Thursday, August 20, 2009

When an AVO is just a tactic in a lovers'quarrel

Is this Family Court Ideology starting to permeate society ? How will this effect society ? Does this materialise in independence - independent thinking ? independent actions ?

by Lisa Davies

19 AUG 06:00AM

Her voice was clear, eloquent and well-mannered. “I’d like to have the AVO cancelled, please,” she told the clerk confidently.

They see a lot, staff of local court registries and maybe this was nothing new. Curious, I turned to see who was speaking, not entirely sure of what I expected to see. Noting an appearance to match the voice - blonde, well-groomed and aged in her early-to-mid 20s - the young woman went on.

“You see, I was really drunk the other night, and I said a lot of things I didn’t mean.”

Ah. That pesky AVO. It was Tuesday morning, so obviously she was referring to some wild events of the most recent weekend.

But then the clanger.

“Basically, most of what I told the cops was made up. It never happened, I was just mad and I just want this all to go away. My boyfriend….”

As she prattled on with only a hint of embarrassment to a registry clerk who looked about as immune to her naive charms as a bullet proof vest, I began to seethe.

I have absolutely no idea why this young woman - let’s call her Blondie - had fought with her boyfriend. Lord knows, maybe he deserved a right bollocking, the wrath of a woman scorned and then some. But what did it say about her - Blondie - that she had to pull out the “victim” card?

There is, of course, a slim possibility that she had actually been the victim of a serious assault and her need for the AVO justified.

But there was something about this situation that seemed falsified; it smacked - and I hate to say it - of a poor little rich girl who went too far in the drunken heat of a big night out and used a vital tool for protecting domestic violence victims to punish her man for some bad behaviour. Call it a hunch - or perhaps it was this next exchange gave it away.

Blondie was told it wasn’t that simple, and while she was the “protected person” by an interim AVO, it had been taken out by the police on her behalf.

Accordingly, it needed to go before a magistrate in order for he or she to determine the real cause of Blondie’s desire to have the inconvenient thing “cancelled.”

“But that’s ridiculous,” she said dismissively.

“I don’t want it anymore. I’m not afraid of him, he’s my boyfriend and I was just drunk and upset.”

It’s a pretty big step to go for an AVO against someone, and those who get them usually need them. That’s what they are for.

Sadly, there are those who argue plenty of reasons (and tragic examples) exist to indicate they’re not worth the paper they’re printed on.

But what infuriated me most about Blondie’s little exchange with the poor over-worked clerk was not what she was asking for, rather that she had played the victim card for extra point scoring power with her boyfriend in the first place.

So what, they’d had a fight. But to call in the big guns, wasting police officer’s valuable time and now the court’s, was juvenile in the extreme - not to mention selfish, pathetic and downright stupid. Blondie is not alone, and this five minute exchange highlighted just how driven society seems to have become by a victim culture - to our gross detriment.

Almost every day we hear dreadful, scary and unenviable stories of women - and men too - being subjected to a raft of abusive behaviour. So why do so many seem to be clamouring to join their ranks, even on a largely superficial level?

Real victims endure deep and unyielding emotional and physical torture, destroying countless other relationships and often their lives in the process.

Those people - and many of us know at least one - deserve our absolute support and the best resources our governments can buy to ensure their safety.

There is a case going through the NSW courts that is yet another example.

A middle-aged woman - let’s call her April - was undeniably the victim of a violent attack by her partner, to the point that she was bashed and almost strangled to death in terrifying circumstances. He has pleaded guilty and is due to be sentenced soon.

But this woman has made life extremely difficult for anyone who touches her case, formally complaining about everything and everyone, insisting she knows best about everything from her mental state to the law which applies, and staunchly trying to influence the judicial process.

Clearly, she feels aggrieved but to what end? It’s as though her life is incomplete without being forever identified as the victim. So is it not time she put aside an awful and painful event and stop inflicting continuing pain on others - and as importantly, herself?

Today’s society has applaudingly embraced victim’s rights, and it is an important keystone in legal and social development.

But we must rail against an alarming trend of victimisation becoming the new black - black alright, but not in a good way.

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