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?

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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?

Turning 20 … Where’s my cane?


Well, Friday 13 was my 20th birthday.

I’m not sure how I feel about this turning of a new decade. I’ve already come across some pros, some cons, and some cons that sould be pros.

The sort of teenage silliness that I'm supposed to have grown out of! This is Prosh, a fundraising event done by students at the University of Western Australia. The man on my right is a fellow student and good sport!

Pro: I look a whole lot more respectable on paper now than I did last weekend. I know this for one big fat obvious reason – people reply to me. Over the last couple of weeks, I have been submitting papers near and far in order to get myself and Felix’s father a home loan. And without fail, it gets to the “Age of Applicant?” question…. Que my heart falling as I write the number “19”. I may as well have written “Don’t call me back, i’m too busy partying to repay my mortgage!” Well, I submitted a few more on Friday to get them in for review over the weekend, proudly typing the big two-oh into the age box. And hey presto! We had our first appointment made the very next day!

Another teenage trait I was supposed to grow out of - Dying my hair. This was the second last colouring, it took so long it deserved a photo.

Con: I can no longer play the teenager card. Why is your hair so many colours? Why so many piercings? Why so many high heeled shoes? Why so many Voks in your alcohol cupboard? The answer to all of these was previously quite simple – Well, what do you expect – I’m a teenager. Controversy is what I do best. But I find myself no longer able to use this excuse, now that I have reached the ripe old age of twenty. I am going to have to think up a better excuse than that I am just a little bit odd… any ideas?

Pro: I am no longer a teenage mama.Even though the actual age of my jump into parenting is unchanged, I suddenly sound much more respectable being a mum “in her twenties” than in her teens. Felix’s father is also happy about this change in social standing – He no longer sounds like a child molester, previously the 8 year age gap was too much to handle when it crossed from 18 to 26, but now at us being 20 and 27 (his birthday isn’t for a few more months) people don’t bat an eyelid.

A benefit of being a young mum - dressing up at Halloween with your child! I was a cat, Felix was a spider.

Con: I am no longer a teenage mama. This falls into the “con that should be a pro” category. But there is something comforting about being a teenage parent. Yes, you are judged near and far for being so scandalous to have had pre-marital sex, even in a 4-year relationship, but it also opens a whole world inaccessable to a standard parent. I’ve made some of my closest friends through my controversial parenthood – I met my best friend through a group with a maximum parent age of 25, and I’ve worked hard to gain respect from my older peers despite my age. Now that I’ve swapped decades, I’ve lost the credit for all that hard work, and I have been thrown into the world of average age parents, many of whom have had life experiances I am yet to have, such as beginning a career. I’m out of my comfort zone.

My "post-teenager" card from Felix's father.... Hmm -.-

I could go on and on, the list is a long one – not the least of which is the very many old jokes I gained from family members on my birthday. Including this “post-teenager” birthday card from Felix’s father (Hah hah -.-) and the shock my mother seemed to be dealing with that she now has a daughter in her twenties AND is a grandma, the epitomy of elderly symptoms it seems. But I think i’ll leave it with four.

Age is simply a measure of time… Isn’t it curious how much society bases on a simple digit upgrade?

The End of an Era!


Well, we have officially entered our last fortnight in our house.

Felix's pre-natal Father's Day gift

The first house me and my baby’s father lived in, the house I spent my pregnancy in, the house I went into labour in and the house I bought my son home in. There’s a lot of memories tucked into these old, dusty, run down walls.

Of course, this house has also had the longest record of complaints i’ve ever made to a landlord… be it broken taps, a gas leak, a roof falling in, or the excessive water bill (to name but a few) it’s sure showing it’s 60-odd years of existance! And still, i’m finding it hard to say goodbye to this place. It’s served us well, being cheap, with a big garden and no pet restrictions, the perfect spot.

We’ve began packing, and with it has come the biggest shot of nostalgia i’ve had since giving birth. Packing away my most treasured baby-Felix toys meant making the heartbreaking decision to either chuck it or keep it for a future child… A decision I was certainly not prepared for! Each flannelette had me thinking of his first bath, each toy of the reason it was gifted, each chewed up book of the first page he turned.

Felix covered in lipstick-kisses after my first modelling shoot as a Mama

I’m an utter sop when it comes to memories. I know and accept this.

The curious thing I have found about parenting is, men do not seem to have such strong attachments to baby memories as women. Be it his first crawl, first tooth, first birthday, his father has never seemed as mind-boggled as me. Why is this? Sure, in the first month I found myself distinctively more in tune with my baby than his father, as would be expected for someone who has spent 9 months washing in a bath of super-charged hormones. But surely by the age of 16 months this initial hormone boost would have worn off?

However, time and time again I find myself being ridiculed for my unneccesary attachment to the little peg that cut his umbilical cord, and teased for my inability to watch a birth scene on TV without welling up some tears.

I plan to look into this. Is this distanced approach an all-men thing? Are parents equally emotionally connection to their children? Leave some thoughts below 🙂