When is a criminal not a criminal?

It’s this. It’s just one sentence but it’s absolutely terrifying.

“Golightly claimed his drinks must have been spiked before the assault as he could not remember the incident.”

This small note was included in a report out of the UK in which Gavin Golightly pleaded guilty to a single count of assault causing actual bodily harm.


That’s a formal way of saying that he beat the crap out of his new wife just hours after their wedding, and then officially admitted to the crime.

I recently spoke to a woman who last year left a 15-year marriage that was characterised by abuse. Her husband didn’t flare up often; he “only” attacked her once or twice a year. But when he did, it was brutal.

“Half the time when men like this snap, they don’t even remember how badly they went off,” she told me.

“They don’t realise how hard they hit your stomach, or how hard they smashed your head into the wall. There were so many times where I thought he was going to kill me – all they have to do is hit you in the wrong place or if there’s a kitchen knife nearby, it can end in tragedy.”

And it does end in tragedy – far too often. Since the beginning of the year, four women (that we know of) have been murdered by their partners or ex-partners in Australia.

Fabiana Palhares was killed by her ex in her home at Varsity Lakes; she was nine weeks pregnant at the time.

Sydney Hairdresser Leila Alavi was stabbed to death with scissors by her ex-husband in a carpark.

Sunshine Coast mum-of-two Adelle Collins was stabbed to death by her ex-partner.

Just this week in Tasmania, a man killed his wife after suspecting she was having an affair.

Meanwhile Perth mother Sarah Kelly was punched so hard by her husband she lost her eye (warning: graphic photos).

How does this keep happening? In 2015, how do we as a society continue to accept this?

When the media reports these incidents as ‘domestic violence’ and a couple as having a ‘history of abuse’, that language serves to downplay what is really going on, which is a horrific and barbaric crime against a vulnerable party.

So why don’t we call a spade and spade, and a criminal a criminal. Because a man that hits his partner? That’s exactly what he is.

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