There has been a lot in the news (and on blogs, I see) about Ross Kemp and Steve McFadden from BBCs Eastenders both being allegedly assaulted by their women.
Oh, the irony of it! Two big men, bruisers in fact, with hard reputations and famous for playing hard men, brought to their knees by women.
Sadly, though, I see no irony. Spousal abuse is on the rise with men, women are becoming more empowered and the shackles of propriety are being pulled away. It is now reasonable (and even humorous in some cases) for a woman to slug her man.
My best friend 15 years ago was called Mike (not real name), gentle soul, my Mike. We were inseparable, worked together, played together and thought each other's thoughts - brother and sister in all but blood. One day Mike met a girl. He brought her to meet me (ostensibly for my approval) and they married. They set up home and I was a regular visitor. I noticed marks on the walls and broken ornaments, but didn't say anything. Then one day, Mike answered the door with a black eye. That was the day I asked if Michelle was hitting him - and that was the day he looked me in the eye and said yes.
I had no idea what to do, and neither did he. I was abused earlier in my life, and I told him he should do as I did and leave. He refused - he still loved her, temper and all. I understood, it took me a year to pluck up the courage to walk out.
Mike and Michelle moved overseas to 'start afresh'. I missed Mike terribly, and called him often. He was reasonably happy and told me nothing was wrong. I believed him - he's never lied to me before.
I got a phonecall from a mutual friend. To tell me Mike had killed himself. Only six months or so after the 'new start'. He was still being abused by Michelle, and the distance from his family and loved ones made it all the harder.
I blamed myself for my best friend's death for years. I should have been firmer with him. I should have toughened up that gentle soul - but I didn't....because it was Mike, and he was just right the way he was.
And Mike would never hit a woman.
Something Ross Kemp has said - hard man or not, he would never hit a woman.
When you're laughing about the Kemp/McFadden story, remember - there could be more in it than meets the eye, and women aren't the only ones abused.