violence is a crime? Or is it just that these offenders are one step ahead of the rest of us? Do they know what we don't, that society would prefer to treat domestic violence as a 'mistake' rather than the brutal crime it is?.Further questions arise with the SGC's advice: who determines whether the remorse is genuine? How do they arrive at their opinion? And, crucially, does it really matter?.There is a diagram that is frequently used in Domestic Violence education. It's called The Circle of Violence.
(You can find the diagram at http://www.joyfulcoaching.com/images/violence.jpg ) It depicts the circle that any abuser travels around. Like any circle you can get on and off where you please.
But suppose you start at the outburst, the point at which one partner, still more commonly the man, lashes out.After the adrenalin rush of the outburst the abuser feels great for a little while. But then regret sets in; maybe they've gone too far this time.
So they will apologise, maybe even express genuine remorse, and play Mr Nice Guy for a while, until they start to feel diminished by the consideration they feel they have to show their partner.Then the frustrations start to bubble away below the surface and they'll go back to criticising their partner. The old pattern of faultfinding will appear again, becoming more and more frequent, until they have another outburst and then go back into remorse.
According to the statistics the average woman in a violent relationship will undergo 35 violent 'outbursts' before she finally leaves. Over that period of months, or years, the abuser will eventually start to go round the circle faster ? and may cut out the apologies and the Mr Nice Guy routine. Or he may not. That depends on the individual.
But almost all of them have enough good sense to find justifications for their behaviour ? and, of course, state how truly sorry they feel for the damage they have done, when they risk prosecution.Why does that mean we should pardon them? Or if we pardon them, why did we not pardon the infamous Moors Murderer Myra Hindley? Admittedly, it was a different offence. But, as she pointed out, she served her time, at least.When a victim of domestic violence is willing not to press charges and to give a relationship another try, that does not necessarily prove that the perpetrator's remorse is genuine and the relationship will be transformed. All it conclusively proves is the triumph of hope over probability. The victim, who will have been told repeatedly by her partner that no one else would ever want her, is so desperate to feel loved that she will keep working at the relationship against all odds.
And then there is the consideration that if a violent partner, who the victim has once denounced, is at liberty, the victim will never be safe. At any time the perpetrator may revert to the violent, terrifying behaviours of the past. Ironically, in a situation like that, taking the perpetrator back may be safer than being exposed to his fury at having been rejected.Apart from the 2 deaths per week in the UK from domestic violence, and the endless beatings, the majority of which go unrecorded, there are also the suicides of victims ? which never even get recorded as a domestic violence statistic.The problem of domestic violence is huge and the long term cost to society is, probably, incalculable.
In that context, it is easy to see how,in the UK, from every point of view "sorry seems to be the cheapest word".(C) 2006 Annie Kaszina..
Annie Kaszina Ph D, is a coach and writer who has helped hundred of women to rebuild their confidence and their life after an abusive relationship. Annie is the author of "The Woman You Want To Be". This ebook will teach you how you can love yourself first, so that you can create strong self-belief and build the fulfilling future you're looking for on firm foundations.To find out more and sign up to Annie's free bi-monthly ezine visit http://www.joyfulcoaching.
com You can email Annie at: firstname.lastname@example.org.Feel free to reprint this article on your website or in your ezine, just include the resource box.
By: Annie Kaszina