Domestic Abuse – Why are these words still ‘taboo’?

With the news this afternoon that the man wanted for the murder of Sian Blake and her two small children, has been arrested in Ghana, we can hope that Sian’s family will see justice done and that Sian and the children will be able to rest in peace.  Right from the start, I knew this was a domestic homicide.  I always know, as I am sure anyone who work  s in the field also always knows.  But the words ‘domestic abuse’ are very rarely used in media reports.  Why?  Why in this day and age are these two words still a ‘taboo’ subject?  I have always felt that if these two words were used more often in media reports, then the scale of domestic abuse would be more widely recognised and understood by the general public.  Not a week goes past where we don’t hear on the television news, radio and newspapers, of women and/or their children being killed by their partners or ex partners.  I made a point this week of keeping count of how many I read about in the newspaper.  The tally is so far 6!!  I am sure there are more that I have missed.  But only 1 of those reports mentioned the words ‘domestic abuse/violence’.  And that was Sian Blake’s case.  Don’t get me wrong.  I was relieved that the words were used but there was still a ‘feel’ to the article that made it read as though this was not common.  Sadly Sian Blake’s case is all too common.

Many years ago the word ‘Aids’ was taboo aswell.  No one spoke of it or mentioned the word.  Now, Aids is not taboo at all.  People speak of it every day and no one is shocked anymore by it. There is now great understanding of the illness and that is because people talk about it openly.  Why is it then, that this does not apply to domestic abuse?  To help people understand more about domestic abuse, we have to stop treating it as a ‘taboo’ subject.  We need to name it, say it, and not be wary of doing so.  Who will join me?!

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