Nick Kyrgios’s apology isn’t worth a thing - GulfToday

Nick Kyrgios’s apology isn’t worth a thing

Nick Kyrgios

Nick Kyrgios

Katie Edwards, The Independent

If the rise in interest rates and news of the obscene profits of energy companies hasn’t ruined your weekend, then look up the responses to Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios, who assaulted his former girlfriend, Chiara Passari. The court dismissed the charges — meaning that even though he pleaded guilty, he wasn’t convicted. And many on social media seem to think that’s fine.

Kyrgios, the world No 20, was charged with common assault after he shoved Passari during an argument outside her apartment in the Canberra suburb of Kingston in 2021. He then stood over her and remarked “seriously” while she lay on the ground.

The tennis star admitted it, which is a good start — after all, we rarely get to hear famous men actually admitting to assault or domestic violence. At least his lawyers won’t get to tear this woman to pieces. At least she (and we) are spared that. (We know from the Johnny Depp v Amber Heard trial that there’s a voracious public appetite to tear down women who allege domestic violence. A guilty plea, at least, avoids the savage backlash that so often accompanies any allegations of DV by ex-partners of celebrity men.)

But in this case, the backlash has continued anyway. Chiara Passari has become an afterthought in a narrative arc of “a brilliant sportsman finding redemption after great personal suffering”. An image of glorious masculinity brought low, by a woman who just can’t leave it.

“She just can’t shut up.” “She just can’t get out of the way.” “She got what she deserved in the end, though.” “Just a little push! Shoving isn’t even domestic violence! It’s hardly a proper beating! What’s she even complaining about?” “If the assault was so bad then why did she wait so long to report it?” “If he was so abusive, then why did she get back together with him?” “She’s just a bitter gold digger trying to exploit her famous ex and hoping for a decent payday.” Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

To my mind, if you ever want to know what people think — what people really think — about women and domestic violence, then these cases of famous men and their exes tell us everything we need to know. And it’s not pretty.

When it comes to dating, I’d say that expecting someone not to shove their partner is a low bar. Kyrgios was lucky, though, because even though he admitted the assault, the magistrate Beth Campbell considers shoving “at the low end of seriousness for a common assault” — and decided Kyrgios was not at risk of reoffending. Kyrgios, Campbell reckons, “acted in the heat of the moment”.

Oh, give it a rest. If someone can’t control themselves in the heat of the moment during an argument with a partner, then it seems to me they’re probably very much at risk of reoffending.

Kyrgios later issued a written public apology: “I was not in a good place when this took place and I reacted to a difficult situation in a way I deeply regret. I know it wasn’t OK and I’m sincerely sorry for the hurt I caused,” he said.

Kyrgios’s bid to have the assault charge thrown out on mental health grounds was rejected, but he goes on to say, “mental health is tough. Life can seem overwhelming. But I’ve found that getting help and working on myself has helped me to feel better and to be better.”

Mental health isn’t an excuse for domestic violence but it seems that getting into an argument with your girlfriend... is? Have I got that right? At least Kyrgios is feeling better. Has anyone asked Chiara Passari how she’s doing? Thought not.

Kyrgios’s case is yet another reminder that domestic violence against women isn’t just considered relatively trivial, it’s often considered reasonable — even by other women. Isn’t it time to say enough is enough?

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