When I was a young man, still at home, my Father taught me something that I have never forgotten, and have lived by throughout my life. He said to me, “there are no circumstances, absolutely no circumstances, when it is right for a man to raise his hand to a woman.” My Dad not only said this, he lived it. He hated seeing his mother being beaten, sometimes to a pulp. He broke the cycle by getting away from it. Eventually he ended up in the NZ Army and committed to himself that he would never subject any woman to the treatment his mother received in her life.
Households get pretty tense at times, we all know that, but I never saw domestic violence in my house growing up, and to date there has never been any hint of domestic violence in my home.
In my house I’ve communicated it a little differently because Michele and I have two beautiful daughters. I tell them what my Dad told and taught me, and I would say to my girls that what this means for them is that there are no circumstances, absolutely no circumstances that you should accept a man raising their hand to you. This is not normal behaviour, no matter how much they say they love you. Get out of the situation and don’t be lured back. This has obviously been written on their hearts because it comes up from time to time in conversation. They tell the story as well as I do now.
This brings me to the grizzly topic of 50 Shades of Grey!
When the book hit the bookstands and early reviews revealed that it sadistically promoted violence against women I stayed clear of it. Well, the movie is now out and I imagine, sadly, many people will go and watch it. But I won’t be! Even if the reviews are only half true, that’s still plenty for me to know that this is not a movie I want to see.
I read and watched a couple of reviews today about the movie and nothing has suggested that any good can come from this movie. Check out these couple of links…
These reviews remind me again of my Dad’s advice. So my advice is stay clear of this movie. Don’t even give in to curiosity. Doing that only lines the pockets of the people who think this is a good thing to do… write this kind of book, or make this kind of movie. I will be staying clear of the movie as much as I have the book… join me.
Will someone please write the book “1 Ray of Sunshine”, about the reality of violence against women, their stories, and the struggle for them to recover. Some battered women never get to see “1 Ray of Sunshine” because of sadistic predator’s like the Christian Grey’s of this world. But you and I can be 1 small ray of sunshine. Let me show you how.
Let’s take the money we would have spent on the movie ticket price (say $20) and the cost of the book (say $25) and give it to a cause that helps women who are subjected to this kind of violence. That’s $45. Surely that’s affordable, particularly if you were going to buy roses or chocolates and dinner for Valentines Day! $45 is an affordable Valentines gift! And it’s a better gift!
Here’s a challenge for Men—and for Women too!
How about, this Valentine’s weekend, you donate to one of these causes and then post a picture of your donation receipt, or thank you webpage, with a message to your loved one saying that you love her and commit (or re-commit) to never condoning violence (sexual or otherwise) to her and your family as your Valentines gift this year.
I’ve sent my $45 to Iosis (http://www.iosis.org.nz/support-us/donate/) because they not only support women subjected to violence, they also help whole families through these traumatic events. When you donate to them you can specifically comment where the donation is to go… here is my message on their donation page…
“To help women and families subjected to domestic violence. This is my Valentines gift to my wife! #1RayOfSunshine”
Notice the hash tag sign off! Lets do it… lets make a commitment and then lets publicly act on this… TODAY!
Your families deserve to know where you stand on this issue! They really do! Going to the movie tells them something. Will you be happy with the message you are sending them if you go and watch it?
If you or someone you know needs help here are some numbers to call in New Zealand:
Womens Refuge: 0800 REFUGE (0800 733 843)
Victim Support: 0800 VICTIM (0800 842 846)
Iosis Confidential Referral: 09 269 0050
For my International friends please find your local numbers and post them if you choose to share this article with others.
I dedicate this article to the memory of:
My Dad (1937-1998) – Truby Te Tauroa Mihaere, a man of conviction who lived that conviction out and left a legacy for his children to carry on.
My Grandmother (1913-1998) – Kahuirangi Mihaere, who endured the trauma of domestic violence, a beautiful gentle soul who penetrated my heart without saying a word.
Images of my donation to Iosis! 12 February 2015.