Ivan’s Behaviour On ‘Bachelor In Paradise’ Isn’t Spicy Drama, It’s Abuse

Bachelor In Paradise is obviously entirely about spicy plotlines. The drama of the show thrives on makeups and breakups the stars go through, and most of the time it’s all short-lived heartache and quick romances. There’s jealousy that fuels many of the interactions as couples break up and new people show interest. But there’s a line when it comes to jealous behaviour, and Paradise member Ivan has absolutely, unequivocally crossed it.

Ivan and Tenille had a great date last week, which led to them hanging out a lot in their down time. Ivan appeared to fall hard for her, sticking with her like glue in a way that was alarming, but not necessarily concerning. That is, until other guys on the island started to express their own interest in Tenille.

Ivan snapped at Jules when he told him of his interest in getting to know Tenille more. Then, he point blank intimidated Nathan into not choosing Tenille for a date. Even Tenille acknowledged it was Ivan’s behaviour that led to the decision, saying  “Ivan’s blocked me form a potential date with Nathan.”

However it was when he started speaking about his feelings toward Tenille that the extent of his controlling behaviour could be seen. When Jules took her aside for a chat, Ivan said “Jules. What the hell are you doing? Tenille’s mine. She’s my girlfriend. Fucking snake.” Multiple times last week he made references to her being “his”, even at one point saying she was his “territory”. Even Bachelor In Paradise host Osher Gunsberg called out the behaviour on Twitter.

Tonight, his abusive behaviour intensified. Multiple times he flew into a jealous rage over Tenille, both to producers in to-camera pieces and to Nathan, who has sparked up a new romance with Tenille. Then he took Tenille aside to tell her he felt she’d stolen his friends from him, and he wanted her not to spend time with Bill, Alex and Nathan.

Tenille thankfully wasn’t having this, and it was fantastic to see her recognise that he was being controlling.

But what we need to remember here is that Ivan’s controlling behaviour isn’t funny. It’s not just entertaining drama from a reality TV show. It’s abuse.

1800-RESPECT lists Ivan’s exhibited behaviour as Social Abuse.

Social abuse is behaviour that aims to cut you off from your family, friends, or community. It can also involve a person or people trying to damage your relationships with others. People who are socially abusive may also attempt to make you look bad or ruin your reputation. Social abuse can include things done in the home, in public, over the phone, or on the internet and social media.

There may be a pattern to the behaviour that happens again and again. Sometimes other types of abuse are going on at the same time. If this kind of abuse is being used to scare and control you it may be domestic or family violence

White Ribbon has an entire section on controlling relationships, listing behaviour like isolating the person from family and friends and telling the person where she can go/who she can spend time with as signs of an abusive relationship.

It is vital that we recognise that this behaviour isn’t just scary, or concerning – it’s downright abusive. Why? Because 1 in 4 Australian women has experienced emotional abuse from a current or former partner. This is a horrific statistic we as women are working hard to change. So we must be vigilant in recognising and pointing out abusive behaviour, because it’s not always obvious. It’s not always violence. It can be through words and non-violent actions that control and intimidate. Then there’s the fact that statistically, emotional and psychological abuse often precede physical abuse. And with one woman per week on average being murdered by her current or former partner, we absolutely have to recognise that someone telling a woman out of jealousy that she can’t speak to other men feeds into this epidemic.

Controlling behaviour cannot be treated with the attitude of “that guy’s just jealous”. It’s beyond that. Jealousy is a feeling, but the actions someone takes are a choice. And while it’s natural to make mistakes, Ivan’s repeated attempts to control Tenille’s behaviour and block her opportunities to meet new men needs to be held to account.

Ivan has since apologised for his behaviour, in what seems like a quite sincere Instagram Story.

It’s important to give them the opportunity to realise their failings and to change their behaviour and attitude, I believe, so I hope Ivan has realised just how abusive he was on Paradise.

But this is bigger than simply whether he himself changes. It’s also about how we respond to seeing it. Ivan’s behaviour should not be waived away as jealousy, or looked at as snackable reality TV entertainment. It is abuse, and the more we call out abuse, the less acceptable the innocuous behaviour becomes.

If you are being abused, or know someone who is, please call 1800RESPECT. If you are in immediate danger, call 000.