Monday, November 21, 2011

Domestic Violence is Never OK. Ever.

Watching A Current Affair tonight has made me extremely ranty.  Matthew Newton featured in a profile interview about his "mental" illness and how it has contributed to where he is now.   How it was untreated for a long period of time and how he was not in control of himself.  

I'm not sure what I expected to see or hear.  Actually I am.  I expected to see a humble man, sorry for his past actions and willing to do whatever it takes to rehabilitate.  I expected to see a man who was embarrassed by his past actions and one who could not apologise enough for hitting the women he supposedly loved.  It wasn't just one girlfriend, but two.  No, I didn't see what I was expecting.  I saw a self-absorbed person who had one agenda - to show the public that he wasn't "responsible" for his actions - he had an untreated mental illness.   He had so many "issues".   Noises in his head.  He didn't know what was happening to him.  There were no sorrys, only excuses. 

I personally do not know Matthew Newton and I am totally aware my judgement of him is based on my personal perceptions and this may be different to what other people see.   In fact it may be totally different to Matthew's reality.  I'm sure he sees something totally different to the image I saw on my television tonight.

Matthew Newton undoubtedly has mental issues.   He is also a perpetrator of domestic violence.  Not once, but on multiple occasions.   He might be the son of two famous Australians and he might have his own "famous" profile, but in the scheme of life this counts for nothing.  He is a perpetrator of domestic violence.  He hits women.  Violently. 

I am not singling him out, many other men hit women.  The point of difference is these men are not given a chance to appear on national television to try and make themselves look and feel better, and so they shouldn't.  Neither should Matthew Newton.

If A Current Affair really wants to talk about mental illness and inspire others who live with it every day, there are thousands of people they could have interviewed.   Thousands of people, who haven't committed acts of violence, yet live with mental illness every single day.  They have to deal with the voices in their heads, their inability to function normally and social isolation, without resorting to violence. 

This Friday is White Ribbon Day - an international campaign to stop violence against women.  This is a huge campaign with the key message being it is NOT okay to hit women.  Profiling Matthew Newton on A Current Affair tonight is a total juxtaposition to this message.   Quite frankly it is insulting to every person who suffers from a mental illness and equally as insulting to women.   It is NEVER okay to hit a woman, regardless of whether you have a mental illness or not.   It really is that simple.  



Diminishing Lucy said...

Annie, I applaus you for writing this. I agree totally. Totally. xx

Smudgeblurr said...

Hi Annie, this is wonderfully written and I totally agree
Wendy x

Linda said...

Hear, hear Annie.

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking about the interview since I watched it and I read this article over and over again as well as reading what many others have written regarding Matthew Newton. I am against any sort of violence so much so when Osama was killed I shared my disgust at people saying it was great because hurting another person in anyway doesn't sit right with me. As a daughter of a mother who was at one point physically abused I have some strong feelings about that problem in our society however, as a person who also suffers from extreme bouts of self destruction I can understand what Matthew was trying to explain last night. I did see a person who was sorry, as sorry as he can be. While I haven't been violent towards people I have psychologically hurt people and I often think that is worse. While I know what I'm doing it's almost unreal. After my episodes I feel like they've been a dream. I am not a horrible or evil person but my episodes turn me into someone else. It really is hard to explain and I'm by no means defending what he did to his partners or his violent behaviour but this is something which is very common and people don't speak about it because of the lashings society brings out. I don't see Matthew as the poster boy for mental health or domestic violence but I do see him as a person who showed great courage to talk

bigwords is... said...

I had similar thoughts when watching the interview. clearly, he has a mental illness, but surely that does not excuse him for being violent towards his partners, or any other person.

Anonymous said...


Your thoughts and comments are spot on. Matthew needed to come right out and clearly say he was responsible and sorry. Since my 20th birthday I have lived with mental illness. I have a wife and two adult children (who have suffered with and from me).

I had a long and distinguished career in law enforcement. Dancing in and out of this illness provided a catalyst for angry episodes. But, never once have I used physical violence against a person, let alone my lovely better half.

Matthew Newton appears to be allowing his illness to provide excuse for his unlawful actions.

Not good enough Matthew, not good enough.

Domestic violence is NEVER ok.

Ollieator said...

It's amazing how, just because someone is on television, we feel we have the right to judge them, their actions and how they put themselves across to the masses.

I only saw snippets of the interview and yes, from what I saw, he at no point apologised for what he did and yes he did seem to give excuse after excuse and you're right, his mental illness is no excuse for his behaviour but it most certainly could have contributed to it. Mental illness affects different people in different way. Even people diagnosed with the same mental illness can be affected by it in different ways, so no one but Matthew and his Dr's know how it truly affected him.

I'm curious to know why you put quotation marks around "mental" when referring to his mental illness in your first paragraph? Do you not believe that he has been diagnosed with a mental illness?

While I agree with the bulk of this post, it does come across as very judgmental and I hate how as a society, we feel it is our right to judge others.

mamabook said...

Hi Annie,
I have been thinking about this interview and the storm around it all day. I am deeply unsettled by the message that perpetrators may take from it - that indeed there are excuses. From my experience perpetrators tend to feel v sorry for themselves, do not take responsibility and would love the "it takes two to tango" line that Newton was reported using in the interview (I have not watched it yet).
Women and children are the primary victims of domestic violence. Surely this is the week to hear their voices and experiences. Their pain. Their trauma.
As for previous comment - Newton put himself on national television. Of course he will be judged in both directions. He did not have to do this. He will receive both accolades and criticism. That is the nature of putting yourself out there and I assume seeking some sort of redemption from the public.
Thanks for being brave enough to post.
michelle xx

Anonymous said...

I want to know whether alcohol was always a factor in Newton's episodes of violence, especially his violence against the young women. There's not enough - if any - discussion of alcohol as it relates to mental illness. It's possibly a guaranteed trigger for susceptible persons.

Newton knows "his public" are more likely to sympathise with mental illness than with alcohol abuse.

If, as I suspect, he's declined this rare opportunity to help society by delivering a powerful message about the risks of alcohol then he has failed everyone including himself.

Jill said...

Annie, you said it perfectly.

I'd just like to add that men are sometimes the victims of domestic violence at the hands of their wives/girlfriends - that is never ok either.

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