Why Leslie Ash is laughing off a broken rib

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This article offers a brief description of the mechanisms that women use to exonerate their partner from the blame of a violent or abusive assault.

Leslie Ash must have an extraordinarily well developed sense of humour to describe the circumstances surrounding her recent collapsed lung and broken rib as being ‘like something out of a farce’.

Newspaper reports suggest that the emotions in the ‘volatile marriage’ of Miss Ash and Lee Chapman run high, but are not always fond; Leslie Ash was, allegedly thinking of leaving Chapman, who was charged with common assault in 1997. Yet, publicly, she has exonerated the husband, whose flirting and violent temper she has complained of to friends.

Whether her injuries were a freak accident or something rather more sinister only Leslie Ash and Lee Chapman can truly know.

Too many women in our society seem to suffer ‘freak accidents’, when door handles hit them in the face, central heating radiators batter their backs, tufts of their hair come out and huge bruises appear - especially on their upper arms. They are, apparently, surprisingly accident prone, falling down stairs or ‘bumping into things’, while ‘playful’ encounters with their partner can put them in hospital.

Accidents do happen, undoubtedly. And so does deliberate harm. Probably rather more frequently than we care to acknowledge.

Domestic violence accounts for nearly 22% of all violent incidents. Yet less than 35% of domestic violence is reported to the police. Even when newspapers carry isolated reports of celebrity or otherwise sensational domestic violence, the extent and complexity of the problem are rarely addressed.

Most women don’t press charges against their partner. This can be frustrating for the police officers involved, and undermines the credibility of the woman. Surely, if things were that bad, the thinking goes, these women would stand by their story?

Sometimes they don’t because they have been so traumatised that they can’t face going through the whole legal process. Sometimes they choose not to because they are ashamed for what they have been through to become public knowledge; or because they believe that continuing in the relationship is the best way to protect their children.

Often the violent partner, having released his pent-up fury, will put on a convincing show of repentance and become a model of consideration for as long as it takes to hook his victim     back into the relationship. He may buy flowers or gifts to prove much she matters to him.

Frequently these women still love their partner, even despite repeated assaults. And somehow they end up blaming themselves for their partner’s attack: they just need to learn to manage him a little better, so it won’t happen again.

The only person who is surprised when it does happen again is the woman involved. Her friends and family see it coming and tire of watching her go round the whole, ghastly saga again and again.

Women can attempt to explain it away, they can take responsibility for changing their partner’s behaviour, they can cry about it – or laugh about it. But before they break out of the cycle of domestic violence, they will probably need skilled professional help, to show them that they have been locked in a brutal competition for power and control that they can only lose.

Domestic violence is no laughing matter.

Annie Kaszina is a writer and Personal Coach who is committed to raising awareness of the reality of domestic violence. She works with survivors of abusive relationships to help them go beyond recovery to self-discovery and has written an eBook for survivors of domestic violence to help them on their way.    You can order her book by visiting http://www.joyfulcoaching.com and subscribe to her newsletter by sending a blank email to anniekaszina@smartgroups.com.

For further information contact Annie Kaszina at 01708 443435

mobile 07712 924124

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Annie Kaszina