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?


The Woes of the First-Home-Buyer

I apologize for the sudden end to my postings. Unfortunately, in the last fortnight, life got horrendously busy. 

How this happened is a little confusing to me, but here goes;

  1. December 2011, our lease ran out.
  2. January 2012, we get an offer to renew our lease. We accept, and sign a form declaring our interest in renewing our lease. Done and dusted.
  3. February 2012, we complain about the huge water bill we were given. This bill was upwards of $1000 for one year – way too much for two adults and a baby to consume, and according to our water corporation, “enough to fill a swimming pool every day”. Our previous rentals water bill for 1 year was $200.
  4. March 2012, a plumber is sent out. He gives the OK to the property, declaring there are no leaks. We persist, calling the water corp and complaining. After nothing further can done by the real estate, we notify them of our intent to call Tenant Aid as we are not convinced the bill is correct.
  5. April 2012, we get a notice to terminate our residency here. Upon my calling and asking – WTF? – we are told that the form we signed was not in fact the lease, but just a piece of paper to say we WANTED to renew the lease. The owner had since changed his mind, and not given us a lease. We had been – unknowingly – living on a periodical lease which he had then terminated with the reason “The owner has chosen not to specify a reason”.

"I smell a rat..."

Now, to me, this seems all a little sus. We had called many many times for the water bill to be looked at over the last 6 months, and this was ignored up until we called the Water Corp ourselves. Then, upon mention of Tenant Aid, we get a residency termination notice? Also, noone ever called to tell us the owner had changed his mind. As far as we were concerned, we had a lease up until July this year. I smell a rat.

And so, with our trust in rentals diminished, the mortgage hunt has begun. “We” being  myself, 20, my son’s father, 27, and my son. We are a single income family as I stay home to look after my son and study. Unfortunately, we can’t get anything better on our wages than a 3 x 1 house built 40 years ago. Which is oh so depressing.

Which leaves us with several options:

1) Save more and get a better job, and continue renting.This is a last resort option.

2) Buy a house and land package, build, and rent for the  year it will take. Better, but still involving the rent rat.

3) Group together with some friends in similarly sticky situations, and see what we can do. Aha!

So that is now the  goal. We have two potential friends who may be interested, and we could just about gather enough income to get a 4 bedroom house to share.Income wise – Done! However, the two potentials have debts which could harm their credit rating… Saga, to be continued!

The moral of this blog….. Gee whizz but buying a first home is difficult!!