What do heterosexual ‘normal’ relationships and family structures look like?
Do they look like this?
Or do they look like this?
And are we allowed to talk about how one becomes the other, quite often, when the cameras stop rolling, the music stops playing and the doors are closed?
I remember waking up frightened next to my partner each morning.
I remember being screamed at for throwing away some spaghetti.
I remember that when I told some people what had happened to me, they looked embarrassed and didn’t want to talk to me.
I remember when I told other people what had happened to me, they looked grateful and sorrowful, for it had happened to them too, but they never told anyone.
I remember his barrister asking me about my history of ‘mental illness’ in front of a whole courtroom.
I remember being terrified of going home.
I remember watching Happy Days on telly as a kid, and thinking ‘families aren’t like that’.
I remember watching Nil By Mouth and seeing myself in Kathy Burke’s character.
I remember my friend sat at my kitchen table, telling me her husband of only one month had been beating her up for ages, but she didn’t cancel the wedding because she didn’t want to let her family down.
I remember my mates being friendly to this cunt even though they knew he had terrorised and assaulted one of our friends.
I remember watching Love The Way You Lie and feeling relieved that the complex ways in which violence enters relationships were being shown on a pop video.
And then I remember being told I wasn’t allowed that feeling of relief. Because I was wrong to identify with something so ‘cliched’ and ‘glamourising’ of violence in a relationship.
But you glamourise relationships all the time with your nice houses and your wives and your holidays to Cornwall or the Algarve. You are a walking cliche with your wine cellar and your DVD collection and your oak kitchen table.
Pornography is ‘other people’s erotica’. And violence is ‘other people’s domesticity’.
He silenced me once, with his threats and his violence. I learned from him, that the only way you can get me to be quiet is by coming over here and actually punching my lights out, kicking me to the ground. Even then I will get up and come back fighting. Isn’t that what Rihanna did? Do we make you feel uncomfortable? I hope so. I really do.