I’ve been reading with some sadness about the comments the actor Dennis Waterman has made on hitting his ex-wife Rula Lenska (article here).
According to the media Waterman (an actor I confess to previously having a soft spot for since he starred as Just William many decades ago) says he was violent because he had struggled to win arguments with his ‘strong, intelligent‘ wife. He later added ‘It’s not hard for a woman to make a man hit her‘.
In other words, an articulate, intelligent woman arguing with a man is ‘asking for it’. At least in Waterman’s world.
I’ve heard this excuse many times before. I used to work professionally with men whose inability to control their anger had brought them before the courts: they regularly trotted out the Waterman defence-
”I was forced into it‘.
‘She provoked me‘.
‘She’d drive anyone to violence‘
And more alarmingly I’ve heard women, after receiving violence from men, say:
‘I forced him into it‘
‘I provoked him‘
‘I should have kept quiet‘
It’s not so long ago since it was ‘socially acceptable’ for men to hit their wives or girlfriends and the authorities would turn a blind eye. Families would often turn a blind eye. Man’s dominance over women was tacitly accepted. In some cultures that is still acceptable and we know terrible violence against women still takes place in this country today. Yes, men are subject to violence too but the difference here is women are subjected to violence on a regular basis because they are women, because they asked for it.
There’s still a lot of work to do to change attitudes, in both men and women. The minority of men who use violence to control, as much as the women who receive it, need help. I am glad to see the outrage around Waterman’s comments; it’s sending a this is unacceptable message out loud and clear.
If you’ve been outraged too you might like to drop by the Womankind site, a charity aimed at empowering women across the world.
You might find also this post of interest- What Stops You Being Assertive?
Thinking of expanding your training business? I can help you. To find out more, click here.
Photo credit: Julia Freeman-Woolpart
Posted on March 21st, 2012 by Jane