“Yeah, of course [the incident] is a distraction. I’m sorry for this and I feel bad for it, but I know everything and me personally can’t wait to move on from it and think about hockey,” said Alex Galchenyuk of the Montreal Canadiens in a media scrum on Wednesday.
Ah yes, the time honored apology from athletes for being a distraction when their personal lives become public news. Yet, Galchenyuk’s case is different than those we have become all too familiar with in recent months.
On Sunday, Galchenyuk, 21, was allegedly punched in the nose and bloodied by his girlfriend after she found he and teammate Devante Smith-Pelly in a hotel room with other women. Police were summoned to the location and proceeded to arrest Galchenyuk’s girlfriend for assault. She has since been released and is awaiting notification of charges.
The perpetual wisdom for far too long has been that only women are victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) because of their society driven role as the ‘fairer sex.’ Then what is to be said about the men, let alone a professional athlete, who experiences IPV?
“… domestic violence against men is often treated like a punchline or something that “real” men should be able to avoid, rather than an all-too-common problem with devastating effects. In this case, some of the more toxic elements of hockey culture are likely to exacerbate the problem of men being mocked and belittled — or at minimum, not taken seriously — when they are abused by an intimate partner.”
This isn’t to say Galchenyuk is a saint. He knows the truth of the situation he put himself in. “He was asking for it” is not a defense. He is still an (alleged) victim of domestic violence.
Now he is the focus of the glare of the Montreal media and is asked questions that clearly make him uncomfortable, as they would anyone else.
Galchenyuk was repeatedly questioned for additional details of the incident and his private meeting with Marc Bergevan. Up front Galchenyuk said he would not speak to because of the personal nature of the event and continued to state that throughout.
Galchenyuk’s situation became like many victims of IPV when he was asked by a reporter if he should expect consequences for his role in what happened. He replied with, “No. It’s an incident in my personal life and that’s what it is.”
Take a second to think about how this story would have been covered had he been the one to punch his girlfriend in the face. Why is he not afforded the same respect as the victim instead of the perpetrator?
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