Recently, I had a man called Jeremy get in touch with me to share his story as a victim of domestic abuse. I thought this would be a good opportunity to address the misconception that domestic abuse does not happen to men, or is not as damaging. I’ve found over the years that there are so many people that will only acknowledge domestic abuse as a danger to women, which is far from the case.
There are 2.2 million male victims of domestic abuse in the UK, and 52% of those state they stay in these relationships because they are embarrassed to leave. There is a huge issue facing society in that male victims are often left in the dark, with fear of not being taken seriously. Despite the 2.2 million male victims of domestic abuse, there are only enough refuge places for just over 100 males in the UK. So, not only do males have to struggle with the fear of opening up with the abuse they experience, when it comes to finding a safe shelter, the places are limited meaning they may have to move away from family, work, and leave behind the life they knew before.
I hope you keep these facts in mind while reading the story from the brave Jeremy, and adapt the view that it doesn’t matter who the perpetrator may be – there is no excuse for abuse.
“I met a beautiful young woman at work and asked her out. She accepted. A few dates and I was completely smitten. I wound up moving in with her a few months later. All was well until our first real fight. I don’t remember what we were arguing about, just that it got more heated than any of our previous disagreements.
We were shouting at one another when my ex slapped me. It stopped me dead. I had never been slapped by a partner before and it had me completely startled. It had never even occurred to me that someone in a relationship would hit their partner. The argument ended there as I couldn’t get my head around what had just happened. After I had regained my composure I thought about what had happened and convinced myself it was just a heat of the moment thing that would likely never happen again.
The next time my ex hit me was while I was driving. I immediately pulled over. She started wailing on me, so I got out of the car. She attempted to chase me down and I ran off. When she realised she couldn’t catch up to me, she started screaming, then ran into traffic. I dashed out and pulled her out of the way of a car. Now I was in range. She grabbed me by the arms, digging her nails into my skin and screamed at me. When she had had enough of that, she pushed me into our parked car, banging my head off the car door and giving me a nice bruise. She continued to yell at me until the cops came. She admitted to everything and seemed to think that the cops would be on her side because “he made me feel angry.” They asked if I wanted her arrested and I said no. The officer told me that he would have to log what had happened because they had been responding to a 911 call a motorist passing by must have made, and if they were called again about us, they would have no choice but to make an arrest.
It must have scared her because she didn’t physically assault me again for almost 2 years. The abuse didn’t stop, though. She just switched to emotional and other forms of abuse. She would keep me up literally all night, knowing I had to work the next day, then she would sleep while I was at work so she could continue to keep me up after I got off until she got whatever it was that she wanted. She would pull me on top of her when I was trying to sleep and demand sex, regardless of whether I wanted to be intimate or not, claiming that I owed it to her after “what I said” if we had been having a fight or argument. She once had me drive her into the middle of a busy urban area, then demanded I get out of the car only for her to drive off with my phone and wallet while I was alone with no way to get home.
She was getting used to emotional abuse, but it still wasn’t enough for her, as I found out. She had been on a trip to New Orleans for a bachelorette party. When she came home she was already furious with me for not bringing flowers to the airport (I had brought her a big bottle of her favourite bottled water cooled in an icepack instead). She kept me up the entire night as punishment.
The next morning I went to work (I work from home) and she came into my office to continue yelling at me while I was working. She knows better than to disrupt my work. I take calls and can’t have anyone else in the office while I’m working due to it being a healthcare job. I put myself on personal and asked her to leave the office, telling her I would talk to her on my break. She refused. Instead, she hit me again, for the first time in almost 2 years. She hit me so hard it broke my glasses and left a gouge in my nose. At that point, I just screamed at her that it was over. She left the house, I called the rest of the day out at work and began packing up my stuff. She got home and tried to be sweet to me, but I told her it was already too late. She got angry and slapped me a few more times while I finished gathering up my stuff.
I left home and moved in with family. She destroyed a lot of my things that I had left in the home and attempted to get a restraining order against me claiming I was harassing her by phone (I had phone logs proving I hadn’t contacted her since I had left). It was incredibly difficult to leave someone I cared so much about, but her behaviour proved just how little care and respect she actually had for me. I’m in a much better place now, emotionally, but I’m terrified of women now. I don’t think I will be getting into another relationship after this experience.” – Jeremy