Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Little Lies Tell One BIG Truth

Spoiler alert: In this year's award-winning HBO miniseries, Big Little Lies based on the 2014 book of the same name by Australian author Liane Moriarty (who happens to be my exact age, emanates from my home town and is basically living my ideal life - but I am not jealous) we finally have the truth told about domestic violence on our screens. And about bloody time!

As someone who has also written at length (though in an academic context) about domestic violence, and who knows the frustrating battle it is for women victims of domestic violence to be believed if and when they finally find the courage to risk their lives and tell their truth, an injustice that underpins and reflects all the other unjust abuses that women are made to suffer in our world, I feel that this cinematic truth-telling could be a game-changer for the world of women (and men).

One of the biggest lies that has been told by men who have gone out of their way to cover up the truth about domestic violence - and many have, including one of the leading criminologists in this country - that women in relationships are just as violent as men and the finger-pointing at men is just another way to deflect blame for this violence from women onto men, is particularly beautifully exposed in this series.

At one point one of the minor male characters says: 'I think women are chemically incapable of forgiveness', a line that echoes Shakespeare's 'Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned'. This oft told lie about women that is also part of the denial of the viciousness of men's fury and vengeance - especially when it comes to women - is also put to rights in this series, with the women shown to be essentially too forgiving of violent, weak men, and in the end, ultimately forgiving of each other, whereas the men, most of them, remain caught in their anger and unwillingness to forgive.

As the truth (and the lies) about women and men is coming out all over the place this year, it seems more than ever before, and with a real momentum towards truth-telling building as symbolised in TIME's naming the women (mainly) who have spoken out about male sexual abuse as this year's Person of the Year , I think we are on the brink of real and revolutionary change towards a gender justice the likes of which the world has never seen.

Revolution is a big word, but then again so is truth, and if we want the latter we had better be prepared for the former. Some of us have been prepared for years, decades, centuries and millennia...     

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