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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

Wednesday
Aug032011

Lee

I was in a 13 year relationship that ended a few years ago in a divorce. Like most relationships, we had our ups and downs, but things were relatively fine for the most part for the first few years. The trouble began within weeks of our marriage. My then wife had always been a very strong-willed person who demanded things be her way all of the time. For the most part, I was happy to play along, because in most cases I didn't see that I would lose or gain anything by arguing the point too strenuously over issues that I felt were quite trivial to say the least.

The abuse began verbally at first. I'd be called lazy if I didn't jump to it when my ex wanted me to do something, regardless of how busy I was. Everything I did was scrutinised and criticised without a word of encouragement. In general, I tried to avoid arguments and see that my ex's needs were being met, but as the frustration in me grew, and as my needs were continually being pushed further aside, it came to a point where I felt it was important to assert myself a little, just to create a little breathing space. From that point on, the verbal abuse started to get worse, and very personal.

Unknown to me at the time, my ex was going to my family members leaving hints that I was being abusive towards her. This was happening even though I had never been critical of her, and had always tried to find some middle ground. I never hit my ex-wife, and never even threatened her. In public, she presented herself as vulnerable and if I wasn't there, she'd present herself as a victim. In private, I'd attempt to walk away from arguments, only to be pursued, threatened and taunted.

After nearly 8 years of this I'd had enough, and our arguments grew louder, and the language worse. Again, I never abused my ex wife, but I'll admit that I had reached the stage where I felt I needed to shout to make myself heard. I am not proud of this, and I regret that this allowed the children to be witnesses to the troubles my ex and I were having. I attempted to seek relationship counselling and was told by the counsellor that I would need to give into everything my ex-wife wanted if I was committed to keeping her around. I would have done anything to save my marriage, sad though it was, and to protect the children we had from the inevitable pain that was to follow. I gave in, swallowed my pride and did everything she asked.

In the end, I had to draw a line when my ex-wife insisted that I needed to physically punish our children. The eldest in particular was reacting to the stress in his life, and my ex would insist that I either hit him, or leave him outside without adequate clothing in the winter. In the summer if I wasn't around, I learned that she would lock the children outside without access to food or drink on 40 degree days, without adequate clothing to shade themselves. Naturally I tried to put a stop to this, and that's when the arguing began again.

In the last two years of the marriage, I had noticed myself waking with bruises, and had woken a few times after feeling something hitting me in the head and face. I started to sleep lightly. At first I'd started to believe that I had hit my head on the side table as I slept, or I would wake up on the floor thinking I'd fallen out of bed. It turns out that my ex had been attacking me during the night, hitting me in the face with her elbow, and pushing me out of the bed so that I would effectively hurt "myself." During one particular night, I remember finding it very difficult to go to sleep, and a couple of hours later, as I lay on my back, I saw my ex-wife swinging her elbow at me. I'd known she was awake because her breathing had been quite too fast and loud to have been real sleep. I moved a little late and her elbow connected just below my ear. She pretended that the move had "woken her up", but I knew differently. My sleep had been quite bad for several years, but during the last couple of years of our marriage, I slept seldom, and woke up extremely nervous. Needless to say the lack of sleep was detrimental to my health, my nerves, and left me fatigued and short tempered.

I began to make plans to leave her. I started looking into hiring a lawyer and trying to find help for myself and the kids. I think that my ex must have become aware of this because she started to make sure I was not alone when I used my computer. I became angry with her for not giving me a little space, and I took steps to ensure I could be alone by removing the power from her computer's monitor. She confronted me about this, and then refused to leave the room when I told her I was busy, having expected her to do her evening workout as she would usually do. She refused to comply and started needling me, taunting and goading until I eventually asked her if I would need to destroy her computer simply so that I could be alone.

In hindsight, that was probably a silly thing to say, and was later used as "evidence" that I was abusive and threatening her. One week later, she predictably started a fight in front of the children, and during the course of the fighting I attempted to remove the children from the room. She grabbed them and at one point her arm was around one of the boys necks. She was so focussed on thwarting me that she didn't even realise that she was choking her own child. After telling her to let go and that she was hurting our sons, I did the only thing I could, and this is the only time I ever laid a hand on her in either anger or fear. I grabbed her wrists, applied a little pressure, and lifted her arms off the boys. I had overpowered her, and at that point she looked at me with what I can only describe as "murderous hatred". She then put on the biggest performance I had ever seen, and made out like I was hurting her. My boys reacted to this and clung to her more tightly, and as I tried to move the boys away from her, she literally threw herself on the floor and pretended that I had done it to her!

She had been abusing me for nearly 10 years, and I had in only a matter of moments ended up in the middle of a situation where suddenly it looked like I was the bad guy. She made a call to some sort of women's crisis line, and the next day she left, draining our bank accounts, and taking the kids away from my parents who were looking after them that day. Two days later, I had a police officer deliver a document telling me that a restraining order was being taken out against me and that I had only a few days if I wanted to contest it. The account on the order was entirely fabricated, but to make things worse, my entire family had up until that day believed that I had been an abusive husband and father. It was only a combination of circumstances that allowed me to prove to them that I had done nothing wrong.

For 10 years my ex had worked hard to destroy my reputation with friends, in the workplace, and with my own family. I had no-one to turn to, and at every turn I had to battle with police, courts, psychologists, lawyers, the kids' school, work, and everyone else who bought into her lies. I was alone, and had a battle to try and protect my kids from further harm. I reached some very dark places within myself before I was finally able to convince others that I was not the person I had been painted to be. It was lucky for me that it was my ex herself that went a few steps too far and created the opportunities that I needed to defend myself.

I'm 41 years old, and have spent about a 3rd of my life the victim of abuse. It's been a long and hard journey over the last 4 years to reach a point of acceptance within myself. I consider myself lucky, and in some ways my situation probably sounds tame compared to some of the other accounts that I have read. Like others though, I have had to battle with anxiety and depression. The net result is that I am financially crippled, and on more medications than anyone should be taking. My health has suffered dramatically. Even so, I consider myself lucky, and I feel stronger because I have found it within myself to battle on and find a way out of the mess of pain I have existed in for nearly 14 years. I feel that my honour is intact, and I have worked tirelessly on my kids to ensure that they can grow up as normally as possible even though their mother is not a very nice person (something I would NEVER suggest to them). I'm lucky because I was able to make a strong enough case so that I can in the end enjoy a significant amount of time regularly with my kids, and that I have my extended family back again.

I no longer feel embarrassed about what happened to me. If anything, I feel I have grown to be more of a man as a result not only of surviving the experience, but also in the way I have conducted myself throughout. If I have any advice for any of you other 'survivors' out there, it is that you should be able to look back at how you conducted yourself, and if you honestly did everything you could to behave with honour and integrity, then there is no shame to be felt. Hold your head high and believe in yourself, and don't feel that you are less of a man for allowing yourself to be a victim of abuse. Feel that you are more of a man for staying true to yourself.

And I hope that instead of painting future relationships badly, that you can see that not all women are crazy, and that you do not need to fear what your future may bring to you. Seek help, talk to your GP, get medication and counselling if you need it, and learn to grow stronger from your experiences, rather than being weakened by them. Don't listen to those insensitive people who tell you to suck it up, because they themselves can never truly understand what you have been through. Remember too, that it is up to you to be willing to help yourself to grow stronger from the experience, but you also need to be willing to ignore the potential for shame and pride to get in the way of receiving the help that you deserve.

You are not alone, and I wish you all the best.

Monday
Jul252011

Burto

I was married for 24 years, mentally and physically abused. When I tried to leave early on, her parents told me they would use all their money and contacts in the masons lodge and associated legal persons to make sure I would never see my children again. I could not and would not leave them solely in her care. She thought it was OK to hit them across the head, arms, legs and so-on. She was even investigated once from a report from a local person.

Now once the children came of age I split, only failed my daughter by two weeks short of her 18th birthday. My ex-wife cornered our son's fiance in a corner of his bedroom screaming and raving, this destroyed any chance they had. This was the final straw for me, causing severe distress as my son had thoughts of suicide from losing his fiance. I never thought I could become that shattered - my nerves are stiil shot. As a man I was raised to be strong.

Now comes the ridiculous part: because I was the main income provider, and she refuses to work, the children are in their 20s and stayed with me until she forced the sale of the house to get us out of our "cosy little habitat" (her words). Under the current laws her future needs outway mine and I have to give her most of my superanuation and most of the money from the house sale although I am classified as 13.8 percent disabled due to shoulder injury but can still work living on painkillers. She has no physical issues whatsoever and quit her job when I tried to get it settled in court - I am reliably informed she did this to get a greater portion of the settlement which has been going on for three and a half years. So apparently she should get 60 percent. How can this be fair in any way whatsoever?

The courts are forcing men to put up with abuse or lose everything they have worked their whole lives for. I am 50 now and can never recover from that much loss.

Thursday
Jun232011

Jack

I was with her for ten years. There are so many stories to tell.

My children, 14 and 5, experience the emotional abuse, but I can do nothing to stop her because I have to wait for court. 11 months and we're still going. The mediation centre told me that they don't do mediation for abuse, they send it straight to court, but they are making me do it. I questioned this, and she told me she thought it might help. That makes no sense, if I was a woman, this decision would not have even been considered. It would have been straight to court.

I experienced emotional abuse for the most part. She is a pastor of a church, and a real charming person in public. Behind closed doors, so even my kids didn't really see it, she was an abusive person. My children were trained to be part of the abuse - ignoring me, challenging my authority as a parent, made to feel afraid of me. I will keep working on this part... with strong boundaries, patience and courage, I hope one day they realise the error of this.

The abuse started about two years into the relationship. She king hit me from behind, I pushed her as she had trapped me in a room, and scratched her. She told everyone I abused her.

She constantly threatened me in all manner of ways - locking me out of the house, locking me in rooms, sitting on me, screaming in my face, pushing me, shoving me, hitting me, holding me against walls. All the while, everyone believed her story. She has hit me twice in front of our daughter, she cheated on me and blamed me. I had post traumatic stress disorder from a client trying to kill me, and she tried to tell me I was mean to her whilst unwell and forgot the times I did it, no I didn't.

She cheated on me again. She threatened to kill herself. She takes my children away when I don't agree with her, or believe her stories. She is today throwing away all my belongings because I 'forfeited' them, whatever that means. The big issue with her is lying and severe emotional abuse. "I love you, but you don't love me enough, I love you, but you don't do this for me, I'm angry because you made me angry, I hit because you made me hit you, I hurt you and said those things cause you made me angry." Or she just lies, and says she didn't do it.

I have been out of the relationship for eleven months, but I am still not free. She has taken everything from me - my car (she had her own), my children, my belongings, my friends and then she tried my family. She still sends me abusive messages most days. She constantly tells me what is wrong with me. She makes excuses for me to not see my kids.

The only times I did anything back - the time I mentioned earlier - once when she was screaming at me and telling me I was crazy over and over again whilst being about five centimetres from my face and trapping me on the lounge, so I pushed her to get away after half an hour of this abuse. I sat on her to take pills she was trying to swallow to kill herself and I smashed a guitar in anger once, not at her, just in general. I never hit her, or harmed her. When I told her I would call the police, she would laugh at me and tell me they would arrest me (just as my father used to say to me).

She is very good at waiting until no-one can hear her, not even my children see most of it. I told two friends in the whole time we were together - one guessed because I was covered in bruises on my body, and the other person I just told. No one said or did anything. People still 11 months later bad-mouth me based on her lies and deceipt. Her story changes about what is wrong with me all the time - usually it involves me having borderline personality disorder, or abusing her, or hurting my children. None of which is true, but she continues to perpetuate it.

The sad thing is - I can see how she could be good, but she just isn't. I had to quit a job for a fake illness - she said she was having seizures, they were fake. The hospital told me. She told me she was raped - it was a lie, she wasn't. She told me she didn't have sex but she got pregnant, she lied. I could go on.... But, ya know, ultimately, I don't want to bitch about her.

I just want to be free of her abuse. Some days it feels endless, like I will never know peace again. I will never experience joy without the anxiety of what will she do next. I will never be safe.

Everytime I hear my phone ring, I see an email, I hear a voice, I see certain triggers... I collapse in a heap on the floor, I panic, I feel my hands shake, my heart beats at a pace not natural, I begin to shallow breathe, my eyes dart rapidly, and I cannot focus on a thing. Sometimes, no, often, I am suicidal.

My head hurts a lot of the time from the stress of worrying about what will happen next, what abuse can possibly happen now, she has done everything she possibly can to hurt me, and then she finds one more way to attack...

Will I ever be free, will I ever not have this fear?

Monday
May232011

Shyian

I am a father of five and worked long hours to feed, provide shelter and clothe the children and their mum.

I had been married to my partner for 12 years. During those 12 years I experienced trauma in my life and even today I still recall all the traumatic experiences that had such a negative impact on my life.

I had been threatened by my wife in 1999 that if I had separated from her, she would ask her relatives to kill me or if I was not killed she would ask her relatives to kill my family members.

I had been continuously harassed at my workplaces. My partner would come to my workplace and harass or verbally abuse me. In 2002 I had been continuously living in fear from the constant use of weapons (knives, stones and wood). My partner actually missed me with knives on a number of occasions. At one point in time she raised a knife to cut me on the head but I quickly avoided the knife, then a year later she missed me with a pocket knife, almost stabbing me on the tummy.

In 2001 she was 3/4 months pregnant and forced me to terminate the pregnancy. I refused and left. After 4 weeks she self-terminated the pregnancy and again in 2005 while studying in Townsville I was told to return because my partner was sick. I withdrew from studies and left for home.

At home my partner arranged for termination of the pregnancy in the house in my room without my consent. I was left in shock and confused.

In 2008 she threatened to terminate the pregnancy when she was 6 months pregnant.

I was late to report this to the relevant authorities because the Australian system is a new system for me and I thought it was shameful to report such a matter to the authorities.

Earlier this year while studying, she accused me of seeing a neighbour and had threatened to break the windscreen of the car while I was in it. I decided I needed a break and asked her to pick up and leave.

I really did not realise how much the trauma had affected my work. I was always having extreme anxiety...

I hope people out there can share with me their experiences.

Wednesday
Nov242010

Anonymous

I remember the first time my (now-ex) wife threw something at me. It was a bag of frozen peas. They were all that were in the freezer in the basement, but she'd asked for carrots (even though we didn't have any). Fortunately I didn't lose my balance and fall. Some time later one of the kids was being fussy about food, and I gave him five minutes to finish. She came roaring in from the other room, overriding my decision as she shoved me out of the way and dragging him off his chair to drag him down the hall for a bath.

I left after one day when we were walking to MacDonalds, where we were going to meet her, and one of the kids asked if they could play on the play structure. Knowing how she was about germs in such places I said "let's wait till we meet mommy and see what's going on." One of the kids pointed out "yes, we have to wait because we all know mommies are the bosses." I had completely lost my authority with the kids, and looked up the DIY divorce papers later that day.

After separation, I planned to drop the kids off after my weekend, and went into their room while picking them up to get their socks and underwear. As the kids went outside to play in the street, she barricaded me in their room, holding a broom across the door and refused to let me out until I put the underwear and socks back, as I was NOT to be permitted to have them overnight Sunday. She refused to listen or budge as I pointed out the kids could be close to the busier street unsupervised. When I put my hand on the broom to move it out of the way, she said "Go ahead, touch it and I'll have the police on you." Knowing from many other men's experiences how biased the police and courts are, I put the underwear and socks back, and gave up on Sunday night dinner with the kids.

Not long after, I picked them up again. This time I wanted the video camera, to copy the tapes so I'd have the memories of when they were young, too. I'd just had knee surgery. When I picked up the camera out of a cupboard she slammed the cupboard door on my hand, then crash tackled me. As I could barely stand I grabbed the wall, and pushed myself to vertical so as not to further damage my knee. She fell off my back, snatching the camera and telling me I'd never see those videos. In too much pain to argue, I left, but sagely went straight to the police station to document the injury to my hand. By the time the AVO summons came from her lawyer, I had already filed mine in anticipation. It became a Mexican standoff, thankfully, rather than the disaster it would have been if I had not been able to show at least some evidence that I'd been acting in self-defence. An AVO would have pretty much ended my professional career.

The horrific biases against men have been fully revealed to me through the abuses of the court system and the Child Support Agency, the stress of which has surely shaved a number of years off of my life. I've listened to the glee with which CSA representatives describe in detail how they'll seize my assets and prevent me from ever seeing the kids again if I don't cough up money I don't have. I've reported her lawyer to the Law Society for lying - in writing - to the police about "proceedings before the court" that never existed, which lie resulted in me being unable to protect my sons against her boyfriend's violence, because I was "making it up." The result? Nothing. That old saw about knowing a lawyer is lying by virtue of the fact that his lips are moving needs to be extended to 'fingers typing' as well, it seems.

Photos of my boys with bruises from her new partner? DOCS NSW said "it's not serious enough, we have much worse cases to spend our time on." If your first thought after reading that is "yes, probably females," then you're exactly where I was after writing it. Maybe that shouldn't be the case, but the fact that it is, is telling.

As long as the rhetoric continues around male violence toward women, and not the 3 other types that exist (M/M, F/M and F/F), our sons will continue to grow up not only without effective fathers, but into a world where they've been trained to accept that violence against them will never be dealt with. The helplessness they experience faced with a system that treats them as rubbish cannot possibly help them to integrate well into society. Rather, it increases their risk of lashing out, out of sheer frustration if nothing else. And thus, the campaigns to reduce violence by ignoring reality and blaming men will do nothing but be self-fulfilling prophecy that do the opposite of what they are intended to do. Only when *everyone* has a sense of safety and justice will the violence that comes from fear and frustration stop.