April 17, 2014

When it Comes to Domestic Violence, Our Word Choice Matters. {Video}


Domestic violence.

It’s undeniable that it exists in society, but the stigma surrounding it and the emotional turmoils often felt by victims and perpetrators means that it’s often swept under the carpet.

We think it’s okay to hide it away, thinking that someone else, somewhere else, will fix it or make people change.

But what contributes to this attitude?

Why is domestic violence something that is so easy to think is someone else’s problem?

Despite vast movement forward in helping people become educated about what is okay and what is not acceptable behaviour in intimate relationships, there are still aspects of our culture that accepts it is something that’s unavoidable. Domestic violence can be elusive, for both parties in an intimate relationship. Leslie Morgan Steiner explores some of these issues in her great TED talk ‘Why domestic violence victims don’t leave.’

If we really want to make change, we need to stop and think about how the acceptance of domestic violence as a norm is sustained in society.

Everyday words, everyday phrases—we don’t often pay attention to how our language unconsciously condones the normalization of issues such as domestic violence. The same goes for LGBTQI issues, as was recently sung about in Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s song ‘Same Love.’

This well composed and touching piece of performance poetry by Jeremy Loveday gives an immediate insight into the way our everyday words do this from a man’s perspective, and gives hope that positive change is real and happening:

What was she wearing?

Was she walking alone?

She shouldn’t have drunk so much.

She should have been more careful.


She shouldn’t have – 

She should have – 



Like it was her fault.

Like gender violence isn’t  a man’s issue.

Like men can’t help themselves.


Like the responsibility for one’s own actions doesn’t fall on one’s own shoulders.


See the entire piece ‘Masks Off: A Challenge to Men’ here:


Love elephant and want to go steady?

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Apprentice Editor: Brandie Smith/Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: 37205795@N03/Flickr

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