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|When an AVO is just a tactic in a lovers’ quarrel
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.
21 comments + Mark below
Eric says: 07:40am | 19/08/09
This sort of thing happens a lot more than many people like to think. It’s one of the ways our society discriminates against men—by empowering women to use false complaints as weapons.
AVOs and false claims of rape are more common than the media would like to pretend. The rape claim that destroyed Theo Theophanous’ career has received only a fraction of the coverage that has been given to NRL scandals or others where men can be portrayed as the bad guys.
It would be good to live in a society where both sexes were equal before the law. Unfortunately, men are second class citizens when it comes to the courts.
Eric says: 07:45am | 19/08/09
P.S. The real victim in this particular case is the boyfriend. If he was a living with Blondie, he would effectively have been evicted from his home with no notice and no opportunity to collect his things.
However, there seems little sympathy for the victim in this article. My advice to him would be to drop the woman straight away and never see her again. This was a form of domestic abuse. If she did it once, she’ll do it again.
Lexi says: 08:03am | 19/08/09
It’s drawing a low bow to say Blondie definitely used the “AVO” to “punish” her BF. Or that’s she is even slightly representative of any other women who have orders taken out on their behalf for their protection. This, from my previous experience sitting in the press box of local court is less common than you are making out. They are not called AVOs anymore, either – they are ADVOs – Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders.
Most common is the women who are in fear, who the police seek to protect with ADVOs. The women who then receive all the promises from their man that it will never happen again. The women who have suffered years of beling told that it was their fault – they “made” him do it; they “deserved” it.
These women have rock bottom self esteem and believe that the man who hurts them is also the only man who’ll love them. Often, these women mistakenly believe going back is what’s “best for the kids”.
They try to remove the ADVO in order to try to (often mistakenly) repair what’s left of their relationship, their family. They need more support in order to pursue a life without abuse – not stereotypes created to paint them as troublemakers and wanna-be victims.
eag says: 08:08am | 19/08/09
Hmm!!!So women are to blame here for taking desparate measures when things get out of control.No women whatever she does is to blame for violence directed at her.Not acceptable in any circumstances.We live in a society where women sometimes do play the victim to get heard,to get their problem recognised and to get help because they don’t know what else to do or how else to be.Yes, it ‘wastes’ busy clerks time if you look at it in this hard-nosed blaming way.Let she who casts the first stone etc….
Eric says: 08:23am | 19/08/09
eag—so you say “Blondie” was lying when she said she wasn’t really threatened? If she was lying then, why not when she requested the AVO?
Please try to learn something about domestic violence before displaying your sexism. Here’s a start: http://www.mediaradar.org/media_fact_sheet.php
Hopium says: 08:44am | 19/08/09
And to think, they wouldn’t give a PVO to protect my brother when he was being stalked and constantly threatened.
We ended up having to constantly protect him.
If it happened to a female, she would have had a PVO to protect her immediately.
RT says: 08:49am | 19/08/09
There was ‘only a slim possibility’ that she was a genuine victim, Lisa? And you could tell this by a overhearing to a few seconds of conversation from a complete stranger? Maybe the AVO was false but maybe it was real and she decided to withdraw it because of pressure from her man and her own insecurity. That happens, too. The point is that you have a view about AVOs but the using this flimsy evidence to support it doesn’t cut it.
Eric, you’re also being presumptuous in saying ‘the real victim is the boyfriend’. Unless you personally know this couple and intimate details about their relationship, you have no way at all of knowing who the real victim is. Instead, your own anti-feminist agenda gets another run here. Do you know the meaning of the words ‘balance’, ‘reserving judgement until the facts are known’ etc? I doubt it.
Kylie says: 08:55am | 19/08/09
Lisa, as you said yourself, you don’t know why they fought.. Then you’ve made further assumptions about the event based on “Blondie’s” appearance and also, you used the word victimisation in your final paragraph. Victimisation would be what you’ve just done to these ladies by persecuting them in the media. Clearly you haven’t researched your subjects.
As far as AVO’s go. She clearly felt she needed protection at the time and it would have been her perspective on the situation which mattered in issuing an AVO to begin with. At least she took the initiative to explain herself to the court (no matter how thin the explanation) and cancel it.
Writer sounds like she’s being a bit of a victim herself. Wait your turn in line and stop evesdropping on other people’s private matters.
Eric says: 09:11am | 19/08/09
RT, once again you indulge in the very behaviour you criticise.
Lisa was there, and saw “Blondie” admitting her fabrication. Yet your anti-male bias leads you to defend the false accuser, and accuse the real victim.
Methinks you are the one who needs to find some balance.
Simmo says: 09:11am | 19/08/09
My son is in grade 4 at school and his little girlfriend thinks it’s cute and fun to punch him in the arm all the time, the teachers say nothing to her about it as they expect a boy can cope with a girl punching him in the arm all the time.
However, if he was to even give her the littlest tap on the arm, he would be in the Principals office , suspended for a week and have to attend 6 months worth of anger management counselling.
Not agreeing or disagreeing with the views in the article but my example of what can happen to a 9 year old provides a bit of perspective on the massive gap in violence related issues between the genders….
Tim says: 09:13am | 19/08/09
Comments by RT and Eag above show part of the problem we have in society in regards to this issue.
The reason that some women can get away with using this tactic of playing the victim is because of society’s automatic assumption that women are less violent and meek compared with men who are always more violent and agressive. Objectivity of facts are rarely considered.
Women who claim AVO’s falsely ruin the system for the real victims who are being hurt
RT says: 09:22am | 19/08/09
It’s a little hard to explain things to you Eric, but I’ll try one last time. For your benefit, also, Tim: 1. maybe Blondie put in a false and malicious AVO and decided to withdraw it in a moment of sanity as Lisa concludes 2. maybe Blondie felt in genuine fear when she applied for the AVO and withdrew it under pressure from her man and/or because of her own insecurity about her relationship. I have concluded either is possible. You have concluded on the basis of flimsy evidence and your own prejudice that only one is possible. That’s the action of a bigot.
miles says: 09:25am | 19/08/09
real or not..isn’t it better that we take these things very seriously?
both to deter frivolous claims and give some small amount of power back to those very real victims of abuse..of either gender
Claire says: 09:36am | 19/08/09
Please do not trivialise domestic violence or the effect it has on women’s self esteem through under-researched opinion pieces.
In my personal experience it is not easy to get an AVO. At age 19, I repeatedly complained to the police about an ex-boyfriend of mine who had continued to stalk me 6 months after I ended the relationship. I finally got an AVO – after I ended up in hospital with facial injuries after being assaulted.
Luckily I have a strong support network, loving family an education and self-respect, so I pressed charges, followed through and went to trial seeking a conviction. However, many young women in my position simply do not have the self-esteem to do so. They believe irrationally that they ‘deserve it,’ and do not seek reparations.
Tim says: 09:49am | 19/08/09
that was my point.
However, do you see that kind of objectivity in the real world or in the media when women are often considered the victim without even hearing or examining any facts?
Each case should be treated as unique and examined on its merits, not prejudged by society’s bias.
Eric says: 09:52am | 19/08/09
RT, when even the complainant herself openly admits that she was lying, you still try to twist things back to suit your sexist world-view. You’re the one with an agenda that flies in the face of the evidence.
If the media paid as much attention to the tragic affects of false claims as it does to the tragic effects of real violence, you would see a very different picture from what has been fed to you.
RT says: 10:05am | 19/08/09
Again, Eric, I admit that there are two possibilities. You can only see one. The woman said that she’d been lying earlier, yes. Courts are littered with cases of people who recant earlier evidence and it is later established that the recantation is false and the original evidence is true. If you can’t see that where I’ll leave it there when it comes to debating you. Tim, there is often a lack of objectivity in the media and an inclination to push an agenda and make facts fit it. It happens on both sides of a discussion like this.
Zeta says: 10:12am | 19/08/09
Listen to you whingers. ‘Oh, it’s so hard being a male, women can take out AVOs on us and run away with our kids, oh woe is me’. And now these pounces are complaining that women are engaging in domestic violence too. Harden up. Being a man in the 21st Century is still awesome. I wake up every day and thank God for my Y chromosome. But with great power, comes great responsibility, and occassionaly, sacrifice.
One sacrifice, is admitting that women are always right. There is no point arguing. If a woman reckons you’re a sod deserving of an AVO, it’s time to pack your things, tell the officer ‘fair cop, I guess I am a bit of a bastard’ and move on. If a woman reckons you’re so much of a sod you deserve a slap in the chops, you need to turn the other cheek and say ‘thank you ma’am, may I have some more?’ And if you’re a genuine dog who beats up on a woman, then you’re deserving of a reasonable stint in a corrective services facilitiy where you’ll experience first hand what it’s like to be locked in a room with a bloke who knock saround people smaller than him.
In this case, Blondie’s boyfriend got lucky. She seems like a real keeper. But Lisa, you should remember that in New South Wales, our Police don’t even need the woman’s acquiessence to issue an interim 24 hour AVO. And a good thing too. This saves lives, and gets scum bags off the streets, freeing up more young women from their abusive partners so they can date kind, gentle, ultra conservative patriots like me.
Claire says: 10:16am | 19/08/09
Eric – it is true that people’s lives can be destroyed by false allegations – and this is terrible. But luckily we have a legal system which requires a burden of evidence before a conviction can be made.
And many men are also the victims of domestic violence – no-one is disputing this. But the sad truth (and statistical reality) is that women are victimised more, and with more serious consequences, and the amount of complaints seen and dealt with by the courts merely represent the tip of the ice-berg. You don’t need a feminist to tell you this – simply ask any police officer.
Dragnet says: 10:57am | 19/08/09
What if Blondie is lying now? She has been forced by her boyfriend to attend the court house and remove the application or risk suffering a worse fate. It happens.
Stella says: 11:25am | 19/08/09
I think this makes the malicious and ill-informed judgement that a well-groomed and well-spoken woman is unlikely to be a victim of domestic violence. I know better than that.
Is this Family Court Ideology starting to permeate society ?
How will this effect society ?
Does this materialise in independence – independent thinking ? independent actions ?
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