By now we all know that Jennifer Hudson’s mother and brother were recently murdered. The media, noting that there is a male suspect, reports a history of “domestic issues”.
That phrase, or its twin “domestic dispute” is a terribly insidious euphemism. It suggests an issue or dispute over who left the socks on the floor or disagreements over household operations. When you hear it often enough in the news, the real meaning becomes so diluted that its impact upon society becomes diluted.
For purposes of my post this morning, let me give you the exact definition I found at good old dictionary.com:
euphemism – the substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or blunt.
Of course domestic violence is what’s really being substituted here. Bland domestic disputes don’t result in a woman calling the police for help. Bland domestic disputes don’t invoke public outrage or action. I worked for two years in an agency for battered women. Speaking from first hand experience, here are what “domestic disputes” and “domestic issues” look like. And yes, these images are offensive, harsh, and blunt. Just like the domestic violence that was committed against women such as these.