When did you stop beating your wife?
I thought it was just me but, judging from comments on my Facebook page, it's not.
There is indeed a lot of victim-shaming going on in the alleged domestic assault case involving Belleville, On. Police Chief Cory McMullan.
To recap quickly, two weeks ago, Chief McMullan, whose arm is still in a cast, admitted that she was the victim of domestic violence. The small town was rife with rumours of the incident and, basically, she had no choice but to come out.
Without going into specifics, she said, “I do wish to let the citizens of Belleville know that the incident did result in injuries which required medical treatment.”
Her husband David McMullan, a 53-year-old retired police officer, has been charged with assault and released on a promise to appear in court Sept. 30. The couple has two teenaged children.
Residents in this city of 50,000 were busy trading tales on Wednesday about what triggered the incident last Friday.
Mayor Neil Ellis lashed out at those who would spread “gossip and innuendo.”
“We have a victim who needs community support and that’s where this should be going,” he said during an interview in his office.
Gossip is common in any politician’s life, he said. “I don’t pay attention to rumours.”
Surrounded by pictures and mementoes of his wife and three children, Ellis said he doesn’t know McMullan well and only “as the chief of police.” The 24-year policing veteran has held the position for just over a year.
“It is shocking,” he said of the attack. “No one can really make sense of any type of abuse, especially if it causes physical injury. This shows it can happen in any household.”
“The important thing here,” he added, “is Cory, er, the chief and the chief’s family. We have to support her and stand behind her.”
Now the buzz is Chief McMullan and Mayor Ellis were doing the horizontal mambo -- which could have been what, for lack of a better word, provoked husband David. Here's one account:
Mayor Neil Ellis admitted he was with Chief Cory McMullan the night she was allegedly attacked by her husband, but said it was completely innocent.
After two weeks of rumours circulating the town, Ellis said he had to speak out because it was starting to take a toll on his family.
Ellis, who shows no signs of having been attacked, admitted he was with McMullan the night of the alleged assault, but that she was just giving him a ride home.
On Aug. 6, a Friday night, he said he took his daughter to the movies and returned home shortly after 9 p.m., before driving his car back to the theatre and leaving it there for his son who works at the mall.
He began walking to a friend's house, when the chief pulled up and asked if he wanted a ride. He said she wanted to discuss city business.
The mayor said as they were driving, he looked in the rearview window and "someone just came flying in at about 90 miles per hour."
That person was David McMullan.
Belleville mayor denies affair with police chief
Belleville Mayor denies affair with police chief
Belleville mayor denies rumours of affair with police chief
Ah yes, the proverbial loaded question. Here's what I mean: When headlines say somebody ''denies'' doing something, the implication is that the somebody was doing it -- ''doing it'' being the operative phrase in this case.
Now, I ask you. What was the point of these stories? Titillation? Justification?
Judging from some of the discussion on my Facebook page ... well ... here ...
Sounds to me like the Mayor was crewing (sic) the Police chief behind her husbands back, he found out, she pushed his buttons causing him to do something stupid and now they pretend nothing happened. What am I missing here?
And my response, expletive and name deleted:
Ah so she deserved to have her arm broken, xxx? She ''pushed his buttons?''
She ''caused'' him to do something stupid?
And you ask what you are missing?
The old crime of passion line. The one that justified murder once upon a time. She supposedly is responsible for having her arm broken because he presumably thought she was cheating on her.
Rather than conduct some real journalism, or delve into the very real problem of high rates of domestic violence in police families, the media preferred to get into that were-they-or-weren't-they scenario, as if it was in any way, shape or form relevant.
Which it is not.
Her arm was broken. There is no excusing that.
As for domestic violence in police families, here are the facts:
Two studies have found that at least 40% of police officer families experience domestic violence, (1, 2) in contrast to 10% of families in the general population.(3) A third study of older and more experienced officers found a rate of 24% (4), indicating that domestic violence is 2-4 times more common among police families than American families in general. A police department that has domestic violence offenders among its ranks will not effectively serve and protect victims in the community.5, 6, 7, 8 Moreover, when officers know of domestic violence committed by their colleagues and seek to protect them by covering it up, they expose the department to civil liability.7
The female officer is under intense pressure to conceal any trouble in her personal life, especially domestic violence. There is a strong cultural stigma against an officer being a victim. It may be rare that advocates receive a request for assistance from a female officer. When they do, however, they should see this as an indication that the abuse has escalated to an extremely volatile point, as many police officers would approach an advocate only as a last resort....
Let's face it. Police work can be highly stressful, and it can also be very violent. Cops can develop some very bad coping mechanisms.
Would that not have been better reporting?
Or am I just overly sensitive to how violence against women gets brushed aside, or to the back pages, unless there's a celebrity element to it?
While we're on the subject, Here's a brand new campaign in the U.K. It urges people not to ignore domestic violence but to call the police.
When you think about it, the issue of domestic violence has been ignored this month -- by the media.
UPPITY WOMAN DATE: I suddenly remembered where I found all that research about violence in police households. My friend Jude posted on my Facebook profile two weeks ago. Thanks GF!