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Here Comes Treble: Social Norms

...With a crash and a shout, the groom’s father and youngest brother were suddenly on their feet, father punching son, knocking him to the ground, standing over him and swearing at the top of his voice...

Isabel Bradley tells of violence which was ignored.

It was a lovely wedding. The ceremony was simple, the reception took place in an elegant dining room at a smart hotel. Bride and groom were surrounded by family and close friends.

Later, wine flowed, waiters wafted about, unobtrusive and efficient, plates of food were placed before guests and vanished again when emptied. Conversation flowed, and noise levels became noticeably louder as guests relaxed and enjoyed themselves.

With a crash and a shout, the groom’s father and youngest brother were suddenly on their feet, father punching son, knocking him to the ground, standing over him and swearing at the top of his voice. The son stood up, only to be knocked over again and kicked in the ribs by his father, who continued to curse. The entire gathering was silent, frozen, watching as the best man pulled the young man to his feet and marched him outside, while a friend of the father’s took him by the arm and drew him aside and calmed him down.

The bride, who had been sitting next to them, looked bewildered and wan until her maid of honour sat down next to her. They were soon talking calmly and then laughing together.

The groom, who had been at the other side of the room chatting to friends, hurried to make sure his bride was okay, checked on his brother and his father, then returned to his seat at the table.

The young brother and his furious girlfriend weren’t seen again that evening. The father returned to his seat at the table next to the bride, and calm was restored.

Everyone resumed their conversations as if nothing unusual or unacceptable had happened. The unbelievable had intruded on reality for a few horrid moments, so unbelievable that no-one acknowledged it had happened.

It is this attitude of denial that encourages socially unacceptable behaviours such as physical violence and abuse. As long as unacceptable behaviour is ignored, it will continue.

Until next time…. ‘here comes Treble!’

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by Isabel Bradley

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To read more of Isabel's thoughtful and entertaining columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

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