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May 11, 2024

Bad Boys!

I went to the cinema last week with my best friend, to see the film ‘Back to Black’. It is a biopic about Amy Winehouse, who, for those of you not in the UK and do not know who she is – she was a famous singer who sadly died of alcohol poisoning at the age of 27. She was married to a man who was a drug addict and it is generally felt that he was the person that introduced her to drugs and alcohol. They had a very volatile relationship which was largely played out in front of the journalists and cameramen who camped outside her house and wherever she went. They had physical fights in the street and she was regularly photographed in the papers with bruises and bloodied clothing.

When the ‘character’ of Amy’s husband first appeared on screen, he swaggered into the pub where Amy sat and was joking and swearing and generally being a bit of a ‘Jack the Lad’. I thought there was something attractive about him. I then realised what it was. He was a ‘bad boy’! I leant across to my friend and whispered, “why are the bad boys always attractive?!”. She whispered back, “I was just thinking the same thing!”.

It got me thinking. My abusive husband was a ‘Jack the Lad’. A ‘Bad Boy’. My friends ex abusive partner and father to her two oldest children was these things too. In fact, most of the women I have worked with over the years have described their abusive partners as ‘Jack the Lads’ and ‘Bad Boys’.

My older brother is an old fashioned romantic. He is the sort of guy who will buy a partner roses and open doors for her. He has looked – in vain – for a partner for some years. He is always told during the first date that he is a lovely man BUT, he is too nice! It infuriates him. He has said to me several times, what do women want? Do they want a man that is going to beat them up?! Which I, obviously, took very personally! But I have never been able to answer the question because I too, many years ago, when I was younger, have turned down dates because someone felt to me to be too nice! Boring! I have been married 3 times! The first time was to the abusive one. But I can honestly say, that although my second husband and my late, last husband were not abusive, they were ‘Jack the Lads’. Some would say ‘Bad Boys’ when they were younger.

So, why do women seem to be attracted to this type of man? They are not all abusive, of course. But some are, and of course, if we are unlucky enough to be with one that is abusive, there is no way we can know that when we meet them. Nevertheless, this phenomenon has created the myth that women choose abusive men. When I worked alongside Children’s Services, I lost count of all the times when social workers would ask me “Why does she choose violent men”? which used to anger me so much. As if anyone would choose to be abused.

Oh, are you waiting for me to unveil the answer to the question? I can’t. I don’t know the answer. But I am really interested to hear what you think it is?!

So, once more – Why are women attracted to bad boys??


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  • I first met Sharon back in 2000 when I went into a refuge she worked in after fleeing a violent relationship. I had two babies and virtually just a bag of clothes and a few toys with us. She helped me with appointments with the police, solicitors and..

    A survivor of domestic abuse.
  • I was fortunate enough to meet and work with Sharon when she was the Advocacy Manager at Woman’s Trust and I was working for Westminster City Council. During this time Sharon developed and managed the Independent Domestic Violence Advocacy Service..

    Ainslie O’Connor – Principal Advisor for the Department of the Premier and Cabinet – Adelaide, Australia.
  • Thank you so much for all the support you have given me. You really have been amazing, and to be honest, I wouldn’t have been able to cope with Child Protection without you. The amount of strength you have given me is totally priceless, even with..

    A survivor of domestic abuse.
  • I knew Sharon as a work colleague over ten years ago. At the time, she was supporting vulnerable people, some of them were homeless due to domestic abuse and substance misuse. For me, assisting such people was what anyone in her role would be expect..

    Ted Chanza, Head of Market Operations, Airtel Malawi Ltd, Lilongwe, Malawi, Africa.
  • I have known Sharon for 6 years and have had the pleasure of working alongside her when I chaired the Westminster MARAC. Sharon is a committed, empathetic supporter of women who are or have experienced domestic abuse. She regularly goes the extra m..

    Former Chair of The Westminster MARAC.
  • I was fortunate to have had Sharon as my support worker after 17 years of domestic violence and 4 children that had witnessed and gone through it with me. I was finally strong enough to stand up and protect myself and my children. Without Sharon’s ..

    A survivor of domestic violence.
  • Without the support and constant reassurance of Sharon, I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be where I am today. I am forever grateful to her. She is extremely dedicated and knowledgeable, having her on my side when dealing with someone as persistent..

    Anonymous survivor of Domestic Abuse.
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