The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

Damir Dokic: Hitting Jelena Was “For Her Sake”

Posted by Clem Bastow on May 7, 2009

I’m sure I’m not the only person who was pleased to see Jelena Dokic’s comeback (and to have her come back to Australia) at this year’s Australian Open, particularly in light of her treatment at the hands of her father and “coach”, Damir; to see her remove herself from that situation and go on to professional and personal triumph was inspiring.

Well, now that Jelena has recently told of the physical abuse she suffered at the hands of her father in addition to the bellowing and belittling that came to be known as Damir’s horrible trademark, naturally Damir has had to have his two cents, since he evidently lives in a magical world where violent men actually have a right of reply when their abuse is revealed:

“If I was ever a little bit more aggressive towards Jelena, it was for her sake,” Mr Dokic told the Serbian newspaper Vecernje Novosti.

In the latest Sport & Style magazine, published in The Age this week, the tennis star spoke in detail about the trauma her father caused and how she fled her family home in October 2002.

“When I was young, I was beaten by my parents,” Mr Dokic said, “and I am now thankful to them for that, because that helped me to become the right person. Anyway, is there any parent who didn’t do that at least once or twice — of course, for the sake of their children?”

That’s right, Damir – what frightened young girl hasn’t been beaten by and bellowed at by her father in order to keep her hitting those aces? Obviously Damir’s rantings are the sort of quote-fests the tabloids live for, but sometimes I question the value of allowing known abusers to speak freely about their crimes in this manner. I’m inclined to think that stories like these send an unfortunate message to women (or indeed, anyone) who’ve been abused, in essence that what they’ve suffered is terrible… but you know, we ought to let their abuser share their side of the story, too. What are your thoughts?

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8 Responses to “Damir Dokic: Hitting Jelena Was “For Her Sake””

  1. Allie S said

    You can’t deny abusers their right to speak about the abuse – having committed a crime does not void their right to freedom of speech – except of course where it is prohibited due to legal proceedings.

    But I actually think publishing the sort of rubbish this man says might help underline the basic absurdity of his assertion that abuse is necessary to raise children. It only shows up his views as archaic and also obviously affected by the abuse he suffered as a child. It could also raise awareness around the issue that many abused children go on to abuse others – not that it is any excuse but rather, they should know better. Damir’s use of the old excuse “I was beaten and I turned out alright” rings very hollow here – he is obviously not the most well-balanced of persons.

  2. lilacsigil said

    Of course, he’s now been arrested for threatening the (female) Australian Ambassador to Serbia. His entitlement, violence and attempts at dominance don’t stop at home.

  3. Natasha said

    I don’t feel comfortable with forcably silencing or censoring one party, even in a situation where the power dynamics are clearly shocking, such as this one. There are so many associated problems – such as who decides who gets silenced and when? And in whose interests? Apart from the problem of how do you silence them? Anyone can issue a press release, and the media will pick up on it or not.

    I fall on the side of thinking that it’s ALWAYS preferable to let each side have their say. However, how you treat each person’s account needs more carefeul consideration. This is where accusations of power imbalances, intimidation and violence need to be taken into account.

    In the media stories of the Dokic family, the reporting of Damir’s comments has only served Jelena’s cause more. He comes off as a bigoted loon and I think the greatest damage is done to himself and also to all abusive parents, so I don’t see why it should be suppressed. This instance is quite a different example to one where a perpetrator is actually using public interest to profit from their actions – Chopper Reed comes to mind. Needless to say, I find the latter example vile.

  4. [...] Damir Dokic: Hitting Jelena Was “For Her Sake” [...]

  5. Ann oDyne said

    I just saw news film of the arsenal at his house – canisters and grenades and many shotguns.
    The good thing about this arrest is that it puts another layer between her and his insanity.
    I am sad she ‘has no father’, and sad for all the non-famous women enduring similar mental parents.

    peace and love

  6. kimpowell said

    If only it was as noble as free speech. News editors love Dokic because he’s a walking pull-quote. They don’t take him seriously, which is why he’s always portrayed as a nut. So instead of the main part of this story being about his threats to blow up the ambassador, the story is about him saying that a bit of a beating never hurt any kid. Well-known men hitting/raping women is still not taken seriously by the media. Look at the fawning by the SMH over Brett Stewart’s return to the field after his suspension (for drunken behaviour, not the alleged sexual assault). Look at convicted woman-beater Wayne Cooper – he’s been given the opportunity to “tell his side of the story” by all the weekend papers.

    http://www.newswithnipples.wordpress.com

  7. [...] I’ve always dismissed Damir Dokic’s loony ravings as the ravings of a loony, but Clem Bastow at The Dawn Chorus makes a great point about Dokic’s “magical world where violent men actually have a right [...]

  8. Penelope said

    Let him speak – and horrify us all with his deluded perspective.

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