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Saturday, August 16, 2008

An abusive relationship?

Although I am not a big fan of Big Brother, there are others in my household who are. As such I have spent a number of evenings each week working on my laptop with the programme on in the background. Inevitably, some of the more dramatic moments have grabbed my attention and, I have to say, I am truly appalled.

Let me be clear, I am not appalled by the programme, its concept or its production values. My disgust lies with the behaviour of some of the contestants and in particular, Rex. Channel Four quite rightly felt it necessary to act when Shilpa Shetty was subjected to allegedly racist behaviour. Why do they not intervene to prevent viewers having to watch the abusive way that Rex treats his girlfriend?

I have watched him bully her, belittle her, undermine her confidence, put her down in front of others, use her as a shield in the inter-house politics and talk about her both directly and behind her back as if she were his possession.

Apparently, some on the Big Brother forums believe that this is just his dry humour. In my mind it is straightforward abuse and Channel Four should not allow it to go unpunished nor should they let viewers believe that this is an acceptable way to treat a partner in any relationship.
I am very pleased to say I do not have a clue what this post is about
I think there is a wider picture here!

I don't watch BB for the same reason I don't watch Eastenders, because it's crap and it's done to provoke conflict. Always rowing in EastEnders always conflicts in BB, should conflict and arguments in the home/house be portrayed as the norm?

Domestic violence is on the rise, booze in it's various forms is a relatively cheap commodity, three litres of white cider for £2 works out at around 10 pence per alcohol unit, violence in our town centres has gone down, people aren't going out to Pubs, they are drinking in the home, hence domestic violence on the rise - you don't need the brains of an Archbishop to realise this!

Read something in this weeks Glamorgan Gazette, regarding the "sentence" that was handed down for someone who had staved a dog close to death very sickening; the amound of animal cruilty has increased according to the RSPCA, animal cruilty is linked with child abuse, and yet the sentence handed down by Bridgend Magistrates was absulutely pathetic - 120 hours unpaid work/12 month community order.

10 hours per month is what working people usually end up doing in unpaid overtime - what a sentence!

Have our magistrates got a clue!

G. Lewis
Bridgend Lib Dems
The only Big Brother I have seen was the over dramatic version shown on Dr. Who. I must say I was partial to the female robot - especially when it zapped a Dalek. In RL I guess Anne Robinson would zap any number of Daleks.
For goodness sake, this post is not about who watches and who does not watch Big Brother. It is clearly car-crash TV. I am writing about the irresponsibility of Channel Four in airing an abusive relationship without comment, sanction or balance.
You are right Peter - just that some of us don't watch Big Brother at all so haven't seen the awful behaviour/behavior that you describe. Y don't you stop watching BB?

The easiest way to deal with this is with one's fingers pressing the off button or the change channel button.
I think I made the point that I do not watch Big Brother but have it inflicted on me. The presence of an off-switch does not remove Channel Four's responsibilities in this matter. This is not a drama or a documentary. It is a reality TV show in which unacceptable behaviour is being aired without comment or rebuke. It seems that if it is racist or violent behaviour then (in some instances) Channel Four will step in but not when someone is behaving abusively to their partner on a regular and consistent basis. That is irresponsible in my view.
Yes, sorry Peter, I forgot that you have it on in the background - one obvious solution comes to mind, take the lap-top into another room and gently close the door!
I can't believe so many are having trouble understanding what's being said? Well, I hope so, otherwise their responses amount to a disturbing "well if you don't like watching a man bully his girlfriend on national TV, then don't watch it".

Peter, even though I do not choose to watch the program (for the reason that it is as you so aptly call "car crash TV") and as such haven't seen the behaviour that you are referring to, I, and hopefully the sensible majority will agree that it is wholly unacceptable and a damning indictment of both Channel 4 and Ofcom.
Maybe we should all declare ourselves sober politically correct agnostic socially caring internationalists who only eat "Fair Trade" food that's not been flown to our corner shop and that we have reduced our Carbon Footprints by taking camping holidays in the neighbour's garden and we are installing a Wind Turbine next to the solar panel on our insulated roof and we read heavy newspapers instead of watching soap series on TV and believe in a Free Tibet (but do not speak to our next door neighbours). Must stop now - I'm going to watch "Pobl y Cwm" on S4C TV
If you think that only the politically correct to oppose domestic abuse then I feel sorry for you. It is a very real issue for many people and not made any easier by it being mainstreamed as acceptable behaviour on a major TV channel.
Interesting comment there by "Green Man". Of course by "interesting" I mean, "totally bewildering".

It seems abusing one's partner in such a manner is actually a trivial matter that is being blown out of all proportion? So what if someone is behaving so appallingly towards their partner on national TV, without restriction or condemnation? So what if a few impressionable youngsters are getting the wrong impression of domestic abuse? So what if some of them are learning that that is something to laugh at, entertaining even?

Yep, I can see now that will all those considerations, it's painfully obvious that there is nothing to this story at all, and Peter is blowing this out of all proportion eh?

Shame on you Peter, for seeing to blog about such a trivial, and I dare say, publicly entertaining issue?

I dispair, I really do :( Although perhaps your more to be pitied than scolded.
Perhaps if anonymous was a victim of domestic abuse then he/she would take a different view to this matter; as regards someone post this blog coming up with the argument that it's censorship, the banning of Ms Wagstaff from facebook is censorship (by Plaid & Labour) this is preventing criminal activity (spouse bashing is criminal activity) - remember tough on crime tough on the causes of crime.

G Lewis
Bridgend Lib Dems
G Lewis,

I feel you have missed the sarcasm in my previous post. My post was directed at "green man" and his bewildering stance, and not at berating Peter for his perfectly valid opinion on this.

Suffice it to say, I agree with both you and Peter on this ;)

She can simply leave him. As she doesn't I assume she gets something out of the relationship or perhaps she doesn't feel as abused as you claim she is. Either way, it's her choice.

People watch them. They could turn over or turn off. That's their choice.

Most of us don't form our views on the best way to interact with our SOs by taking a cue from the participants in Big Brother.
Sorry - sarcasm is lost on me; although I'm good at dishing it out.

G Lewis (doh!)
Its lazy TV, better off reading a book or watching a snail gradually climb up a brick wall, or watching an ant crawl around a patio slab, exhilarating stuff compared to watching these people on the TV..
like soap operas reality TV can glorify arguments and trivia ...
I can offer therapy to soapheads who watch too much soap opera, i could probably extend this to reality TV also
Channel 4 tolerates it because they don't give a damn. Its entertainment and it attracts viewers like the Roman coloseum attracted audiences to witness gratuaous acts of violence. to misquote Bill Clinton its society stupid! thats what has to change, shows like BB just show how low we can get.
Of course if its domestic abuse? call the police!
I thought Green Man's comment was the most shocking one possible, but then I read David's.

"She could just leave him" is the most pernicious statement one can possibly make of someone in an abusive relationship. Abusive relationships don't just start with full scale beatings. They start with belittling, isolating and making the abused partner utterly dependent on the abuser, and THEN when the abused partner has nowhere left to turn and no-one to help her, the full-scale beatings start.

If abused people "could just leave" then nobody would ever stay in an abusive relationship, and blaming the victim makes it harder, not easier.
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