a man hits another man

breaks his jaw

 

if it’d happened outside a bar

where each male body had equal power

he’d be condemned

 

but this happened on a football field

where the attacker stood superior

as a player for the favoured team

 

his actions

they’re rapidly labelled

as out of character

 

‘but he’s a good bloke’

they say

 

‘he’s sorry’

they say

 

‘it’s a tragedy’

they say

 

these statements are the chorus

of a symphony that aims to have us forget

replace guilt with regret

 

this narrative is poison

take the sport away

replace it with a woman

and the perpetrator-as-victim-story

is much the same

 

our culture accepts the despicable

as long as it’s enacted

by the person with the most power

 

we need new narratives

where power has no relevance to the judgement

of another’s actions

 

we need new symphonies

with choruses that offer no sympathy to men

who don’t control their violence

 

they are not victims of their masculinity

they grow from the poisonous root

that feeds the most powerful tree

 

Jasmin Seabrook-Benson | @jsb_writes