I'm with the Quendi

The 6th Largest Army

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Black Friday Buggerations
So we were all herded down to SaferWales to watch the BBC 3 movie and "cautionary tale" about Domestic Violence "Murdered by My Boyfriend" to raise awareness.

Great. I am now aware. In fact, I am so bloody aware it could be my specialist subject on Mastermind or the subject of my imaginary PhD thesis. Most women are.

My question is, when can we move away from "Awareness Raising" and into "Doing Something the Fuck About It?" We've had since like, 1970.

This is not to say that it is in any way a bad film, it was very affecting, superbly acted and left everyone emotionally wrecked, just ready to be hauled back to the office for a heavy afternoon of business as usual (Thanks Management).

My beef is cautionary to whom? Why was the script something most women and Celebrimbor know by heart, Prince Charming shows up at a low point in your life, makes you feel as though you can walk on water, is the Lord of Gifts, but then becomes jealous, possessive and eventually terminally violent.

DV is the most common cause of brain injury in women aged between 21 - 45. And all the other horrible statistics. It is experienced mainly by women and perpetrated mainly by men, but apart from that its victims cannot be generalised. It affects women of all class, all religions (and none), all income brackets, the drunk and the sober, without regards to disability, neurological configuration, weight, size, attractiveness, all colours, all cultures, the cis and the trans, and all political leanings are represented. (And if we class putting someone under house-arrest as DV, and I do, it equally affects humanity's pointy eared cousins too. (Solidarity Aredhel))

And yet somehow this diverse spectrum of women was to be 'cautioned' against getting into this sort of relationship. Even though the film was at pains to go to the lengths the perpetrator went to conceal his true intentions and portray himself as the perfect partner, even though the film demonstrated the statistical truth that physical violence often begins when a woman becomes pregnant, and therefore deeply involved in the relationship. Women are to be cautioned. To exercise caution. To once again be the responsible party within a relationship, and carry the can for male behaviour.

People ask why women stay. Shame. Shame that it was you. Shame that you did not see the warnings (however oblique) Shame that you were conned. Shame that you are a victim.

Our whole society is so riddled with the narrative of power and control that even to use the word 'victim' is perceived as prejudicial, avoided, like it is contaminated, even though by its very definition it means you have done nothing wrong.

A victim is passive, weak, helpless, our society sneers as if their innocence invites the crimes against them. It is also a comforting lie because in truth anybody can be a victim, no matter how tough.

(Which is why I like Tolkien, he is unafraid to blow this myth to smithereens. Hurin can hew a mound of dead orcs around him and still be a victim of Morgoth. Maedhros can be a victim. Celebrimbor was a victim. Boromir can be a victim. Frodo can be a victim while still being the hero. Only the really bad guys are never victims - getting banished to the void or dissipating as a foul spirit are rather anti-climatic punishments. Being a victim is just something that happens in the course of evil being present in the world, it is not a statement of one's strength or moral fibre. World War One vet Tolkien never forgot where the glorification of victory at all costs leads.)

Until we see victims as everyone, we are perpetuating crime by believing its victims are somehow asking for it.

I would say that most women somehow know taking a lover is the act most likely to kill them, and yet for all this awareness, apart from becoming a hermit or a nun, there seems to be very little in themselves they can change.

What I want to ask is when are they going to do a 'cautionary tale' for perpetrators. I genuinely believe that no little boys dream is to grow up to batter his loved ones. When are they going to show a young man's descent into a rage fuelled, jealous, obsessive control freak who ends up on a manslaughter charge, through his eyes and in his own words.

Women in general have responded well to the challenge of domestic violence, we have named it for the crime it is, set up networks of counsellors and refuges, enacted laws, set up tasking groups and kept this hideous crime on the agenda. We really have done our bit. Now it is time for the men to shine.

They of course, don't want to. In my new job, I find DV perps the hardest to work with. Because they don't see the issue. They are not a despised victim; they come in and trot out the comforting well worn lines, as confident that they will be as well received by their Offender Manager as they were by their family and friends.

"I really shouldn't be in a place like this," they shiver delicately at having to share a waiting room with petty thieves and drug users, "I'm not a criminal *Warm Smile*"

They trot out their academic achievements, their financial security, their donations to charity and often "These were the people I thought of volunteering with!"

They point out how difficult their relationship was "I was more like her carer," "She has bipolar - flies off the handle," "She had been drinking and it frightened me." How their partner still calls, still texts, still tells him it was the best relationship she'd ever had. "All her other boyfriends used to beat her, she couldn't believe it when I came along."

"And then, you hit her too," I say, and they ask for a different offender manager, as I don't understand their issues, their PTSD, their depression.

"It was just one slap, just the once I lots control. It was more self-defence than anything."

They deny the police reports of call outs by neighbours "She got jealous and made a fuss," They accuse the victims of fabricating their injuries "She self-harms you know - headbutts doors. There wasn't a mark on her when I left. (In handcuffs)"

And they say all this, smoothly confident it will be accepted, because everyone else accepts it, everyone else hopes and prays that the words must be true: He is a nice kid. She provoked him. She must have done something really bad for him to act so out of character. She wasn't sufficiently cautioned by based-on-a-true story docudramas.

Subtext: She was weird, she was a victim. I'm not like that, so I won't be one.

The thing is, I do understand their depression, their PTSD, their ex-army lack of coping skills, but to deal with these issues they have to be put into the context of their lives, the symptoms, nightmares, anxiety, battering the crap out of the one they love the most. But very few men have the courage to tell that story.

One did. He 'fessed up, told all, about how a life in care homes and prison cells did not prepare one for equal relationships. How fighting for dominance became the norm. Before he left he said "You should put posters up all over this place -Don't treat your woman like your cell mate."

He was a brave man. He admitted to being a perpetrator. He did the courses, studied the Duluth Wheels, got counselling. He faced up to the guilt, and the shame of being a victim too, a victim of a terrifying fear of being abandoned, left, lost that came out through his fists. He is now slowly and painfully rebuilding a relationships with his adult children, hoping his honesty can help them heal the scars from what they witnessed.

Why won't the BBC tell his story? Why won't they acknowledge that DV is not a "womans issues" thing but a Man's Problem, and inside the head of a DV perp is truly a place of horror. It is the torment of craving something while doing everything you can to destroy it. It is like being a ring-wraith trapped inside a power that you never wanted, controlled by a rage that burns without relief.

Because men do have lousy childhoods, PTSD, depression, feelings of worthlessness and despair, they need to be armed against falling into this state, they need to know the warning signs that the poison is seeping in to the relationship they cherish.

They need to stop pretending everything is okay.

So I was pretty miserable as fuck for the rest of the day, and my stay-on pet virus was chewing at my nerve endings, so I was miserable and in pain. I'm trying not to take too much codeine, and certainly not at work (a drugged up OM is all my recovering addicts need,) so my neck felt like it was on fire.

Fortunately I had my faith in the XY config somewhat restored by coming across this article which I am convinced was written by Maeglin. It's from May this year, so it is kind of old, but it is adorable.

It is a neat deconstruction of the Hollywood/Sitcom myth that women exist as prizes to be won by the victor in a battle. The hero gets the girl. Yay!

Of course, as old formulas need to be spiced up, and a juicy twist on this is Nerd!Hero gets the girl. (Possibly very appealing as dorkery is common in directors, film critics and audiences.)

Unfortunately, women are not prizes in the great competition that is life. They are fighting their own quests and slaying their own dragons.

So the idea that "getting" a physically perfect young woman whom you have fixated on is the only mark of victory worth having, the new White Tree of Gondor, is a crappy one, but one relentlessly sold by the media. Maeglin must "get" Idril as a tangible sign of achievement, before he believes he has worth in the city.

Yeah, we know how that ended.

The article points out than rather than fixate on idolised beauty, Maeglin would be better of pairing up with someone he knows, who shares his interests and who likes him and he can talk too. It won't prove anything to anyone, it won't be a fairytale ending, but he will actually get to enjoy himself for once, he might even learn some new tricks and the sex will be much better. (There's a reason Fëanor and Nerdanel had seven kids.)

So I'm now off to cheer myself by writing Blacksmith smut. Folklore always painted Smiths as Lusty (see Childe ballad #44) so they should be at it like a hammer on an anvil.

Seriously, am I the only one who finds Blacksmiths hot? Stripped to the waist, soot-covered and banging red hot metal with powerful arms and leather gauntlets. Headcannon has all my smiths shirtless and smudged, even ladysmith Duriel. I can't see elves being hung up about boobies.

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Thought provoking. And passionate.

This might seem very shallow, but I have taken your remarks about the BBC to heart and I've copied this to my ideas folder, along with Arthur Chu's articles. If I can eventually think of an approach to this I will write it, not only because it should be written, but because as you say, it hasn't been and there are ideas here that should be expressed in public.

LJ stopped notifying me of replies somewhere in the dark ages, so sorry it took so long to get back.

I would completely support anyone who wanted to write this and I'm glad you don't just think I'm crazy. Other people have had a kind of meh who cares about perps kind of attitude. Which is understandable, but not especially helpful if we want less victims.

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