Important public message: a sense of entitlement isn’t love

There’s a hugely important message in this article from the Herald about people (most often men) who kill their partners (most often women).

“These are not crimes of love, these are crimes of ownership. It is relatively easy to understand the emotions of someone who loses a loved one because they just don’t want to be in a relationship, but there is no notion of love if the solution is then to kill her – that is totally selfish.”

Dr Robertson said the homicidal behaviour stemmed from a strong sense of entitlement and ownership, an “if I can’t have her, no one can,” mentality. “If you believe you are entitled to your partner’s undivided attention, if you believe you’re entitled to be the centre of their universe, at some point some of these guys, if their entitlements are threatened, are going to use violence to get what they want.”

Far too often these stories get framed as crimes of passion, where the headline isn’t “violent man kills ex” but “man kills ex after she takes his kids” or “man driven to murder after wife abandons him”.

This creates space in people’s heads for the idea that we should empathize with an abusive person – that they aren’t fully responsible for their actions because another person, who they think they’re entitled to control, has displeased them. It puts the violent person’s interests first and turns their victim into a faceless villain who brought their death on themselves.

It’s repugnant, and yet it’s well-entrenched in the ways we talk about relationships and violence in relationships. So it’s fantastic to see a news article which challenges that kind of thinking.

What do you reckon?

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