Domestic disputes – Drawing the line


All of my blogs contain meaning for me, and many will relate to my own life. However I am aware that this IS the internet, and as such I do modify details to keep things private, so please do not draw too many conclusions from my topic choices.

All couples argue. Whether it’s a vegemite/marmite scenario, or a cheating spouse caught in the act, at some point there will be a tiff. So at what point does a row turn into abuse? Is it a matter of intensity, frequency, or publicity? Or a combination of all three?

I couldn’t find a short and snappy Australian definition of DV, so I gathered a couple of definitions from countries with similar societal values to ourselves, the UK and the USA.

  • The English Government defines domestic violence as:

“Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.”

via What Is Domestic Violence? | Definition.

  • The US Office on Violence Against Women defines domestic violence as:

A “pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner”. The definition adds that domestic violence “can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender”, and can take many forms, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional, economic, and psychological abuse.

via Domestic violence – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

These give a general gist quite well, though it’s interesting to see the difference in focus – The UK gives a more general definition, whilst the USA is fairly specific about the involvement of power in abuse. However, several things ring true across the Atlantic –

  • The forms can vary – physical, sexual, emotional, economic, and psychological abuse are all included.
  • It does not discriminate – race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender have no impact on whether the behaviour counts as abuse.
  • It occurs between intimate partners, or family.

While this gives us a solid base, the line is fairly hazy. We return to the original question; at what point does a row turn into abuse? Is it a matter of intensity, frequency, or publicity?

Some example situations could be,

Partner 1 and Partner 2 have an arguement over a unknown credit card restuarant  bill. Partner 1 slaps Partner 2 across the face and accuses him of cheating. This has never happened before, over the 2 year relationship. Abuse?

Partner 3 and Partner 4 argue a lot, over many little things. Unwashed dishes, folding the clothes, changing the baby’s nappy. The arguements are usually instigated by Patner 3, with Partner 4 retaliating without holding back. It gets to the point where Partner 4 no longer feels welcome in the house due to the imminent arguements, and becomes depressed. Abuse?

Partner 5 and Partner 6 bicker whilst at home, yet stop when in public. After a few months of increasingly heated arguements, Partner 5 begins to crack jokes and make lewd comments at Partner 6′s expense whilst among friends. Partner 6 expresses her dislike of these comments, yet it continues, and she loses her self confidence. Abuse?

I could name myriads of theoretical situations where the term “abuse” might be deemed to serious, but is it? Should there be a zero tolerance of domestic violence, or should situations such as Partner 1 and 2 “not count”? Should one partner cause recordable damage (of whatever form) before it is classed as abuse, or should situations such as Partner 3 and 4 “not count” either? Does the audience make a difference, or would comments made such as with Partners 5 and 6 “not count” if they were made privately?

Leave your thoughts below, I’d be very interested to see what you think on this topic. Where do we realistically draw the line? And why?

Racist or realist?


This is a touchy topic. I expect some will disagree, that’s fine to do, but please keep your comments civil or they will simply not be approved.

Your typical "Sardine house"

Yesterday, myself and Felix’s father went to view the block of land we would potentially build our house on. Now, we are on a low budget, and it’s a small block on a “Sardine estate” as I like to call them. Even for this tiny block, the closest to the city we can afford is a town 40 mins away, at the very end of the train line.  Basically, there’s little to no choice if we want to get anything at all.

So here we are, brum brumming down in our car, full of optimism. Yes, it’s small, but we were assured by Homestart that it was a nice new suburb close to amenities and a primary school – sounds good enough for us! As we draw closer, we drive through Armadale, a town notorious for outbreaks of violence, petty crime and a high population of Aboriginal people. Sure enough, we drive through graffitied houses, bus stations buried with litter, and large groups of Aboriginals gathered outside of shops and parks drinking from paper bags.

Myself, Felix’s father, and of course Felix, are incredibly white. Me and Felix are both natural blondes, his father is a chestnut-brown, and we are all very pale skinned.We look to many as your stereotypical white Australian  family, in a work car which is a Triton (A ute with a cab on it).

A group of Aboriginals drinking

We felt uneasy driving through these sorts of scenes, with many of the Aboriginal groups making unfriendly gestures; be it flipping the bird, spitting on the path, or simply snarling. So we look for an alternative route to our new suburb, however unless we want to add another 20 mins to the drive and come from the south, there isn’t one. We pass a small piece of bushland and a railway line, and on the other side is our suburb, just as we expected it to look – Small, new, quiet. We hadn’t anticipated it being quite so close to Armadale. We drive around it a little, and yes, there is a little shop close by, a primary school, and some farm houses on the outskirts.  Its all rather nice.

Some Aboriginal people walking along the roadside, one spat at us as we drove past.

However, on our way back home (The same route we would have to drive every time we entered or exited our home) we again pass these collections of Aboriginal people, and again feel a little threatened and uneasy by the unwanted attention. And we begin thinking, do we really want this every day? Do we want to have this hostility at the local shop, do we want our son to eventually go to a school with this sort of locale? And the answer is simply no. I have no problem with races, but the atmosphere created by the sheer number of Aboriginals in this area who are generally very poor, compared to the white folk who are not so poor, just makes the place very unappealing. As such, we are looking to build in another area.

This raises some questions for me… How does this sort of attitude begin? And how can it stop? The reason the house prices are so cheap in that area is more than likely because many people don’t wan’t to buy there with it being so hostile, and that just leads to a bigger and bigger gap between the percentage of black/white, which I assume simply amplifies the attitude over time. However, many people who are looking for cheap houses are those like us who are starting families, they won’t want their children growing up next to a rough neighbourhood.

It’s all a bit of a pickle, isn’t it?