Domestic abuse can affect anyone. But men who experience domestic abuse often find it hard to ask for help. There is a lot of societal pressure that expects men to act strong and fix their own issues. However, statistics show one in three victims of domestic abuse are men & nearly half of male victims don’t tell anyone about their abuse.
PARAGON works with male victims and, if needed, can place them in a refuge. Below is the story of one of our clients, Richard*. Richard wants to share it to help others who may be a similar situation.
Please be aware that some situations mentioned may be triggers
My relationship with Alice* lasted for 18 years. We met in the local pub, we just clicked and got on well. To begin with the relationship was brilliant; we were both working and enjoyed each other’s company.
Niggles started about 10 years into the relationship. She never had a reason not to trust me but became really jealous and controlling. When we went out, I was often accused of chatting up women. This often resulted in drinks thrown over me. As these behaviours increased, we went out less and less. Arguments would often start at home about nothing, and I felt that I had to prove I wasn’t doing these things.
One evening we went out. I was talking to a male mate who I had not seen in years. Out of the blue she came up to us and threw a drink at me. Alice started shouting at me that I was looking at another woman, which I wasn’t. This incident led us to stop going out altogether in the evening.
Alice would constantly call me at work. She’d say that I was wasn’t at work if I didn’t answer the call. It made me feel rubbish and she would be physically abusive towards me when I got home.
I used to enjoy fishing with my uncle, during these trips Alice would repeatedly call me asking where I was. She’d demand to talk to my uncle to check that he was there. Again, fishing trips became less and less and eventually stopped. I still loved Alice and wanted to make our relationship work, so we agreed to move away and start over.
We had a lovely house and for a few months things were slightly better. But now, looking back, it was probably because I didn’t know anyone, and we spent more time together. The abuse then started again. Calling me names, telling me how I wasn’t any good and also physical assaults. These often started out of nowhere. I left a few times and went to stay with family or friends. However, I’d always return as she would promise to change. She would use her mental health as an excuse for her behaviour and to make me feel guilty about not being with her.
Financial and coercive abuse
I think lockdown made things worse as I had no escape at all. She took over my bank account, took all my wages and put everything in her name. I felt completely trapped. There were a few incidents that I really remember. One day Alice threw a paperweight which hit me in the head. I fell unconscious and when I woke my head was bleeding. I did not seek any medical treatment. I do not remember what started the assault that day.
The worst incident was when she hit me with a glass causing lots of damage to my ear. This time I had to go to hospital due to the injury. The hospital staff were good and realised this was domestic violence. They gave me lots of support. But I didn’t feel able to press charges because of Alice’s illness.
The day I finally left; I was in bed but should have been going to work. She was saying horrible things to me for hours and wouldn’t let me leave. I called a friend asked him to collect me. I packed a bag and walked out. She was begging me to stay and said that she would accuse me of rape if I left her. I went anyway.
My family supported me to go to the council where a housing officer was really good. They recognised that I was a victim of domestic abuse. After that everything was a bit of a whirlwind. The councillor referred me to PARAGON and I was moved into one of their refuges. It was a weight off my shoulders. I knew everything was going to be ok. Since then, I have been supported in getting an ID, universal credit, a bank account, and being rehoused into secure accommodation I am hoping to move on before Christmas and am looking forward to settling into my own home and hopefully return to work.
We’re pleased that Richard sought help and that he is doing much better now. It’s important to understand what domestic abuse is. If you’re scared of your partner, you’re probably experiencing domestic abuse.
* Names have been changed to protect identities.