Discussing domestic violence against men on BBC Three Counties Radio

News|September 9th 2014

Actress Kelly Brook caused a stir when, in her recently published autobiography, she openly discussed punching of two of her ex-boyfriends, actor Jason Statham and rugby player Danny Cipriani.

The admissions became headlines yesterday when Ms Brook appeared on yesterday’s episode of the ITV show This Morning. Both Kelly and the presenters giggled about the punching of Statham and Cipriani.

The jokey discussion caused a torrent of outrage on social media. Cipriani is also threatening to sue Brook over details of their relationship revealed in the autobiography.

Ms Brook said of Statham that “in my defence, I don’t think he felt it.” It’s a shocking, disgusting comment to make.

There seems to be a strange veneer of social acceptability around domestic violence when it is directed towards males, an issue I discussed in an interview for BBC Three Counties Radio today. All credit to Jonathan Vernon-Smith, who made his views crystal clear! He doesn’t have a high opinion of Kelly Brook but he is even more concerned at reactions to such an admission and I don’t blame him.

I agree that such a gulf in social reactions between a man hitting a woman and a woman slapping a man is absolutely wrong. I know, from my work over 30 years, that many men can be deeply traumatised by repeated domestic violence, especially under the pressure of being expected to “grin and bear it.”

A man who is a victim of such violence in the home, might often also believe that the woman accused of bullying, harassment and violence, will be believed if he takes the case to court. He will thus be deeply reluctant to proceed, embarrassed that he has been unable to stand up to her and fearful of her reactions to him if he does. He is a just as much a classic case of a person worn down by bullying, harassment and threats as women are in the same situations. He will need just as much protection as a woman.

In my experience, these allegations are also not uncommon. Kelly Brook felt able to punch two big men full on in the face. More women are acting likewise.

A study carried out in 2010 showed how women in increasing numbers are being prosecuted for their assaults on men. The civil and criminal courts do apply the full force of the law to anyone seeking its protection, and that includes men seeking protection from women, provided they can summon up the courage and of course have the evidence.

It’s not easy to decide to proceed.  But I must also say that this situation is not helped by politicians, usually women, who repeatedly and publicly state that violence in the home is solely committed by men against women and it is women who need greater protection. Statistics increasingly suggest that in fact attacks by women on men are growing to such an extent that attacks on men may make up as much as 40 per cent of domestic violence victims.

So I believe we need to get it out of our heads, and fast, that a woman hitting a man is at worst excusable and at best deserved. Kelly Brook thinks she can get away with laughing on morning TV about punching her ex-partner –and although she has done herself a lot of damage, imagine the hell that would rain down on a male celebrity doing the same?

In today’s Daily Mail we have that very comparison. US Celebrity sportsman Ray Rice who is videoed in an elevator punching his then fiancée full on in the face causing her to hit her head on the rail and fall unconscious, has been censured across the world – even by President Obama.

It’s time for all of us to show the likes of Kelly Brook that punching a man in the face is not funny, it is unacceptable. We all need to learn that violence and intimidation is as unacceptable in a woman as it is in a man.

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  1. Michael Robinson says:

    Thank you for such a well written article and your making your position on this public.

    Little to add, and shared among my contacts.

    Best wishes,

    Michael Robinson of The Custody Minefield

  2. George Statingfield says:

    If domestic violence by women is ‘not’ addressed in the same serious manner by politicians, the media and the courts – Then other important ‘real’ victims are children of these abusers, who are simply not protected from mothers who are DV perpetrators (emotionally and physically).

    Excellent Marilyn, a balanced approach is so necessary to the problem of domestic violence in order to protect victims (male & female) plus children who are involved.

    Thank You.

  3. Luke says:

    This is a great article, and Marilyn has not been slow in coming forward on this subject, much to her credit.
    The only point I would disagree on is that I don’t think it is 40% – more like 50% :-
    Of course in cases that are unarmed the male striking out is likely to do MUCH more damage.

  4. Stitchedup says:

    Any reason why my last comment appears to have disappeared?

  5. Joanna Toch says:

    Kelly Brook punched two men who were respectively over 20kg and over 35kg heavier than her and fit and strong.
    Twice as many women as men are injured or die as a result of violence on them.
    I do not know of “the politicians usually women” who repeatedly say violence in the home is solely committed by men. Of course not. However they are more often dependent and need assistance.
    Ray Rice was rightly condemned because clearly his victim was no match in terms of dealing with his physical power.

  6. Tim Carrington says:

    did her boyfriends ever consider her an emotionally stable person?

    I don’t know her, but two minutes “research” shows her mother had children with different men, her father died from smoking, both parents worked and her mother prostituted her out at age 16. She continued this modelling career (attributing her worth to her external appearance).

    Stathams mum was a dancer and his father sold “fake perfume and jewelry” on street corners. So his father lied for a living and his mother was also someone who attributed her worth somewhat to external appearance.

    We can only guess at the arguments that started the violence. Was Statham attempting a connection he couldn’t get with his mother, only for Brook to dismiss the connection to concentrate on her outward appearance (as his mother did)?

    Who knows, the only thing we do know is that they were both damaged by their parents.

    My point? Is quite simple, improve our parenting and heal the world!

  7. Alvin says:

    MEN do not understand where accused (albeit innocent ones) how much the information will effect you. At the time of allegations sometimes you will not even be questioned about it. Then you may want to use CAB, as your innocence you bring up these continuing allegations. My experience my appointment cut straight away cited clash of interest (without checking and told to leave the building not office the BUILDING) such is attitude towards the crime. No protocol if you tell them your absolutely innocent as they”brandU” which is never helped to heal. & that’s your profile

  8. Challenging Preconceptions: When Men Experience Domestic Violence – Silver-Legacy says:

    […] a laugh, something that needn’t be taken seriously. But attitudes are slowly changing. When actress Kelly Brook wrote about punching ex-boyfriends in her autobiography, the result was not universal tittering but anger and condemnation from many […]

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