On ABC‘s 7:30 tonight, they presented a side to conversations about domestic violence that might not usually be considered.
The common stance towards domestic violence is very black or white – most believe perpetrators of domestic violence are bad people, and will almost certainly continue their pattern of abuse if they are allowed back into society. ‘A leopard never changes its spots.’ Which is an understandable view – disgusting actions deserve consequences of equal magnitude.
But on 7:30, Leigh Sales presented a view that there may be perpetrators who desperately want to change their ways, and don’t want to offend again – which may not be widely celebrated or accepted, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
In Perth a program called ‘Breathing Space‘ exists: it houses offenders of domestic violence, rather than removing the victim of the crime from their home.
Steve (pictured above), who admits to giving his wife a black eye, has completed one week of ‘Breathing Space’. He says he’s disgusted in himself:
“My dad never raised a hand to my mum and we were raised better than that. But coming out of jail, I got out with the mentality that if you’re treated like an animal for long enough, it’s ok to behave like one when really it’s not, there’s no excuse, you can’t do that to people.”
He’s a heavy drug user, and he’s confident that the program will help him stop using, and stop his aggression:
“[It will] help me abstain from using, to help me with coping with what I’ve done and emotionally possibly getting past that and having better relationships in the future.
And just being a better dad so my kids don’t think being violent or emotionally abusive is ok because I know it’s not.”
All of the men featured in the program spoke of their ardent commitment to changing, and the program has the backing of former Australian of the Year and domestic violence activist, Rosie Batty.
If you’d like to watch the full episode of 7:30, you can here: www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2015/s4413208.htm