January 2014

Best Man’s Speech

www.dwelldomesticviolence.com
Dr Watson’s return to London is peppered with nightmares & flashbacks.  He’s back from combat in Afghanistan a lost & lonely soul.  Lost & lonely, that is, until he meets the world’s only consulting detective – Sherlock Holmes!
Sherlock Holmes’ obsessive devotion to scientific deduction works to his personal detriment – he has no friends! No friends, until Dr John Watson becomes a 221B Baker Street flatmate.
And so beneath the surface of the detective story begins the story of the greatest friendship ever.  But because it’s a male friendship it’s simply never talked about – unless there’s a best man’s speech to give. And in last week’s BBC episode ‘The Sign of Three’ Sherlock became exactly that – best man at Watson’s wedding.  Sherlock delivers one of the most entertainingly awkward & tenderly touching speeches, “I will solve your murder but it takes John Watson to save your life. Trust me on that I should know he’s saved mine so many times & in so many ways”
Last week I too had the honour of being asked to be best man at my friend’s wedding.  What can I learn from Sherlock & Watson?  Both characters need friendship to temper the humdrum predictability of everyday life seen through the lens of uncompromising applications of logic & an addiction to adventure.  But their friendship goes far beyond the functionality of sharing a common mission.  The secret to Sherlock & Watson’s friendship, I believe, is honesty. Because a friendship without honesty is no friendship at all.
Marriage changes things. It’s true from a fictional standpoint & for real friendships.  But for blokes I believe a healthy marriage hinges on honest male friendship.  Why? Because more women were killed through male domestic violence in the UK in 2013 than British troops were killed in Afghanistan over the last 3 years!  We lose more lives through violence in the home than through war.
Surely a sense of entitlement to power & control over women is at war with the heart of man.
Most blokes don’t commit domestic violence against women, but most men do have an influence on the culture of masculinity that allows other men to become abusive husbands, boyfriends, or exes.  By making our friendships with other men more honest we can change this culture.
Tonight’s final episode of Sherlock centres on the terrifying villain Charles Augustus Magnussen – the master blackmailer. How will Sherlock & Watson’s friendship fare? The power of blackmail lays in unrevealed secrets. Real friendships scratch beneath the surface of the false self –that Facebook version of ourselves we’re all tempted to project.  The Enemy will try to blackmail us into silence because – to varying degrees – we’re all complicit in this culture of control that’s allowed other men to abuse women.
If your mate’s using tactics to control his wife, girlfriend, or ex are you prepared to challenge him?  If you notice signs of abuse of power & control over women in your own behaviour are you prepared to get help?  It’s time to break the silence on domestic violence through male friendships.  The only shame is in staying silent.
3 things every Christian & Muslim Man can Do:
  1. Follow Dwell on Facebook & Twitter OR book a Dwell speaker for your faith group
  2. Sign the White Ribbon or First Man Standing pledge 
  3. Set time aside to pray & assess your own attitude towards women in your life
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