Keeping your nose out of your neighbours business seems to have been a part of the basis on which Boris Johnsons’ neighbour should not have recorded the altercation at Boris Johnsons (Possibly the UK’s next Prime Ministers) current place of residence. The other part of the argument was that recording such an event was a breach of privacy. In an age where we are monitored by so many different surveillance methods, on our streets, in our homes and even our cars, the need for filmed protection has become common place.
When it’s a case of protecting ones home, car or possessions, I am sure the defenders of Johnson will take no issue. However, when such tactics are used to prove violence within the home, some members of the public seem to think this is a step too far.
This week alone, we have been shown two examples of men in positions of trust and power use violence against women. There was a divide of opinions within the public. What was more unsettling than just observing these events, was the reaction from a vast majority of men and sadly a few women.
Defending such actions could be suggested to be a slippery slope into normalisation of such behaviour, whether this was because they were high profile men or just a deep rooted set of misogynistic values are definitely grounds for debate. We need to keep in mind that until the early 90s it was still legal to rape your wife. Domestic violence was seen as a private matter, a “domestic” that even the police should not interfere with. Luckily we have moved on with better training for police forces, new stalking laws and a general shift in public opinion that violence against any gender is wrong.
That debate needs to be had but my own moral compass was drawn to how many people were against a neighbour or indeed anyone recording and reporting domestic violence. Jokes were made about MP, and F.O. Minister Mark Fields attack on a peaceful Greenpeace protester over the weekend, “My wife likes this” and “looks like a massage to me” were just a few comments I saw. For me the most terrifying was the argument that we wanted equality, so what was the problem?
Women, and indeed some men too, have campaigned for years to bring us working rights, rights over our own bodies and the right not to be beaten in our homes. How Boris could use this in any form of argument about powerful men assaulting women can only be seen a desperate attempt to hide the clear evidence that some “Men of Power” are still entrenched in patriarchal views and happy to take these views home with them
This week I have been reminded of a lady who I was friends with in my early 20s, I’ll just refer to her as my friend, she was a tiny woman of small build, she was fun and carefree and the mother of two children.
In June of 2018 my friend was killed in her home on a sunny afternoon. Her young child was a witness to her murder. She was killed in the most brutal way imaginable and her death left the community, her friends, and more importantly her family, devastated.
What is concerning is her death isn’t out of the ordinary, on average two women a week die at the hands of their partner or ex partner. It is so common place that we often don’t hear about these cases unless policy changes occur after an event. This is true on cases such as Claire Wood, who was killed by her ex partner in 2009, resulting in the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme also known as Claires law. This enables women to check if partners are known to the criminal justice system as abusers.
My friends death did get a lot of media attention but I would suggest this was more to do with the fact her child was present than what had actually taken place .
What was essential in the trial of my friends murderer was that in her final moments she was able to dial 999. She was unable to talk but her murder was captured within a recording. That recording became the centre of the trial against her killer.
As a society I suppose we are taught that we should give our neighbours privacy and not be a “nosey neighbour” and in some communities even condemned as “snitching or grassing “. Nobody heard my friend being killed, perhaps because it happened to quickly and in such a brutal manner, but it leaves the idea that if someone had heard and called for help would this lady still be here for her family? Moreover, if my friend had not managed to make that recording, would her killer have been found guilty and sentenced to prison for the maximum time limit?
Of course this is all ifs and buts, however if anything good were to come from this, it is that the message should be loud and clear. If you hear, see or even suspect domestic violence, call for help. If you can record any evidence, DO IT. You could not only save a life, but gather evidence needed so that perpetrators of domestic violence can be stopped.
A note from our Chief Editor
Thanks very much for this Lana.
Three years ago a young colleague of my wife was assaulted by her boyfriend and stabbed so many times the examiner found it hard to get an accurate number, his best guess of 100 times had to be enough. She was a single mother and a vibrant and caring human being (my wife works in a hospital) and left a son who had witnessed the whole thing at a very early age and will undoubtedly be troubled for life by the event. There was a lot of noise but nobody “wanted to get involved”.
Thankfully help was made available to the partner of Boris Johnson and it really doesn’t matter if she needed it, or not…it was there. Johnson may well become PM of the UK we are told, but frankly anyone who votes to put him in that position needs to have a good long look at themselves, for this incident if not for the many other transgressions he feels he needs to perpetrate to maintain is Bullingdon Club image of himself.
Eton College has a lot to answer for.