Chef, Biker, Cyclist, Linux Geek, Environmentalist, Anti-Racist/Fascist, Minimalist and Anti-Consumerist, H'Activist and Blogger, Drugs and Alcohol Mentor and Counsellor, Charity Volunteer, Social Media Trainer. Mildly Christian.
I have links to a local Rescue Shelter (unnamed, for reasons which will become clear) for women rescued from violent and abusive relationships.
On occasion, when a female has expressed a wish to leave an abusive partner but has neither the courage nor opportunity to leave, some women from the shelter go to the address to assist the female in packing, and to provide moral support.
On those occasions, if the abusive / violent / drunk male is also present, I and several friends of mine are on call. We have attended - unofficially - eleven of these rescues, now, and our strategy is very simple. We keep the male in question in the lounge, ensuring that he does not interfere in the process of assisting the female to leave the residence.
Our tactic is simply, firm words, and a small amount of intimidation - hence the 'breaking the law' bit.
We've never been challenged, of course, as abusive males are cowards underneath, plus there are five of us - all bikers, all mean - and that generally has the required effect.
We're all nice guys, usually, it's just that violent wife-beaters piss us off.
If we were ever involved in physical violence, we'd be in legal trouble. Even though several local PCs are aware of our unofficial role and turn a blind eye, it's still a risk.
But so far, that risk has been worth it. This morning I passed by my favourite local coffee shop to see one of the women helpers from the Shelter having a cappucino with the subject female from last night - who has radically changed overnight from a timid, bruised victim to a bubbly women looking forward to a future.
We do this because we can. We have the relevant skills - some of us are ex-Armed Forces, some are serving Prison Officers, all of us are fairly mean bikers. And, as males we feel partly responsible for a culture that allows this to happen. I hate violence against women, any women. Real men love, protect and cherish their lovers.
Last night the drunken, violent thug broke down in tears. But apologising for 10 years of violence wasn't going to change her mind.
Bullies and thugs are always weak inside.
** UPDATE February 2014
The lady mentioned above has a new home with her child, and now has a man that cares for her. Met them today and was filled with joy at the sight of her. :-)
Excellent piece about Victoria Pendleton, who, after her retirement, has recently been involved in bike development, and has launched a range of highly-regarded cycles through Halfords. Hopefully she will maintain her links with sport - I can't imagine a better inspirational coach for the UK's up-and-coming female stars.