Up Front by Emma Hart

28

What Sorry Looks Like

I feel like I’ve been swimming in a sea of Domestic Violence the last couple of days, since that terrible Tony Veitch piece came out. I’ve seen so many people – lefties, women, feminists – saying, well, he’s sorry, and it was just that one time, and what more do you want really? Even someone who felt it appropriate to say we shouldn’t kick Veitch when he’s down.

Think about that for a moment. We shouldn’t kick people when they’re down. Someone you couldn’t pay me to link to thought it was okay to publicly say that, in this case.

So let me tell you what ‘sorry’ looks like, when it comes to domestic violence. I’ll be drawing heavily on the writing of Lundy Bancroft, an expert who specialises in male violence against female partners, specifically. In his book, Why Does He Do That?, he talks about what the men he counsels need to do to change.

-          He has to admit, and admit fully his responsibility

-          He has to admit he did it on purpose

-          He has to acknowledge that what he did was wrong

-          He has to truly acknowledge the effects of his actions

-          He has to accept consequences of his actions

-          He has to devote long-term and serious effort toward setting right what he has done

-          He has to lay aside demands for forgiveness

-          He has to treat his family and everyone else consistently well from that point forward

-          He has to relinquish his negative views

-          Admit fully his history of psychological, sexual and physical abusiveness toward any current or past partners whom he has abused.

-          Acknowledge that the abuse was wrong, unconditionally.

-          Acknowledge that his behaviour was a choice, not a loss of control.

-          Recognize the effects his abuse has had on his partner and children and show empathy for those.

-          Identify in detail his pattern of controlling behaviours and entitled attitudes.

-          Develop respectful behaviors and attitudes to replace the abusive ones he is stopping.

-          Make amends for the damage he has done.

-          Re-evaluate his distorted image, replacing it with a more positive and empathic view.

-          Accept that overcoming abusiveness is likely to be a lifelong process.

-          Be willing to accountable for his actions, both past and future.

What would I need to see? This. Some of this. Any of this.

Unreformed abusers, even when their abuse is witnessed, physical, undeniable, will try to minimise their behaviour, by omitting incidents, playing down the severity and the impact on victims, and shifting blame onto their partner. There were faults on both sides. The relationship was dysfunctional, in some kind of passive-voice nightmare in which they were just gosh-darned helpless.

Veitch is still lying. It’s appalling that a national newspaper chose to give him a platform to do so. 

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