When I was 22 a friend of my mother’s came to stay with us after her abusive husband had thrown her out of the family home. After a few days she decided to return against the advice of my parents and myself. I remember desperately struggling to persuade her not to return and found it impossible to understand why she would so willingly go back to such a violent situation. If my partner had attempted to strangle me or threatened to take my child away from me I would not return to him and I am sure as you are reading this you are nodding your head in agreement. Surely no one in their right mind would do such a thing.
A year later while doing my last year at university I met a charming, well traveled older man. My friends and family thought he was lovely. He was the kind of person who would do anything for anyone from giving
old ladies a lift to the shops to doing odd jobs for a physically disabled friend. His family were equally fond of me and when a year later we announced that we were expecting a baby the champagne flowed!
the heading at the top of this page you can guess this idyllic scenario did not last. I cannot say exactly when things started to go wrong; it is difficult to remember now eight years on and to be quite honest I prefer to keep it that way. Some things are best forgotten. What I do remember is that the changes were subtle. Slowly he cut me off from
my friends and restricted contact with my family. When I went out on
my own I would be given a time to return home and to make sure I adhered
to his wishes he would phone me to make sure I was leaving at the specified
time. Once ill health forced me to give up work early in the pregnancy
I became financially reliant on him and we spent more and more time
with his doting parents. He chipped away at my confidence with constant
criticism and by publicly humiliating me in front of my friends and
As the pregnancy continued he began to drink heavily and it was then that the rows started. I knew that something was not right but I could not admit it out loud, not even to myself, to do so would be to admit that I had made a dreadful mistake or worse …that I had failed. One day while he was walking his dog I bundled my clothes into a bin liner and decided to leave. He returned just as I was opening the boot of my dilapidated old mini and begged me not to leave but to return to the flat and talk things through. As soon as the front door was closed another row erupted as he taunted me for attempting to run away. I remember him knocking me on to the sofa and threatening to ‘hunt me down’ if I ever tried to leave again. From that moment on there would be more pushing and shoving. And more threats.
<>For a short time after the birth of our daughter it seemed that some semblance
of normality might slip into our relationship. Photos were taken of
a loving father with his arm wrapped protectively around the mother
of his treasured child. Her christening was celebrated and he played
the part of the attentive host but once the doors were closed and the
novelty had passed the threats and the bruises returned with a vengeance.
His heavy drink led to him being banned from driving and dependent on
me for transport. This was a severe blow to his macho ego and he took
out his frustration by constantly criticizing my driving, telling me
I was useless and that I was doing everything wrong.
turned to drugs in order to keep up with the amount of building work
he was receiving. As if his growing dependency on alcohol was not enough.
He developed mood swings, erratic behavior and rarely slept at night.
He spent increasing amounts of money on his substance abuse leaving
less for household bills and expenses and for his family.
night when our daughter was 14 months old, he decided to wake me up
on the hour every hour until 6am. Three hours, later I took our child
to her first session of ‘mothers and toddlers’. The room was filled
with happy children accompanied by chatting mothers who appeared to
live ‘normal’ lives. I so wanted to be one of them yet the thought of
one of these women visiting my home for a cup of coffee filled me with
dread. As I walked home I decided something had to be done but I had
no idea what. Who should I turn to for help, the Samaritans? The kind
of people who contacted them were suicidal, desperate people, my problems
were trivial by comparison and I had no right to waste their time with
my problems. I phoned my parents and tearfully told them everything.
Three days later while he was out visiting a friend my parents came
round with a police escort to pack our clothes and my daughters toys.
Suddenly I felt as if I could breathe again.
he phoned my parents to ask if they knew where I was he gave no hint
that was anything wrong with our relationship and even asked my father
out for a drink! Once he realised I had left his tactics changed. His
family started to phone me to tell me he was in such a state. His friends
called to ask me what was wrong – when I told them what had happened
behind closed doors they began telling me about former girlfriends of
his who had left him suddenly. Day after day I was bombarded with phone
calls and letters from him pleading with me to go back. His parents
told me they had called in a ‘crisis team’ because he had become suicidal
and that he had been referred to a counsellor for his addictions.
meaning friends gave me well meaning advice and eager encouragement
not to go back. My parents made suggestions about new living arrangements
and how my daughter could be cared for while I returned to work. It
seemed to me that once again my life was being mapped out for me, while
I was living in fear that some day soon he would carry out his threats
to snatch our daughter or to attack my parents. No one seemed to understand
my fears instead they were trivialized, ‘oh he’s all talk, he wouldn’t
dare!’ Yet those fears were real enough for me to dread going out and
to lay awake at night wondering what the future held or if there even
was a future. I could not eat or sleep and I felt as if I was standing
on the edge of a precipice waiting for a gentle breeze to send me tumbling
down into the darkness.
six weeks I wanted it all to stop and the pain to go away. I wanted
to know where he was and what vengeance he was planning. There was only
one way to do this.
knew my friends and family would not understand why but I found numerous
ways to justify what I was doing. I worked hard to convince them –and
myself- that what I was doing was for the best.
I went back he promised never to take drugs again and to cut down on
his drinking. He suggested we moved nearer to his parents so that he
would no longer have any contact with friends that might tempt him back
to his old ways and we began looking for a house. He paid a deposit
on our first holiday abroad and bought clothes and gifts for our daughter
and me. The man that I had fallen in love with almost three years before
was back and life was sweet once more.
than a month later I knew I had walked back into a trap. He quickly
turned back to his old ways without the help of any of his friends.
This time the threats were far more sinister as he went into detail
about how he would kill me and destroy my family. The abuse grew constant
as did the rows but this time leaving would be far more difficult as
he watched me closer than ever before.
we moved far from the support of my worried friends and family one piece
of well meaning advice stuck in my mind. My mother’s friend had by now
moved back to her home town, far from her abusive ex-husband. She had
suggested that I went into a refuge for women fleeing domestic violence.
At the time I had dismissed her advice. Why would I go into a refuge?
I was not suffering from domestic violence. He had never hit me; sure
I had bruises but nothing more!
in a relationship that was growing ever worse, the notion of domestic
violence began to grow in my mind. Every time I saw leaflets on the
subject I would secretly take one to read during my rare moments of
privacy. As I read the various descriptions of domestic violence one
message glared out at me from all the others:
violence is not just about physical abuse, it is about living in fear
without any control over your life and feeling isolated and powerless.
Armed with this knowledge I found the determination
to do something about my situation.
now our arguments were a daily occurrence. On one occasion I walked
out of the house cradling our hysterical daughter while he yelled insults
at me. As she was getting older I knew I had to do something before
she started suffering from the consequence of my own failure to act.
Nine months after we had returned to him I came home from shopping to
find evidence of his return to drugs. That was the last straw. Four
days later I pretended to take our daughter to her mother and toddler
group. I walked around the back of the hall, out into the street behind
it and straight into town to the Social Services department.
I gave the duty officer a letter in which I had written down everything
I could think of that he had either done to me or threatened me with
including what had happened in front of our two year old daughter. The
social worker phoned a refuge to arrange somewhere for us to stay and
phoned a solicitor to give me immediate advice on my rights. This time
I was determined to remain in control. When the social worker told me
she had arranged for us to go straight to a refuge I refused to go immediately.
We had done nothing wrong, why should we be forced to leave all out
possessions behind and go with only the clothes we were wearing? The
refuge agreed to keep the room open for me for another two days. Those
two day were to be the longest I have ever known. While he played in
a pool tournament I packed our clothes and a few possessions in bin
liners which I hid in the garage. On the 9th July 1998 at
1: 15pm my daughter and I left by taxi to begin our new lives.
stayed in two refuges; the first was run by Women’s Aid and the second
by a housing association. In both refuges we found women who had been
through similar experiences and who supported each other in such a low
point in their lives. Both offered counselling and advice on housing
and benefits. My daughter met her first ‘best friend’ in the second
refuge. I met some very good friends in both.
me being a single parent is bliss. Compared to the life we had before
this is easy! Sure there have been some bad times when I have felt very
low but I have never been as low as I was before I left my daughter’s
father. No matter how bad things get I know I can cope because I have
coped with worse.
you are in an abusive relationship I hope you can find some inspiration
from my experience. Domestic violence in all its forms is devastating
but you are not aunattached and you are not powerless. The first step to regaining
control over your life is recognising what is wrong.
violence is not just physical abuse. It can be emotional, psychological
and sexual abuse.
I saw over forty women go through the doors of the second refuge and
very few of them had any signs of physical injury yet most were terrified
of their abusive partners.
physical injuries can heal within days, weeks or even months psychological
and emotional scars can take years to heal. Depression, panic and anxiety
attacks, eating disorders, flash backs, sleeping problems, nightmares
and behavioral problems in children are all common after leaving an
abusive relationship. If you have any worries or concerns about yours
or your child’s physical or mental health you need to see your doctor
or health visitor. Do not suffer in silence because there is no shame
in asking for help and we all need it at some point in our lives.
you need advice on leaving an abusive partner or on finding somewhere
else to live see housing This section also
includes agencies dedicated to supporting those who have experienced
you are concerned about the long term effects of abuse for yourself
and your children see counselling and support
for information on finding a counsellor and support for you and your
you need legal advice the Citizens Advice Bureau is a good place to
visit and they will also offer advice on housing and benefits you can
find their contact details in the section: useful
information This section also includes contact details for the Samaritans,
BT (British Telecommunications) malicious calls helpline and Voice UK.
This is a voluntary agency offering advice
and assistance to people with housing difficulties. Tel: 0808 800 4444
Aid National Helpline This is a national charity
whose aim is to end domestic violence against women and children. They
operate over 400 refuges, helplines, outreach services and advice centres.
Women’s Aid National Domestic Violence 24 Hour Helpline 08457 023
Northern Ireland 24 hour Helpline (028) 9033 1818
Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline (0800) 027 1234
Republic of Ireland 24 hour Helpline (1800) 341900
This is a National Domestic Violence Charity
2-8 Maltravers Street
24-Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0870-599-5443
can also go to your local council or housing association for information
on emergency housing. Some housing associations run their own women’s
refuges which work as part of a network, it is therefore possible to
be referred to another refuge out of your local area if need be.
Horizon Domestic Violence website containing information on domestic
violence and domestic violence shelters in U.S.A. Also features a list
of international websites on domestic violence.
refuges offer counselling or can direct families towards counsellors
a counsellor in the UK:
http://www.bacp.co.uk/ This is website of
the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy which offers
a search facility for the UK. Other ways to find counselling is to go
to your doctor and ask for a referral or to look in the Yellow Pages.
NHS referrals often involve lengthy waiting lists but you are usually
given the option to go private. Private sessions can cost upwards from
£20 each and most people need several sessions each lasting about an
http://rasac.org.uk/ The Rape and Sexual
Abuse Counselling service (RASAC) offers free and confidential support
to women and men who have been raped or sexually abused as adults or
a counsellor in the USA:
http://www.nbcc.org/cfind/ This is the National Board for
Counsellors and Affiliates and has a search facility for counsellors
in various fields including disaster counselling, relationships and
local doctor should be able to refer you to a counsellor or you could
try looking in the Yellow Pages or similar such directories. The above
US website offers those outside the US a list of counsellors in your
country which they will email you; however this is a very limited service.
for children who have experienced domestic violence:
This is a voluntary agency whose aim is to promote
children’s safety, prevent child abuse and bullying Tel 020 7730
A national charity which aims to prevent child
abuse and neglect Tel 0800 800 500 (24-hour child protection
Lifeline – Help for Victims of Violence in the Home, Sexual Abuse
and Incest This is a voluntary agency offering
support and advice for families experiencing domestic violence and abuse
in the home. Tel 01262 469 085
National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux This
is a voluntary agency offering free and confidential advice within the
local community. To find your local Citizens Advice Bureau call: Tel
020 7833 2181
The Samaritans This
is a voluntary agency offering 24 hour support for people feeling depressed,
isolated, or in despair. Their national telephone helpline is: Tel 08457
line For advice
on how to deal with malicious telephone calls try the BT malicious
calls helpline on: Tel 0800 666700 Or the nuisance call advisory bureau
on: 0800 661441
was just reading the Domestic Violence pages on this site. Is it possible
that you can add info for male victims of domestic violence. Having
been a victim myself i know how hard it is to get help and info when
you are a bloke facing the same problems. I also now know more than
a few unattached dads who have suffered abuse – in all cases getting help,
support and info was very difficult.
Advice Line and Enquiries
Telephone: 020 8644 9914
Open from 9am to 10pm, Monday and Wednesday.
Telephone: 01494 432000
24-hour help line.
Telephone: 0845 064 6800
Open from 10.00am until 9.00pm on Mondays and from 10.00am until 5.00pm
Tuesdays to Thursdays. A secure voicemail is available outside these
hours. This is a pilot initiative which includes a research and evaluation
dimension and will run until March 2004 providing telephone information
and advice as well as face-to-face support by both paid and volunteer
Telephone: 0191 261 9990
7pm-10pm Tuesday and Thursday
Telephone: 01925 244281
Specialist, non-gendered service based in North Cheshire for anyone
affected by issues of violence or abuse in a domestic or caring setting.
(for Gay and Bisexual Men)
Telephone: 01642 804400
in Crisis Helpline
Telephone: 020 8893 5563
Experience Domestic Abuse (MEDA)
Telephone: 01938 556749
(24hr line 01686 629114) Based in Powys.
Telephone: 028 90241929
24hr line. Based in Belfast.
Telephone: 028 90 237779
North Down and Greater Belfast areas.
Telephone: (+353) 046 23718
Telephone: 0800 9805907
Telephone: 01325 465465
resources for male victims
page was created by members of our support group
Helen (Kyote) To show that a sufferer can regain control of their
The information regarding
Domestic Violence for ” male victims” was provided
If you have an idea for a web-page and would like to see it on this
site please contact us