Monday, July 27, 2009

A sad thing about the neighbourhood in which I live is that more and more of it has been given over to 'buy to let' property.
Including the house next door.

A couple seem to be living in it, with their baby.

They're hardly ever seen: and the house has every curtain and blind closed and shut down tight.

But every now and again I hear them. I hear their washing machine; and sometimes I am sure I hear a woman loudly crying.

And a man angrily shouting, sometimes; and then I think sometimes I hear the sound of a blow.

My daughter said: You think she's being battered.

And yes, i do.

And she adds, with utter matter of factedness: it happens in one out of every five relationships.

And there's nothing you can do, she adds: unless they make more of a disturbance.

Perhaps if I saw her, I think, and there are signs. But I never se her. It's as if she's kept hidden away.

I remember when we were younger, in our fierce feminism. Our determination to build a world in which such things did not happen.

I remember the book i was going to write - "Man and the Woman Inside" - in which i was going to argue there's an internalised drama in every man in patriarchy. That they ("we", then) are taught to despise and distrust the feminine aspect of ourselves. To suppress and deny her. And that the violence involved in that inner process is often reflected in the violence against women in the outer world.

But as it turned out, I could find no publisher.

And I think of the book Susie did write and did publish - "Making It Work" - now sidelined and neglected and forgotten.

How angry we were at the older generation, at the mess they had made of the world and handed down to us.

How arrogant we were. How sure that we would do better.

And have we?

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