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I was in an abusive marriage for years. She verbally abused me from the beginning, the physical abuse started about 11 months into the marriage. It started out with slaps on the head for saying or doing something she didn't approve of. Eventually, it escalated into slaps on the body and sometimes in the face. A couple years later, I would sometimes get kicks and punches, including to the face and groin.

Now that I have been out of the marriage a few years, it all seems like a blurry nightmare. Even after a year of counselling, I still don't like to talk about it (I do so here to hopefully help someone else). Anytime I think about it, my body tenses and my mind starts racing. If I don't get it out of my head quickly, a feeling of panic sets in.

I remember being told to "man up" and being laughed at by people, including some of my own family members, who witnessed or heard about her abuse of me. Also, my ex wife was VERY aware of the attitudes and practices of society in general and law enforcement and the courts in particular. She would tell me straight to my face that she would make up a story about me accusing her if I ever called the police. Her sisters told me, again, right to my face, that they would lie to the police and get me arrested. All the things I saw in the media about domestic violence, being portrayed as "men are perpetrators, women are victims" issue just reinforced in me that I would never get a fair treatment if authorities got involved. The final straw that made me give up hope of getting official help came when I called a domestic violence hotline. The counsellor on the phone treated me like I WAS THE PROBLEM. She actually referred me to a batterer's program.

I only got away, finally, from the abuse when I became so depressed and withdrawn that I was having trouble functioning at work. Once my earning utility to her was threatened, I was then useless to her and the marriage ended. I desperately hope that things change dramatically in society. There are A LOT of male victims that need help (and future male victims that are going to need help). There are A LOT of female perpetrators (and male perpetrators in the case of gay couples) that also need help and, where appropriate, punishment. Something has to break the cycle.

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