Are women paying a price for the adrenaline rush caused due to the FIFA World Cup? Yes, it seems that football fandom causes domestic violence to soar in England. With the 2018 World Cup currently underway, men across the world are hooked to the television and Internet, busy rooting for their favourite teams. While most fans cry from dejection or erupt with joy, depending on their team’s performance, it was observed that men in England tend to have increased violent tendencies towards their partners.
A Lancaster University research suggests that Football leads to a rise in cases of domestic violence in England, regardless of how the team performs. The researchers analysed figures from Lancashire Constabulary across three tournaments in 2002, 2006, and 2010.
They found that incidents of domestic abuse rose by 38 per cent in Lancashire when the England team played and lost and increased by 26 per cent when the England national team played and won or drew as compared to days when there was no England match. There was also a carry-over effect, with incidents of domestic abuse 11% higher the day after an England match.
Perhaps it is difficult for us Indians to understand the level of fandom football evokes around the world. Take the passion for cricket in our country, multiply it by ten and you will have a vague idea. Football fandom is infectious and elicits strong emotions among fans. The charge it infuses in the people works like a ripple. And many times the repercussions are felt even at home. But what leads to these increased tendencies for violence at home?
A research titled “Sport-related domestic violence: Exploring the complex relationship between sporting events and domestic violence” suggests that domestic violence operates at the nexus of a social constellation comprising alcohol, sport and hegemonic masculinity.
Which means that this increase in the tendency for violence isn’t just a product of the adrenaline rush from a match. It is a combination of increased alcohol consumption and toxic masculinity which provokes men to take their excitement or anger out on the female partners.
But this doesn’t mean that football turns good calm men into raging bulls. Perhaps football is more like a trigger which stimulates violent men. A marriage or relationship which is already going bad suffers more. A man prone to raising his voice at home, becomes more violent.
Whatever may be the reason, it cannot justify domestic abuse. Men must realise that women shouldn’t have to pay the price of their passion for sports. They are not punching bags. Similarly, women have to learn to refuse all the excuses for violent tendencies. Yes, it takes a lot of courage to stand up against an abusive partner. But if you are letting this abuse slide on the pretext that it is caused by a game, then you are lying to yourselves.
Picture Credit: op-edaily.com
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.