Golriz: Turning the corner on domestic violence

Photoshopped image credit: Rick H

Golriz Ghahraman has announced via Twitter that we have just turned a corner on domestic violence.  Quote:

Here is my personal experience, how speaking out, and the work of the indomitable @janlogie means we have have (sic) just turned a corner on domestic violence (thanks @NZStuff for giving me a voice on this today)  End of quote.

I’m so glad because our domestic violence stats are not great in New Zealand.  I’m also keen to check back in a year’s time and compare the statistics because if what she says is true, we should notice a drop in numbers.

I was curious to know why she thought we had suddenly turned a corner right now, given the focus there has been on domestic violence over the last couple of decades at least.

Has Meka Whaitiri finally been sacked as an MP for using violence against a staff member?  Sadly, not so.  She is still being publicly supported by the Maori caucus, while her victim has been silenced.

No, it seems that the corner turning moment was caused by Jan Logie’s Domestic Violence Victims Protection Bill, which was passed months ago.  The law which makes it possible for victims of domestic violence to take ten days annual leave. I wrote about this back in July when it was first introduced, because I believe it will do nothing to stop family violence.

Since then, a domestic violence survivor has also spoken out, saying they believe this new bill could result in abusive partners forcing women to quit work because they are worried they can access help through their workplace.

Still, Golriz thinks this bill will at least go towards solving our problem with domestic violence, and she is perfectly entitled to that opinion.  She can also expect to be held to account if there is no drop in numbers.

Mostly, the opinion piece by Golriz on Stuff seemed to be an opportunity to talk about her own experience with domestic violence.  Quote:

[…] I was only 18 years old when the relationship began and for two years I saw it as intense “first love”.

He would send hundreds of messages all day, turn up to university and my workplace, so we spent every free moment together.

If I did go out without him, the messages turned ugly. It would be a barrage of “Bitch. Bitch. Bitch” “Slut. Slut. Slut”. I justified it as he did: it’s normal for men to be jealous when they love you.

Things got physical with shoving. I went through the sliding door of my wardrobe as it came off its hinges, fell back hard onto some rocks. It got worse when twice he threatened to kill me if I left, and choked me hard enough to leave thumb marks.[…]

[…] But a moment after I described my experience of abuse, I imagined the headline and the hateful comments. I knew instantly that I would be accused of seeking undeserved victimhood, of lying, even told that I deserved what I got.[…]  End of quote.

The thing is, if you make a public statement about anything, you can expect scrutiny.  That applies to anyone, male or female, and it has nothing to do with equality for women, but I do find it interesting that Ms Ghahraman herself has recognised that this seems an opportunistic revelation.

There have been many inconsistencies in what Ms Ghahraman has presented to the New Zealand public about her past.  Claims of bombs and sirens during her childhood when she was living many miles from the war zone. Inconsistencies with her claim of being a refugee that she refuses to address: she has, in fact, threatened with legal action one critic (an Australian immigration lawyer) for questioning her claims.

Given these inconsistencies, it’s perfectly reasonable and understandable that the validity of anything that she says now and in the future will be questioned.  She cannot shut down scrutiny by accusing those who question her of making ‘hateful comments’.  It is not ‘hateful’ to seek clarification.    Quote:

[…] The sad realisation was, that the real life reaction to my public disclosure would answer the central question of the film: How far have we really come in empowering women in 125 years of formal equality?[…]  End of quote.

Well that depends Ms Ghahraman on what you mean by ‘empowering women’.  If you mean treating women as equals, then I think that equality has not just been met, but that the scales have tipped in the other direction.

What you seem to mean is that, as a woman, whatever you say should be accepted without question.

This was obvious in your tweet about Kavanaugh, where you referred to him as ‘a raging powerful abuser’.  You accepted without question what Ms Ford had accused him of, yet as this farce played out, the FBI investigation determined that there was insufficient evidence against him. Ms Ford’s statements alone were not, and should not be the sole determination of Kavanaugh’s guilt. 

In the same way, your statements should be heard, but they do not on their own determine the guilt of your ex-boyfriend.  You can expect scrutiny.

Does every aspect of your story stand up?

You were 18 at the time the relationship began and it lasted two years, so given you were born in 1981, that makes it 1999 – 2001, roughly speaking.  You said: quote:

He would send hundreds of messages all day, turn up to University and my workplace, so we spent every free moment together.  End of quote.

Text messaging was introduced to New Zealand in 1998.  Mobile phones were expensive to buy and expensive to use.  According to The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, by 2001, 58.3% of households had a mobile phone, up from 21.3% in 1998.

Wow, I guess New Zealand really is the land of opportunity if a university student and her boyfriend were able to afford to buy a mobile phone each, and could afford to send hundreds of messages.


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