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If you are a male victim of family violence - domestic violence, violence from other family members, child abuse, elder abuse, sexual assault, or other forms of family violence and abuse - this page is available for you to tell your anonymous story. Please click here to tell your own story. If you feel like you need support, please click here. Stories are moderated to prevent the posting of spam, so it might take a little while for your story to appear on this page.
PERSONAL STORIES FROM MALE VICTIMS OF FAMILY VIOLENCE AND ABUSE
I was married for over 10 years. We had our first child and I noticed that as a couple we started to disagree over things more and more. I passed it off as nothing more than small domestic quarrels that any couple would have. The quarrels became worse. I sought the help from a psychologist to try and understand what I could do to improve our situation. I was advised to stand up for myself and make a stand against my wife if I thought she was being unreasonable. I definitely had to take a stand against her abuse and was told that even in marriage I did not have to tolerate being spoken to like this. I did this and things improved slightly. We had a second child a few years later. Things really escalated one night when I came home from work to the sounds of screaming. I found my 4 year old son lying prone on the bathroom floor crying and holding his arm. When I asked what had happened, my wife responded “well he wet his pants didn't he”. I asked if she had hit him. She replied 'well he has to learn that it's wrong doesn't he". She was standing over him and shouting at him how bad he had been. I asked her to get away from him. She did and she calmed down but our relationship worsened from this day.
I attempted to get her help but after only two sessions with the psychologist my wife became argumentative with the psychologist and refused all recommended ongoing treatment. After this I sunk into my own institutional depressive state. I didn't know what to do as the power and control my wife was exerting over my children and myself became obsessive. I had a great relationship with my son but my young daughter was alienated from me within our own marriage. It was a living hell. I was not even allowed to take my daughter out to the shops on my own. My wife would come up with every excuse possible as to why our daughter could not leave the house.
I wanted out of the marriage and my lawyer suggested I take the children and leave. The problem was there was nowhere to go. All the domestic violence support services were setup for women and as a man there was little they could do for my situation. I had to stay in this terrible marriage until I could afford to leave, so that was my plan.
In the lead up to me leaving the marriage, I moved into the spare bedroom and became separated under the one roof. This is where the domestic violence really became frightening. My wife would come past my door at night and kick and scream through the door. One night she whispered under the door that I had better watch my back and that her father in law would be called to come and sort me out. This situation was crazy. I look back in disbelief that I didn't get out sooner.
I eventually left the marriage and moved into a rented house. Through mediation my now very bitter ex refused to allow the children to come and spend time with me. The whole essence of me leaving this controlling narcissistic woman was to have my kids in a shared care arrangement where they could be safe (at least half the time) and free from the hostility of an environment where their parents were in a toxic relationship. So we ended up in court where I was awarded a shared care arrangement.
My ex wife has never accepted the judges decision. Whilst she generally complies with the orders and the shared care arrangements, she still denies that her actions were wrong and still to this day tries controlling and power exertion techniques over me and my children. There is little more I can do unless she breaks the law or the consent orders. I live only with the hope that she will leave me alone, leave my kids alone or the law changes whereby psychological abuse and threatening behaviour by a female perpetrator is more widely acknowledged and acted on through the court process.
My advice to anyone experiencing the same sort of abuse. Get out. Leave as soon as you can. No-one has the right to treat you this way, not even your closest partner. Kids need healthy happy parents and if you are in a toxic relationship and that is witnessed by your children, then they are being harmed. For your sake and their sake, leave. Life is too short.
I have watched over the last 4 years as my son was slowly manipulated and downtrodden by his now ex. It started with her picking arguements with his family and demanding that he take sides. It then moved onto telling him that his friends were trying to make a move on her, all the while telling him how badly abused she was in past relationships and by her parents.
The next stage was falling pregnant although no-one ever saw any evidence of it, not even him she knew how desperately he wanted children. Unfortunately they lost the baby and this opened the door for her to accuse our family of claiming that her pregnancy was faked. This was enough for the family bonds to be seriously shattered, he no longer trusted his family or friends. He was also of the understanding that he couldn't talk to her family either because he was convinced that her family had abandoned her and couldn't be trusted. Mission accomplished - he now had no-one left in his world that he felt he could trust.
The next stage was to convince him that they were being alienated by people in the town we live in, as its a small rural town it was easy for her to do this, before long we got a phone call from him saying they were moving and would tell us where when they were ready. I couldn't believe that our world had been turned upside down so quickly and that he couldn't see what was happening, she had already kicked him out on three separate occasions for things like inviting two of his work mates to their house while she was out at the movies with a friend and not telling her about an ex girlfriend that he'd had in secondary school. It all made very little sense.
Before they left we found out they were pregnant again, they had a farewell party which only her friends and family were invited to and then they were gone. Some months later we received a phone call that our son had been in an accident he was ok but she just thought we should know. We were allowed to go see them, after this we started getting calls asking for help in various ways.
It came closer to time for the baby to be born and the contact increased. After the baby came it wasn't long before she started ringing to tell us that she was sending our son back to live with us because he wasn't being responsible enough or supporting her. On a number of occasions I asked him what was going on, he was very reluctant to talk about it but on almost every occasion I rang he was at home with the baby and she was out somewhere and she never did make him leave.
Eventually they moved back to our town and lived with us for a short time. They moved into their own place and the whole process of drama started again. Then she moved out leaving my son with debts he us still struggling to meet and he is having a bit of trouble getting work. He is still trying to keep her happy. He jumps when she says so and even helps to look after her new partners kids because he doesn't want his child to go without because of adult behaviour.
The saddest part is he can no longer sleep in bed as he wasn't allowed. He has no self esteem and he still doesn't trust his family. He tells us lies to keep the peace and she now has two men making sure her world works for her because its bloody hard work when she's upset because everyone pays and she finds excuses for keeping my son's child away from him like he's not mentally stable enough and he can't even look after himself so how can he care for a child. And yet he still believes her every word because he says he can't help who he fell in love with.
I just submitted this letter to the Sydney Morning Herald …
It's beyond tragic that on White Ribbon Day I listened to my friend describe her day in court yesterday when her husband appeared on a charge of breaching his AVO by repeatedly physically attacking her in their home. It seems unbelievable, but sadly true, that all charges against him were dropped, with no AVO remaining in place to protect her, because according to the police prosecutor “he just won't obey it anyway”. In a very real sense, this adds insult to injury with the months of physical, verbal, emotional and financial abuse that my friend has endured. In court she was not allowed to speak. “Victim impact statements are for juries”, the magistrate said. The police prosecutor colluded with the defence lawyer and did not call on my friend to speak and didn't present any evidence of the repeated attacks that police attended. She is now numb in the realisation that her husband is free to return to their home and continue his abuse and she now genuinely fears for her life. She has lost all faith in the legal system's interest in her well-being and ability to protect her. She has nowhere to turn. The police's advice to her is to just move out. But where can she go? The financial abuse means she will be homeless. My email to Pru Goward, NSW Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, was deftly buck-passed with “this matter falls within the administration of the Minister for Police and the Attorney General” and was forwarded to them. They have not responded.
How can this happen in 2016 you might ask? Now read the paragraph above again but swap the words “her” and “his”, “she” and “he”, “wife” and “husband” and you'll get the real story. White Ribbon Day is entirely necessary and violence against women and children must be stopped. But a substantial proportion of domestic violence is committed against men and remains largely unacknowledged. A man who physically defends himself immediately risks becoming viewed as the perpetrator. Even the NSW Family and Community Services web site repeatedly ignores male victims, for example their “Staying Home Leaving Violence program” that “helps women and children stay in the family home.” As my friend says, as a male victim of domestic violence, he simply doesn't exist.
Where do I start?............ My story begins as a child, observing, witnessing and occasionally interjecting as my parents fought, argued and abused each other over money, jobs, family, friends and beliefs, all whilst the "family" was shipped around the country.
My father's self-destructing behaviour saw him dragged away by police in front of us and imprisoned on fraud changes on at least two occasions. My mother fought hard to hold the family together, often living below the poverty line, whilst fighting her own demons of abusive and alcoholic parents. Her "Faith" as a Roman Catholic seemed to be her saving grace, though was also one of the catalysts for her on-going acceptance and endurance of her (and her children's) traumatic existence and unstable life and marriage.
As an adolescent, I vowed that I would not end up in a violent relationship such as my parents and that I would find my Life-partner and Best Friend, marry her, and travel life's journey as each other's champion. I have always been a lover, rather than a fighter.
The pact I made seemed to come to fruition, as I met "the girl of my dreams" as a teenager. We dated through high school and I was going to marry her! But, for many reasons, we chose to have a break for a short time. We never got back together. I dated different girls over the following years, until I met my wife 25 years ago.
From the beginning, there were signs of abusive and unwarranted behaviour from my her. My friends (and family) warned me that all was not right in our relationship, but, as an "all knowing and stubborn" young man, I knew better. Even on the day of our wedding, my mother asked me, "Are you sure?".......... right then I knew the answer, but did not have the heart or courage to answer her honestly, or myself....
FEAR, and a lack of confidence and self-worth, have controlled my life and been the determining factor in many decisions, and my relationship with my wife and marriage are living proof of this. The abuse started as random outbursts, and seemed to coincide with her monthly cycle, so I waved off the emotional and irrational behaviour and verbal abuse as "that time of the month".
I should have left the relationship the first time she slapped me, in front of our friends inside a nightclub, all because I told her that I was going out with my mates the following night. I was shocked and hurt, but defended her actions. Or when her father slapped me in the face because I asked for her parent's permission to go on a Pacific Holiday with her when we were 20. The signs were there, but I did not have the courage to leave, and I had been conditioned from my childhood experiences that you forgive and forget.
So today, 25 years later, we have three beautiful children, who are being taught what a relationship is, what a marriage represents, how to relate and communicate with others, and that verbal and emotional abuse and putdowns are all part of life.................. shame on me!!!! I have contributed to the on-going cycle that I was subject to as a child. I am passing on the baton of abuse and I am contributing to my children's blue-print of life and relationships, and I do not have the courage the break it!
Right now, as I write, I feel an over-whelming guilt and sense of helplessness. I know my relationship is wrong, I know that things need to change, but I cannot find the line...... the line that gets crossed that finally makes you say "enough is enough!"
I am not perfect. I have made mistakes, but I have looked for answers. I have tried to ignore the attacks, I have defended myself (both verbally and physically), I have turned my back on family, friends and work colleagues, anything to try and stem the on-going trauma. I have slept more nights in either my car or on the couch than my own bed. I have been to counsellors and professionals, the police have been to our house. I have contemplated suicide on more than one occasion, and I have wished and prayed that one or both of us would have a fatal accident and die, just to find sanctuary and peace.
On the outside, I am this fun-loving, caring happy-go-lucky guy that loves people and life........... but every night when I turn into my street and approach my house, a sense of depression and helplessness surfaces. My guard is up, and the unknown conflict inside the house is about to be revealed. The ridiculous thing about all of this is that I do care about my wife, that we do have an active sex life, that I do not want to hurt her and that I worry about why she is the way she is, and why she is so sad within herself? And what have I done so wrong to her to make her act the way she does? What have our children done to deserve the life they have at home? ........... The answer is?
I do not make my wife abusive and unstable, she does! Yes, I contribute to the situation, but I do not control her. Unfortunately, she does not control herself either. I have fought the symptom for years, but have not addressed the illness, or discovered the cure. I know this and write this, but how do I address it? For my sake, my children's sake, and for my wife's sake?
Something needs to change, and there lies my issue, it will take action.........but I am scared. Overcome my fear, and I begin to break the cycle. It sounds easy from the outside, but if you are reading this, you know it does not come easily. And I, like you all, have something to fight for......... some peace, some resolution, and our families.
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