My song today is, ‘If You Love Somebody Set Them Free’ which ‘Sting ‘sang. I also heard a favourite guitarist and singer of mine, Eric Clapton, sing this song and the words instantly appealed to me.
During my life as a Probation Officer, I came across too many control freaks who made their partner’s lives a total misery. Usually, these would be abusive men who feared that their womenfolk would either leave them or go off with another man at the first opportunity, but occasionally, the control freak would be the woman.
I recall one man in Holmfirth who insisted that his wife ‘phone in’ every 15 minutes whenever she went to town shopping or had gone for coffee with a friend. If she did not phone him, he would automatically falsely accuse her of having committed some indiscretion. Abusers and control freaks within a relationship possess this ability to make their abused partner feel like they are the one in the wrong, and sometimes, they even convince them that it is ‘their concern for their safety’ or ‘because they love them too much’ that always makes them want to know where they are all the time.
I even knew men who refused their partner to own a mobile phone or who locked the house door whenever they went out to the pub with their mates. One man who lived in Dewsbury would listen at the toilet door whenever his partner went to the loo, just in case she was phoning somebody ‘on the quiet’. I have known of women who had been made to do unspeakable things to their abusive partners, and some who had to ask for every penny of housekeeping money, daily. None of the abused women were rarely called by their proper Christian name by their abuser, and ‘tart’ and ‘bitch’ and ‘slut’ or ‘slag’ seemed to be the preferred term of abusive name called.
Very rarely ‘the worm would turn’ but whenever it did, she struck with a vengeance. I once did a report for the ‘Wakefield Crown Court; for a woman in her forties who was charged with committing ‘Assault with a view of inflicting Grievous Bodily Harm’. She had suffered too long and too hard at the hands of her abusive husband and had experienced enough on the day she ‘snapped’. One morning, following her having received a vicious beating at the hands of her drunken husband the previous night after he’d returned from the pub in a foul mood, she arose before him and boiled a pan of water downstairs, which she then carried to their bedroom and threw in his face. She fled the household as he screamed in pain. Although she did eventually phone an ambulance from the house of a neighbour after she had told her what she had done, and after she had smoked a cigarette first!
I was naturally compassionate to her because of her years of abuse, and while I knew of either party prior to my report, I could not find sufficient concern in me to be in any way professional about the husband. ‘Probation Officer’ I might have been, and facially scarred for life was the defendant’s husband, but this was one occasion in my vocational work where my personal feelings superseded my professional ones. I recommended a suspended prison sentence although the woman’s barrister had told her to expect two years behind bars. Fortunately, the sentencing Judge was also sympathetic towards the abused wife’s position over many years and sentenced her to two years’ suspended prison sentence.
All my life, in every relationship I have ever had, I have always advocated to my partner that if they think it or feel it or want to do it within our relationship, then to do so. I do not know how any individual can profess to love another if they ever seek to suppress their thoughts, feelings, or actions.
Love and peace Bill xxx