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7 deadly reads

Sitdown Sunday: What if your abusive husband is a police officer?

Settle back in a comfy chair and sit back with some of the week’s best longreads.

IT’S A DAY of rest, and you may be in the mood for a quiet corner and a comfy chair.

We’ve hand-picked the week’s best reads for you to savour. 

1. What if your abusive husband is a police officer?

The use of excessive force by police officers is increasingly widely – and rightly – scrutinised. But if a victim’s partner is abusive and works for the police, where does that leave them?

(The New Yorker, approx 39 mins reading time)

Although police departments have become more attentive to officers’ use of excessive force against civilians, the same scrutiny has not been applied to their potential for violent behavior at home. In the nineteen-nineties, researchers found that forty-one per cent of male officers admitted that, in the previous year, they’d been physically aggressive toward their spouses, and nearly ten per cent acknowledged choking, strangling, or using—or threatening to use—a knife or a gun. But there are almost no empirical studies examining the prevalence of this sort of abuse today. 

 2. A young couple’s journey to escape war and reach Europe

Read the story of how a young couple risked their lives to escape the war in Syria to try to reach Europe – even as attitudes to refugees harden on the continent. 

(The Washington Post, approx 16 mins reading time)

They always drive at night. In the moments when the passengers are awake, they sometimes provide the drivers with vivid accounts of life in Syria and the increasingly extraordinary effort required to escape. 

3. What I learned as a woman working with sex offenders

A woman whose job is to evaluate convicted sex offenders discusses how she copes – and what she has learned – from talking to these men every day. 

(The Guardian, approx 11 minutes reading time)

I used to run treatment groups for sex offenders. At the time, my work actually made me less afraid. I genuinely liked many of the guys and knew they respected me, even felt protective of me. Walking home afterwards I felt a sense of security – false, perhaps – that I wouldn’t be attacked by a man who knew I had the phone number of his parole officer. I felt, and still feel, safe, comfortable, and at home around men.

4. Jane Austen and how modern marriage was made

In so many of her novels, Austen turned her eye to the micro-politics of marriage. But the Pride and Prejudice author was writing just as the institution was undergoing a major shift. 

(The Atlantic, approx 11 minutes reading time)

Since Austen’s time, the demands heaped on the institution of marriage have only grown. Nowadays, the ideal spouse is not just a partner in romance, but in self-actualization and personal growth as well. And passing that idealized kind of relationship along to the next generation continues to drive the conversation about what marriage should be.  

5. I talked to my deceased brother through a spiritualist

We live in an age of scepticism, where religion and magic are very much passé. But one writer found herself surprisingly affected when she visited a spiritualist. 

(Buzzfeed, approx 22 mins reading time)

Soon I’d learn about what Spiritualism provided for its followers and practitioners since its conception, as well as what it provided for those who were just curious about it, those who had twenty bucks and a wild idea to go see a medium or psychic. I’d engage in the practices, go on a ghost hunt, release trapped spirits, access my Akashic records. I’d water witch. I’d read some auras. 

6. How Derren Brown re-made mind reading

Let’s continue on the paranormal them. We all know Derren Brown – the mentalist who even sceptics can’t quite disregard. Take a deep dive into his mind and methods. 

(New Yorker, approx 33 mins reading time)

The theme of Brown’s show is that the stories we tell ourselves about who we are and how the world works distort our perception of reality. As a person, Brown may lament that human tendency; as a performer, he relies on it. To be distracted from what a magician is really up to, an audience has to believe the story that’s unfolding. Brown’s gift is for making that surface story believable and compelling. 


In a week when Boris Johnson offered his pitch to the British public at the Conservative Party conference, a classic interview from 1971 with the woman still invoked by many Tories today as their greatest ever leader. 

(The Guardian, approx 12 mins reading time)

“Now,” she said, “why do you go for me much more than you went for my predecessors? Why, why? Why are you doing it?” I didn’t think I was. I would do the same for any Labour minister. And I hadn’t the heart to tell Mrs Thatcher that at a primary school near where I live, the little children have a new chant which goes: Mrs Thatcher, Mrs Thatcher, Milk snatcher. I suppose it’s something that they know her name. Not many ministers of education can have been familiar topics of conversation among eight- and nine-year-olds.
More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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