Letter: Deceptive images

Sir: There is a poster campaign in London that depicts three middle- class men who are responsible for knocking their wives into casualty (Living, 11 February). The message is that assault is a crime, whoever you are.

The image in the poster is of financially independent, middle- class men who have 'got away' with their crime. But telling us that middle-class men are as likely as other men to beat their wives is a red herring. This poster simply shores up the myth that men are the bad boys and women are the pathetic, faceless victims in the equation of wife-battering.

Until we promote images of women as the independent, reliable, intelligent, hard-working human beings that they are, the vicious circle of oppressor and victim is not going to be broken. Some men are just plain bullies, and if you have had your confidence undermined by drudgery and child care and financial dependence, it is a truly Herculean task to break free and begin again. But, as with most bullies, a man will not attack a bold, confident, independent woman who just won't tolerate it and who is likely to strike back immediately with the nearest thing to hand - which could equally be a chip pan or a fondue set, a Chippendale or a teasmaid.

The money spent on this poster could have been much better spent on counselling for women and men and childcare facilities, instead of the old, old crime and punishment approach to family problems.

Yours sincerely,

SUE TERRY

London, NW6

(Photograph omitted)

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