Yes, please don't hit my mum Alesha, she's done nothing to you! Here, beautifully inane Alesha Dixon discusses domestic violence. This is going to be a bit of a minefield for me, both because of the involvement of Alesha, and the subject matter. It's going to get a little personal. But here goes.
One of the children at the very start of this documentary said 'he threw her down the stairs; and for that reason I'll never forgive him.' I understand that sentiment. The thought of all the children out there having to witness that sort of stuff feels horrific. How can parents do that to their children, do that in front of their children? They just don't give a shit. That's the long and short of it.
Alesha's mum's boyfriend beat her up when Alesha was 8. Mine happened when I was 11.
It is a horrible feeling to feel powerless; but it's worse to see your mother powerless. Especially when she has the choice to walk, but she won't. That's the worst part. I do blame my mum for not leaving sooner, and I don't apologise for that. There's a point where a victim needs to gather themselves up for the sake of the children. Once she left everyone was like 'your mum has abandoned you' and I just thought 'good. why on earth didn't she leave three years ago?' It was the smartest move she ever made. I told her a million times to go before that.
Alesha, bless her, hasn't really got the gravitas to tackle this subject with any sort of feeling. She even makes horrific violence seem mildly boring.
It was interesting what she was saying about 'not having a say' in how you were raised; I think that's an important point; once you're an adult you DO have a say. You can choose to separate yourself from violent family members, or situations that are bad for you. I spent my entire teenage years waiting for the next blow up. I am proud that I live in a safe space now. I am reluctant to get dragged down by it all again. 'Victims' have to do the right thing by themselves- and blood isn't thicker than water, especially when you've seen it splashed over the pavement.
Alesha says she feels sorry for her mum, but it sounds like her mum is over it. It's the same for me, my mum couldn't give a shit about what happened, but that stuff scarred me for life. It's different for children; you're developing, and that rips a hole in you.
One girl talked about how she tried to get in the middle of the violence and he carried on hitting her mum like she wasn't there. I remember so vividly trying to get my dad off my mum, and he just didn't even even register I was there. We also ran to our neighbour on that day.
It was interesting to hear the girl talk about picking up with her dad again after 13 years; I don't speak to my dad, and I've noticed myself feeling increasingly guilty about it. But I've always thought; if a stranger did that to your mum, would you ever forgive them? So what's the difference? I always come back to that thought. I will never have children- but if I did, I could never do that to them. Don't you just want to protect them? I just can't make sense of it.
Alesha says 'you should always question why someone acts a certain way, especially if it's a violent way'. But should you? I don't care what drove him to it; he shouldn't ever have done that, and especially not in front of me. I'm not interested in the reasons behind it. It's just thuggery. If that's too hardline, then whatever. It's just an excuse; you have a free choice on how to behave.
It's interesting when you realise your 'role models' are deeply fucked up. But it's also completely annihilating.
The conversation about how witnessing violence at a young age affects the brain was interesting. I 'only' saw one incident of extreme violence; I dread to think how my brain would have been affected if I'd seen that over and over.
The psychologist said the effect of witnessing violence makes you constantly frightened, and that's definitely how I felt as a teenager, constantly on edge.
Wow, Alesha Dixon is quite stunning. Bless her, she's trying.
Ah- Alesha visited a domestic violence incident with the police between a male couple! I've been discussing this with another friend today, so that's interesting. Apparently 11% of domestic violence victims are men. They don't seem to be the ones getting murdered, though. Eek, they played a really scary 999 call with a guy going crazy. DV is no joke. Look at how many men kill their partners (and whole families, if they're a real special case) per year- it's terrifying, and it's largely ignored. Oh, another one. It's just too commonplace.
I can't stress enough for women to leave, for kids to speak out, for men to THINK just think about what you are doing.
OMG! This guy used to make the mum say who she loved more out of him or her daughter and force her to say him! FUCKED.
My mum used to say over and over 'he would never lay a finger on you' as if that made everything OK. I don't think she had a clue what that situation actually did to me; she still doesn't really get it; although she gets it a lot more than she used to, because I forced her to.
I was interested when Alesha talked to a perpetrator at the end; and I do believe men can change- they do. I used to not think that, but I've grown up a bit. Once a wifebeater, always a wifebeater, I did believe that. But I don't now. But even if you can change, it doesn't make what you did in the past forgiveable. It doesn't change what you did. Wow, Alesha is really nodding, it's like a fucking Churchill advert.
I'm not sure about teaching kids about DV in school. Can you teach someone not to be a sadistic bastard? No, I'm wrong actually, it can't hurt, can it. Maybe it never occurred to someone not to be like that.
Footnote: Do you know how I met my best friend twelve or thirteen years ago? Her mum was in a shelter, running away from her dad, very similar situation to mine, and put a pin in a map, and hit Northampton, where I grew up. Unlucky for them, maybe, but lucky for me. It's funny how things turn out.
OK, back to the telly.