Brendon's personal story
Friday, September 11, 2015
One in Three Campaign

Like all of you, I have been a victim of domestic violence. And like most all of you I was lead to believe it was all my fault.

I was in a relationship (engaged to be married) to a woman who became one of my best friends for several years before engaging into a relationship with her. She had me convinced she was a funny, smart, easy-going and relaxed, so I fell in love with this side of her.

In the 8 months we were together, we got engaged after just 3 months and found out she was pregnant shortly after. Now I know what you're all thinking "oh this guy couldn't handle a hormonal pregnant women" but I assure you the issues and the violence against me was far from 'just hormones'.

My ex fiance would enter complete raging "tantrums" at the slightest ill-doing, being verbally abusive, and on several occasions physically abusive, throwing all sorts of manner at me, including remote controls, pillows, magazines, books, fists, practically anything that was within reach of her. She became extremely controlling, taking over my personal affairs such as my email, Facebook, and even my online banking account. She would log on to my Facebook, pretending to be me and abuse my friends for the apparent reason that they posted something she didn't like, or they were female friends of mine and we had some sort of chat history. She would check my online bank account daily, check text messages and phone calls on my phone. I couldn't even do the things I loved, surfing and fishing, for the pure reason that I was alone and I might be up to something else. This became so bad the only things I was allowed to do by myself was go to work and go to the local shops within an allocated time frame (often 15 minutes or less and it took at least 5 minutes one way to get to the shop from our house). If I forgot something, I was told I was useless, and I would be a pathetic father to our unborn daughter, I felt about the size of fly scat more often than not.

I wasn't allowed to see my family, or friends as I was told if I did she would leave and take our daughter away to where I couldn't find them. Everything was a threat, everything became an ultimatum of if I did this or that she would beat me, or leave with our daughter, or in some cases she would kill me, and she would describe in great detail how she would do so too. I became terrified of my life, she was so unpredictable I was scared to go home to her.

We'd argued no less then 2 or 3 times per week, often more, about all sorts of things, the majority of them seemed insignificant to me, but to her they were the most important things in the World, she was always right even when she was so evidently wrong.

The mental effects of this constant belittling and abuse was overwhelming to the degree it affected my work performance, my relationships with my family and friends. It got to the point my team leader just had to say something, to give me a card with the phone number of a psychiatrist on it and told me to call them. He could see where I was heading, he could see the dark place I was going and probably wouldn't return from.

After seeing the psychiatrist several times I had my plan, I had to leave, no matter how hard it would be to 'abandon' my daughter, I just had to go. I felt embarrassed and ashamed and blamed to the point suicide seemed an easier option than leaving. I felt so isolated, I couldn't talk to anyone, not my family, not my friends, otherwise she'd know, and God help me what she would've done if she found out I was talking to them about her and our personal life.

I owe my life to making that one phone call, to reaching out and gaining an understanding that violence against men IS NOT O.K. and that you CAN talk to someone, even if you do what I did and saw them during work hours. I never knew violence against men was so common, and knowing now how scary the facts are. If there is one thing I take away from this experience it is that IT IS O.K. to tell someone, if your mates make fun of you, tell someone else, don't give up, there are people who care, and never feel isolated, as so many of us go through it at some stage of our lives.

Article originally appeared on One in Three Campaign (http://www.oneinthree.com.au/).
See website for complete article licensing information.