It seems that courts are finally taking domestic violence cases more seriously.

It seems that, at last, the Courts are taking more seriously cases of domestic violence which, if ignored or not dealt with expeditiously, can lead to tragic consequences like the murder of poor Bernice Cassar.

Recently,  Magistrate Yana Micallef Stafrace denied bail to a man who called his former partner to speak to his three-year old son, allegedly breaching a protection order prohibiting any such communication. “A protection order means that you do not communicate for any reason whatsoever, nothing, zero,” said the Magistrate as she presided over the arraignment of a 39-year-old builder from Birkirkara.

The man was arrested after his estranged partner reported him to the domestic violence unit. The former couple are going through mediation at the Family Court and a protection order had been issued against the man pending those proceedings. In spite of this, he repeatedly tried to call his partner on Facebook Messenger but she did not take his calls. He then called her phone from an unknown number. Sensing that it might be her ex, the woman handed her mobile phone to her infant child, putting the device on speaker mode. The ex then told the boy, “Aw qalbi. Ħsibt li mhux se tweġibni dik il-minfuħa ommok” (Hello dear. I thought that big-headed mother of yours would not answer me). That call triggered the woman’s report to the police.

Now I realise that the man might not have had bad intentions, as well as appreciate the fact that he would want to communicate with his son. But, what drives certain people to do stupid things when a little bit of intelligence might do? If the Court issued a protection order in favour of the woman concerned, then there must have been a good reason for it ̶ after all, the man has a criminal record that is five pages long. One doesn’t simply use the protection order as toilet paper.

As a result, the man concerned is now being held in detention, where undoubtedly his ability to talk to his son, and call his ex “minfuħa”, will be even more curtailed.

Meanwhile, another instance of trouble on the romantic front was that of a jilted lover who admitted to unwelcome sexual advances against his former girlfriend and sharing her intimate photos with a friend. The man concerned ̶ a 40-year-old Tarxien accountant ̶ was arrested after he allegedly went to his former lover’s home in Żebbuġ and tried to touch her breasts. As if that would titillate the ex and make her rethink!

The couple’s relationship had ended seven months ago but the accused seemingly found it hard to accept the breakup. His actions led to his being charged with committing a non-consensual sexual act against his ex, causing her emotional or other harm by sharing her intimate pictures, harassment, causing her to fear violence, as well as misuse of electronic communications equipment.

Will he now see some sense, having been hit with a three-year restraining order by Magistrate Yana Micallef Stafrace, who also placed him under probation for an equal term? He’d better pay attention to the Magistrate’s warning that, if he breaches those orders, he would land back in trouble and most likely in jail.

One can understand that it is difficult for some people to accept that a marriage or a relationship is over. Many simply enter a state of denial. Hurt feelings and strong emotions are only natural but to repress them is even worse. It is surprising that people have no hesitation in going to see a doctor if they get a cold, but find it hard to seek help and advice when they are faced with a breakup.

I am no psychologist but it seems obvious that if a relationship has broken beyond repair, rather than dwelling on the negatives one should try to learn from the experience and move on. That’s why we have therapists and counsellors. It’s not the end of the world, though one might think so when the wound is fresh.

Photo: Pixabay

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