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A substantial part of my inability to confine those horrid events to a contained memory with little day-to-day impact is the repeated denial by government, social services, the media and outspoken domestic violence protagonists of even the existence of serious female abuse of their male partners. Thus each time the topic of spousal, and particularly of sexual misbehaviour is mentioned and I happen to see or hear it, I feel personally marginalised and diminished. The knife is again turned in the wound - it cannot heal. I am routinely classified as the emotional, physical and sexual abuser within troubled relationships because I am male. It is a recurring insult. It is a potent reminder of the utterly powerless despair I felt so many years ago.



We lost our first child at the age of 4 months. It was absolutely devastating. We both ended up being very angry people, furious actually enraged even.. at the Surgeon at the Health Systems misdiagnosis and all sorts of things.

My anger leaked out at work and on the sports field. Hers leaked out at home and in the relationship. Her fear of further loss calcified into extreme unrelenting jealousy which manifested itself with devastating false accusations and allegations - If a lingerie advertisement was on television I would be harassed and harangued for days on end. If I joked or laughed with another women be it a shop assistant or employees wife when they phoned I would be accused of having affairs and I would experience a tirade of abuse for weeks.

I would have to creep stealthily out of bed to go to work everyday so as to not wake her up. I could not go to bed early and if I did would be awoken and kept awake until the early hours going over and over why I might have been held up from work in a traffic jam and who I might have been perving at in the car alongside.

I was isolated entirely from my family and friends and yet was expected to be fully and overly involved with hers.

I was petrified to come home from work and would see her car in the drive and have to drive away and sit for an hour or so by myself to prepare for the likely barrage to come.

I lived in terror walking on eggshells around her for nigh on 20 years. I attempted suicide a number of times.

Thinking there was something inherently wrong with me I attended an anger management course and learnt lots of strategies to take responsibility for protecting our children from witnessing this violence and abuse.

On one occasion when taking time out appropriately she headlocked me from behind and held a chisel to my throat. The day I finally left, as I walked out the door she threw a knife at my back - luckily for me it hit sideways.

In therapy I have learned about replicating the abuse in my life I had experienced as a child and how I had partnered with someone who continued to shame me as had been done from early child hood by both my parents.

I have been blessed with opportunities to be able to address my own issues to become, as best I can be, a respectful, fully functioning human being. Unfortunately my former wife has not chosen to address her issues and has moved from relationship to relationship continuing her violence to men by throwing a boiling jug of water on one and taking a hammer to another.

The tears flood my eyes as I recall these events and yet somehow, some way, I have learnt to hold no bitterness towards her. She is our children's mum and I wish her all the best in her life.


Son, talking about parents

Never, never in her life. Up until dad left, she held the reins in the house. It was unbearable; her pedantic scrutinies were like police interrogations. He practically made the bloody money, he would give her the lot and than beg for pocket money. And he made a lot of money, I couldn't believe that he had to go through all that. Even doing the shopping a day late would upset her, and would lead to a grand fight. Every one knew of her moods, and dad played always by ear and we managed to get by with little disruption on her part. But there were times when it didn't work. Then... poor dad. I had seen him walking naked in the back yard at night all upset and embarrassed; and I had seen him crawling under the bed to escape her vicious attacks, and I have seen him nursing his fresh wounds in the toilet, and he would say no word against her... When he left mom, I was very sad because I knew that I would miss him, but I felt also happy, because I knew that he was a decent man and that he deserved better.


Son, talking about father

Most fights I remember happened around the table, in the lounge or in the car. In most cases the slap, kick or punch came out of the blue, out of nowhere, almost without a reason. I remember dad reacting always by complaining: ‘What have I done to deserve this!’, ‘Why did you do that’, or ‘What have I done again?’. Then he would whine and push and shove while she would continue with her calculated attacks, until he... I mean he had enough. Often he would run injured to the bedroom and lock up the door. Mom's usual reaction was: ‘Don't worry, he'll get over it soon’.



After I had ended my relationship with this woman, she still had a key to my house. She kept on letting herself in when I was home. I managed to persuade her to hand over the key. I had a spare one hidden. She found it and began to use that. I felt I was being stalked. I would wake up in the morning and she would be in the house. But as a man I don't have any right to use the power that I have - which is physical. If I had thrown her out the door she would have gone to the police and they would have said, ‘what did he do to you?’ and I would be in gaol. I stopped leaving a spare key outside, and then one day she smashed the front door in. It was as though she was telling me that she owned me. I had no privacy, no sanctuary from her - not even my own bed. My programming as a man meant that I was unable, physically, to push her away. A woman can overpower a man and he has no recourse in society. Therefore he has nowhere to go.