Friday, June 17, 2016

A Malady called Domestic Abuse

The Orlando shooter Omar Mateen was a certified wife beater. While it is still being debated if homophobia or Islamic leanings was his primary motive behind carrying out the heinous carnage, his tendency towards domestic violence is certainly a precursor of the greater violence that he was capable of. However, like all good decent women do, his former wife chose to keep quite about it. That is till he opened fire in a nightclub killing 50 people.

Image courtesy : Getty Images

Remarkably, the incident comes at a time when Paralympian Oscar Pistorius is undergoing trial for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, who was ironically as campaigner against domestic abuse. He had been accused of violence by a former girlfriend and two weeks before the murder, Steenkamp had messaged the former saying that she was "scared" of him. His plea of 'culpable homicide' was changed to murder given his past record.

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But even as Pistorius pleads to living in mortal fear of intruders, and walks the courtroom on his stumps to reinforce his vulnerability, we need to rethink if domestic violence is only about physical violence. Does the perpetrator need to have a powerful physique do harm ? What about the psychological aspect of it ?

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Domestic violence is a sad truth. Most of us know a near and dear one who has been touched by it. While we often refuse to acknowledge that it happened in the first place and women are even taught to believe that it is the retribution for something which they did ( or did not do ), these two random and seemingly incidents highlight the dangers of domestic violence. While every wife-beater might not morph into a terrorist or a murderer, we need to be very afraid of these deceased minds.

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