Thursday, December 3, 2009
One in Three Campaign

My girlfriend’s father was bipolar and committed suicide. Two siblings died of cystic fibrosis. She grew increasingly violent past age 40. Two women who ran the local safe house knew me and her. I taught one of their sons tennis. When I would restrain her she would get marks on her arm and say “we fought”.

A former partner of hers was asked to not bring her to parties because she would drink and get violent. She was wonderful most of the time - kind, sweet, loving, sexy - but she would “go off” unpredictably.

The last time she went off I didn’t restrain her (my mother was extremely abusive and if I didn’t let her hit and slap me, if I ducked, she would get my step-dad after me so I stuck it out with my mom and then with my girlfriend).

I taught self-defence, karate, lifted weights, was in police work but you can’t be on guard 24/7. I decided not to restrain her the last time and she gave me a black eye and split lip (I have had therapy since and understand why I accepted her violence). When the women from the safe house saw me, I explained what had happened. They were sure, because I am male, that I “must have had it coming”. It's a long story but I found a counsellor, a woman, who believed me - social services. Just luck because a lesbian feminist man-hater worked there and for her the guys were always wrong.

Depressed, suicidal, the counsellor told me to walk away for the sake of my two young children. I walked away. Today, happily married, for many years, I can’t believe I put up with it but like women who grew up with abuse and found an abuser, I did the same.

When the women at the safe house were confronted, I told them that if I had pushed her they would have reported me - cops, restraining orders and such - but her blows to my face meant nothing to them. Later one of the women was slapped by her mom. “There is no excuse for DV” didn’t apply to her mom. Her mom had mental health problems. Right. A man slaps and he is a DV perp. A woman does it and there is always an excuse.

Take care.

Article originally appeared on One in Three Campaign (
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