Chapter 3: The Bully

Page 5 of 9

Recently I was listening to ‘Gardeners Question Time’ and I heard this quoted:

“A wife, a dog and a walnut tree,
the more you beat them the better they be!”

As I stated at the beginning of this chapter, in Britain a violent partner kills a woman every three days (London Home Office 2007). The depressing thing for me is that, since I started the Freedom Programme in 1999, those statistics have not changed. Historically, most men who kill their female partners have been convicted of manslaughter instead of murder and, consequently, receive very short sentences. Abusive men have been receiving the message that it is easier to kill your wife than to divorce her, and you will probably get to keep the house.

Until recently the marriage ceremony instructed us to ‘love, honour and obey’. Women are ‘given away’ to their husbands by their fathers.

There are other cultural acceptances of bullying and violence. For example, culture and practice in the armed forces imply that it is desirable to use bullying as an acceptable way to train soldiers. I was listening to a radio programme about army conscription. A man recounted that he was conscripted when he was just eighteen and had left home for the first time. He spent the night in his billet and in the morning he laid his polished kit out on his bed for inspection. The sergeant looked at it, shouted abuse at him and then threw it all out of the window. That is an example of the use of intimidation, which is designed to break the spirit of the recruit so the subject will obey orders. Our Bully uses it to achieve the same effect on his female partner.

Many of us enjoy action movies where men use violence to get their own way and are treated like heroes because they do. Recently there has been a long-running soap opera where an abusive male character has been using all the tactics of the Dominator to control his female partner. The men on my programme tell me that when they watched this drama they saw the depiction of this man as an example of how a ‘real man’ should treat women.

Sports, such as boxing and wrestling, give credence to violent behaviour. It is also legal in Britain to use violence against our own children. We smack them.