Jeremy Kyle, a UK talk show host, interviewed a man concerning his experience of domestic violence. Geoff shared his story about how his ex-girlfriend assaulted him:
The young man was appearing on the programme to confront ex-girlfriend Dani about her abusive behaviour and her alleged cheating. During the course of the interview, he described how she had given him black eyes and punched him during their relationship.
Geoff told host Jeremy Kyle how Dani had locked her in their flat and he had had to escape by jumping off a third-floor balcony.
“I ripped all my back, all my legs, the lot,” he said. “I ended up in hospital because she wouldn’t let me out of the flat”.
This prompted a specific response from the female audience members: laughter. Fortunately, Kyle stood up for Geoff:
“It’s not funny though,” he told them. “If this was the other way around and a woman was sat here and a bloke had locked her in a flat and she had to jump out and injured herself, you lot would not be laughing.
“You would be saying, he’s a complete nightmare, he should be locked up and that’s disgraceful, but somehow if it happens to a bloke that’s funny. That’s not funny, is it?”
That does not quite do it justice. Watch Kyle’s reaction as the audience begins to laugh:
That is the proper response to this situation. It is one that many people would never have. It is also one that typically angers feminists whenever supporters for male victims or men’s rights activists use it.
Nevertheless, it is the appropriate response. This is not funny. A thirty foot drop could seriously injure or kill someone.
Consider the situation Geoff was in for him to think jumping off the third-floor balcony would be the better decision. Is it possible that he could have defended himself against his ex-girlfriend? Perhaps. However, if he laid a hand on her she could and likely would claim he assaulted her and he would end up in jail. That is the situation this man was in: stay and get abused, try to leave the normal way and face jail, or jump off the third-floor balcony.
As Kyle said, if the situation were reversed this would be no laughing matter, yet when the victim is male it is considered a joke.
It is good that Kyle defended Geoff. We need more people, particularly more public faces, challenging the idea that women’s violence against men is funny.
It is not.