They say every house has its cross to bear. That might be true, especially with the subject domestic violence. One of the major problems in society world-wide. It doesn’t only happen in Middle Eastern countries or the Soviet Union or every other country outside of Europe. We do have this in Europe as well. Some people might dish it as ‘nothing compared to’ what happens in their country. Can you really put a tag on domestic violence and give it a grade? It is what it is. And in my opinion it’s a crime no matter in what volume, shape or form.
Most European countries have given women more rights by law, in comparison to certain other countries. True. Does it mean we get treated better by our husbands and boyfriends? Not necessarily. One of three calls to the police in the Netherlands, where I live, is about domestic violence. That should tell you something. Keep in mind though that a lot of women do not even bother to call it in for several reasons.
We might have the law more on our side, but does it mean we always get justice? No.
It’s still a men’s world here as well. We call it a democracy. We give women a place in society. We give them rights, but still inequality has its roots embedded in our society. One example: men in the same profession and work field as women earn more than the women. If you would say something about that, they probably would tell you that their job, their position, their function, their tasks, even when it’s called the same as that of a particular woman in that company, somehow involve higher effort and more responsibilities. Therefore, it would be justified to give them higher salaries. And how can we as women prove that isn’t really true?
Back to domestic violence
At least, it’s very unlikely we will get hit or beaten in the work place. However, what can go on behind our front doors, between our four walls is quite a different story. Do we get more help from society now than we got in, for example, the ’90s? Sure. Things have improved on that front. It’s no longer just a matter between the man and the woman if the police get a call. Mind you, as a reader, you have to realise the ’90s aren’t that long ago. Projects in this matter only started after 2000. A law for giving someone a temporarily house ban, after that person committed an act of domestic violence only took effect on october 9, 2008.
That’s sad, basically. That it took our country that long to come up with governmental help in this matter. Before that, when someone called the police because next door a woman was screaming her lungs out, police mostly came because of the disturbance. Hindrance. If you weren’t beaten half to death and didn’t end up in the hospital, it was more than likely nothing would come of it. Even if you pressed charges. And still it is the most voluminous format of violence in the Netherlands today.
More to domestic violence than meets the eye
While there is so much more to domestic violence than getting a beating occasionally or on a daily basis. It’s also the destruction of someone’s personality, self-worth and whole being. The physical scars will mostly heal. The psychological scars won’t. If you were ever the victim of domestic violence, you will remember that the rest of your life. If you think back to the events, no matter how long ago, it still hurts. It changes a person. Some day you might realise that the person you once were is no longer existing. You might think: where is she? Well, she’s dead. Killed by domestic violence. And that is the least of what can happen to a person in this matter. Also in our society it’s fairly common that women literally die. If you would google on the subject in Dutch newspapers, you will end up with a lot of articles.
The one thing that doesn’t get killed is domestic violence itself. That’s very much alive. And that isn’t nothing compared to whatever country. That’s something! Something very bad, called a true crime.