Monday, 28 May 2012

Gender Bias?

As I write, DV awareness seems to be high on the political agenda.  In recent days a scheme dubbed Clare’s Law has been implemented as a trial scheme in selected areas of the UK.  This scheme gives partners the right to ask police authorities whether their partner has a known history of domestic violence.  Clare Wood was murdered in 2009 by her violent partner George Appleton who she had met on the internet.  Clare had made several complaints to her local police force about her boyfriend.  It transpired that he had a violent background and was known to the police.  In the United States, the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) has been recently renewed amid great controversy.  Not being a US citizen, I can’t claim to have a general understanding of the complexities involved.

When I first started raising awareness about DV, I was asked to write of summary of my story for a Christian News Agency.  After the article was submitted, I was asked whether I knew of any resources/support available for male victims particularly any offering a Christian perspective.  Help for male victims is very minimal and there was no denominational organisations that I was aware off who were seriously addressing the issue.

In recent weeks,  an international Christian alliance called Restored has released ‘Ending Domestic Abuse – a pack for Churches.’  It is commendable that someone is finally addressing the issue within Christianity.  The material is very user-friendly and should be a starting point for congregations.  However, it has a strong gender bias portraying the male as the perpetrator and the female as the victim.   This is a prejudice that I am encountering every day.  People can accept that women can be victims, but men are the physically stronger sex and therefore no man could possibly suffer from domestic abuse is the misguided rationale.  As far as I’m concerned, my ex partner had anger issues (and no doubt other issues as well) which she vented on me.  I choose not to use my greater physical strength in retaliation.  Does that make me a weaker or stronger man?

The Restored Church Pack included the following paragraph in its introduction:

‘the majority of domestic abuse is perpetrated by men against women.  However, domestic abuse can be inflicted by women on men and also in same sex relationships.  Female terms for victims and male terms for abusers in this resource are used as this is the most common presentation of domestic abuse, although the needs of male victims should be treated with equal concerns.’

I challenged this viewpoint and Restored’s response was that their mandate is to end violence against women and that their belief was that the majority of DV is carried out by men against women.  Sadly, I am encountering many who share this outlook.  Plenty of statistics are easily available and there are many projects offering support to women and children, but barely anything for men.

So is DV a gender issue?  Just what is the truth of the matter?

Plenty of media outlets will quote figures relating to female victims, but very few will publish information about male victims. 

In Febraury 2012, The ManKind Initiative produced ‘Male Victims of domestic and partner abuse – 21 key facts which makes shocking and startling reading.   Although from a male perspective, their reporting also states female statistics so that comparisons can be drawn.   Every source is given so these are not some pretend numbers to highlight the problem.  The 21 Key  Facts buries the myth commonly accepted that ‘the majority of domestic abuse is perpetrated by men against women’.  All figures come from the British Crime Survey carried out between  2008 and 2011.  Again these are only reported instances, and a lot of domestic abuse goes unreported.

ManKind Initiative : Male Victims of domestic and partner abuse – 21 key facts can be found here:

Here are some of the facts:

1)      For every three victims of partner abuse, for every three victims of domestic abuse and for every three victims of stalking – two will be female, one will be male.

2)      One in six men (aged 16 or over) and one in four women will suffer domestic abuse in their lifetime .

3)      12 % of men and 24 % of women have been victims of partner abuse in their lifetime (1.9 million men and 3.8 million women). In 2010/11, 4% of men (600,000) and 6% of women ( 900,000) reported having experienced partner abuse – a ratio of 40%/60%

4)      21 men and 94 women were murdered by a partner/ex-partner (classified as the key suspect) in 2010/11.  This equates to one man every 17 days.

5)      For men who were victims of partner abuse 29% said they were a victim of ‘severe force’, more than female victims (27%).

6)      20% of men who have suffered partner abuse have done so for more than one year (97,000 men).

7)      The number of women convicted of perpetrating domestic abuse has more than quadrupled in the past seven years from 806 (2004/05) to 3,965 (2010/11).

8)      Twice as many male victims (28%) than women (13%) do not tell anyone about the domestic abuse they are suffering – highlighting the level of underreporting.

9)      Male victims are three times (10%) more likely not to tell the police they are victim than a female victim (29%) and only 4% of male victims will tell a health professional compared to 19% of female victims.

10)  Only 1.25% of men who access services as a victim are actually assessed to be perpetrators (pretending to be victims) – there is no equivalent research on females as no organisation is willing to make the same assessment.

These astounding statistics (and the remaining 13 key facts) highlight than there is a clear Gender bias in understanding and the resourcing of domestic abuse victims.  They also demonstrate how little support there is for male victims – who there are clearly more of than the widely held view.

Domestic Abuse is not a gender issue and men should not be commonly cast as the perpetrators. DV is a matter than transcends gender, race, and sexuality.  There needs to be greater equality in the resources and help available to ALL victims, not just women.  This will only happen when more men break their silence and speak out.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

UK Resources for Male Victims of DV

This is not an exhaustive list, but links and resources I have come across.  Please feel free to let me know of more  at  or Inbox me on Facebook  ‘Si Victim’  or Tweet me @SiVictim.

Online Resources:

The National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV) provides a free, fast emergency service to survivors of domestic violence regardless of their financial circumstances, race, gender or sexual orientation. The service allows anyone to apply for an injunction within 24 hours of first contact (in most circumstances). We work in close partnership with the police, local firms of existing solicitors and other support agencies (Refuge, Women's Aid etc) to help survivors obtain speedy protection.     Tel.   0844 8044999

The ManKind Initiative is a charity providing help and information to male victims of domestic abuse or domestic violence.
Men's helpline  - Tel 01823 334 244
Email: ; Web:

 Domestic Violence UK
Domestic Violence UK is a “not for profit” organisation set up to provide information and support online to victims of domestic abuse, by developing a community where we can learn from the experiences of each other.  It recognises domestic violence comes in many forms; not just the physical, but also emotional, psychological and sexual; and that it can be suffered by any member of society. The main objective of the site is to provide victims of domestic violence with practical advice on how to find courage to deal with their situation, and move on from emotionally abusive relationships. 

Hidden Hurt
This website is designed to help understand the dynamics of an abusive relationships, the different types of abuse, it's effect on both direct victims (ie person being abused) and indirect victims (ie children living in a house where abuse occurs), specific issues facing the Christian abuse victim, and helpful links and telephone numbers inside the UK, together with other resources. One of the most visited parts of Hidden Hurt are the Personal Stories.

Telephone Lines:

Men's Advice Line
Tel 0808 801 0327 or email
Opening Hours: Monday-Wednesday 10am-1pm and 2-5pm A confidential 24 hour answerphone service is available at all other times

ManKind National helpline  - Tel 01823 334 244 
This  confidential helpline is manned from Monday to Friday 10am - 4pm and 7pm - 9pm.

24-hour National Domestic Violence
Freephone Helpline

0808 2000 247

Respect Phoneline, 0808 802 4040
a helpline for domestic violence perpetrators looking for help
Monday - Friday 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm
(free from landlines and from mobiles using the O2, Orange, T Mobile, Three (3), Virgin, and Vodafone networks). Calls will not appear on BT landline phone bills
A voicemail service is available: we aim to return calls within two working days

Broken Rainbow
Support to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender victims of domestic abuse.
Tel 08452 60 44 60 Monday to Friday 9:00-1:00 and 2:00-5:00

Victim Support: 0845 30 30 900
Nationwide lo-call service, 9am–9pm Mon–Fri, 9am–7pm weekends and bank holidays from 9am–5pm; Provides  information and support to victims of all reported and unreported crime, including sexual crimes, racial harassment and domestic violence.

Victim Support's Male Helpline - 0800 328 3623
Freephone number for men, 12 noon to 2 pm, Mon to Fri

 Men's Advice Line and Enquiries - 020 8 644 9914
Information, support and advice to men experiencing domestic violence. Open from 9am to 10pm, Monday and Wednesday (answerphone at other times). Local projects for men are available in some areas.

Survivors (Swindon) - 0845 430 9371
Telephone helpline for adult (17+) male survivors of child sexual abuse and adult rape. Answerphone messages are returned as soon as possible.

Rape and Sexual Violence Project - 0121 233 3818
A charity supporting female and male survivors of rape, sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse: offering information, telephone support and face to face counselling (7 days per week). Both male and female counsellors available.

Sheaf Domestic Violence Project - 0114 249 8881 or 0114 249 8882
Works directly with women, children and Men who have been or still are suffering from domestic violence. Offers face to face visits, an escort service to court / hospital / etc.

M.A.L.E (Men's Advice Line Enquiries) - 0845 064 6800
Based in Plymouth, Devon. Calls are charged at the local rate and the number will appear on your phone bill. Mon 10am -9pm, Tuesday - Thurs 10am - 5pm (answer machine at all other times).

Men's Aid - 0871 223 9986
Based in Milton Keynes. A registered charity providing advice on what to do if you are in an abusive relationship. The helpline provides someone to talk to in the strictest of confidence, helpful and constructive advice, and information on other useful contacts specific to your individual needs.

Regional Projects:

NDVF is a lead organisation in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire which works in partnership with other organisations to reduce the impact of domestic violence by strengthening inter-agency work and increasing public awareness. NDVF also deliver prevention and early intervention across Nottingham
ESTEEM is a confidential support & advice service for men who experience domestic abuse in Cornwall.

ARCH Whilst the majority of reported Domestic Violence is perpetrated by males there is a common misconception that male victims do not exist and that services are only provided for women and men's experiences are simply ignored. This is simply not true. Launched in 2007, Arch Domestic Violence Services deliver an innovative project providing Outreach support for male victims of domestic violence.  The service available at Arch for male victims has developed 2 areas of support for the men:
Helpline support - offers immediate support or if the client needs concentrates on short term support of up to 3 months. Depending on the men's needs this support can be reviewed after the 3 months. The male helpline is open everyTuesday, 4.30pm-6.30pm. The helpline support focuses on emotional support and information for the men who feel this as there priority at present
One-to-one outreach support - this is a new and revolutionary service to the county and is available to any man within the Staffordshire County. The outreach service offers the men emotional/practical, information and advocacy support on a face to face basis
Telephone 01782 683 702 (Mon - Fri 9am - 5pm)
Helpline 01782 205500 (Tuesday 4.30pm - 6.30pm)

Monday, 14 May 2012

UK Statistics for Male Victims

I started this blog with a newspaper report containing statistics that were drawn from research carried out by PARITY:

The figures that Figures quoted from PARITY

since that report there have been further studies.  The National Centre for Domestic Violence gives the following stats on their website:

·          1 man dies every 3 weeks caused by Domestic Violence and due to factors such as shame and embarrassment most men will not seek help to get out of the abusive relationship.

·          The police receive a 999 call every three minutes from a male victim

·          1 in 6 men will experience Domestic Violence in their life

·          Every third victim of Domestic Violence is a man

·          Domestic Violence equates to approx 25% of all reported violent crimes

·          9% of all reported violent crimes are Domestic Violence cases involving male victims

·         Approximately 4 million men are affected every year by domestic violence

·         Practically the same percentage of men as women are victims of severe acts of Domestic Violence

This summary  that appears on the NCDV is based on the latest figures available  ( February 2012)  produced by the ManKind Initiative:


In addition to those statistics already listed, these are of particular interest:
  • For men who were victims of partner abuse 29% said they were a victim of ‘severe force’, more than female victims (27%)
  • 20% of men who have suffered partner abuse have done so for more than one year (97,000 men).
  • The number of women convicted of perpetrating domestic abuse has more that quadrupled in the past seven years from 806 (2004/5) to 3,965 (2010/11)
  • Twice as many male victims (28%) than women (13%) do not tell anyone about the domestic abuse they are suffering – highlighting the level of underreporting.

This figures shows that domestic abuse/violence against men is a serious problem that also needs tackling and removing the stigma surrounding it.


There have been periods of my life where I have been completely empty, devoid of any purpose or motivation.  I muse over whether my life is worth living.  I want to stay in bed.  I don’t feel like getting out of bed and facing the day.  I can’t be bothered to wash or shave.  I spend time wallowing in self-pity. 

I’m fortunate to have people close to me that recognise the triggers and try and drag me out of my despair.  Once I can focus on an activity, I’m generally journeying out of the darkness.

Men aren’t used to asking for help.  We are the ones that are supposed to remain strong, the ones that hold it all together.  Any visible display of weakness shows us to be less than a man.  At least, that’s the perceived message we receive.

And so it means that hurting men remain silent, not seeking help, refuse to talk or even verbally acknowledging our struggles.

1 in 4 women suffer from depression while the statistics say that 1 in 10 men suffer from depression.  Most experts will acknowledge that depression in men is underreported and undiagnosed.  As men, we aren’t encouraged to talk about the way we feel.  Any suggestion of feeling low and we are likely to receive responses such as ‘Pull yourself together man!’ or ‘Snap out of it.’  Statistics also suggest that 60% of female  Domestic Abuse victims have depression.  There are no statistics available for male victims.

As a man I have bottled up so many emotions and feelings.  I am learning that it’s good to talk.  Part of me wishes I could have unburdened myself earlier.  Maybe I would be in a better place now.

Men don’t tend to visit their Doctor as often as they should.  I fall into this category. The only time that I would visit the Doctor’s Surgery was when I moved house and needed to register with a doctor.  With hindsight, I know that I have been in a depressed state for many years trying to regulate it myself.

Sometimes, we do need help and I’m learning that there is no shame in asking for aid.  It doesn’t come naturally to me.  Finally I went to see my Doctor and spoke with him.  He prescribed me with Antidepressants.  Are they helping? Its early days and I don’t really know but I shall keep taking the tablets.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Looking for Work

With no work for the immediate future, I had to motivate myself enough to find out what benefits I was entitled to.   I was so low in mood, the last things I really wanted to do was have to explain that I’d just lost my job and what did I need to do to claim.  However, I quickly learnt that the sooner you register your claim, the sooner you can receive benefits. 

Filing out forms that question every area of your life takes you mentally back into a self-reflective journey which is not comfortable.  Then you have to provide documentation to evidence how destitute you are.  You need to do this to survive.

The first time I entered the Dole Office, I have a sense of extreme personal embarrassment.   Others walk in and out nonplussed.  I wait to be called over to the desk to see a job advisor.  I tell them all I’m doing to find work.  They seemed impressed and tell me I’m doing everything I can.

I get offered an interview.  I’m apprehensive about the interview because although I answered the ‘have you any convictions?’ application question in the negative, the post is subject to a satisfactory Criminal Bureau Records.

The interview goes well.  At the end of the interview I declare that I have a caution for events surrounding the break-up of my marriage.  The interviewers don’t ask me to expand on this.  Two days later I’m offered the job subject to the necessary paperwork.

In the meantime I wait.  I still have to sign on the dole on a fortnight.  An agency also offers me work but there’s a cost implication for me – I have to pay for training prior to working any shifts for them.

The following week I receive a letter from the agency explaining that my application has been unsuccessful because of an unsatisfactory reference.  I telephone them to ask about the reference.  Apparently, my last employers stated that I didn’t finish my period of probation and that was, in the eyes of the agency, unsatisfactory. 

The next day, I receive a letter from the organisation that had made me a job offer inviting me to a meeting.  I sense the worst.  I go to the meeting and learn that the job offer is being withdrawn.  They explain that they had checked with my previous employers and learnt the nature of my caution.  They felt that the way I had disclosed it at interview was misleading and therefore they were withdrawing their job offer.

I tried to explain the context in which the caution was received, but their minds were already made up.  I know what I did was wrong, I’m paying the price but what happened was a result of my state of mind being completely distorted by years of domestic abuse.  No one seems to be hearing that, it’s as if they don’t believe that I could be a victim of spousal abuse.  

Where do I go next? 

Friday, 11 May 2012

Faith and Prayer

My main life coping strategy has been to prepare for the worst mentally, emotionally and psychologically then any other outcome is a positive bonus.  Although it may sound that I am  pessimistic, I actually try and make the best out of my circumstances.  I like to be focussed and organised.  I function best when I have a routine or plans to act on. 

There have been many occasions recently when people  have assured me that they will be praying for me at a specific  time when I was facing meetings/interviews.  On all these occurrences, the worst case scenarios were fulfilled.  My subsequent reflections posed the question ‘would I be better off without the prayers of the well-meaning?’

As a former church minister, I understand and appreciate the intention.  I have to ask ‘who benefits from praying?’

It can be comforting to know that someone else is thinking of you particularly during difficulties.  The one committed to pray may feel that they are able to do something that they see as constructive by calling out to their deity. 

Prayer has another dimension also.  A person of faith who prays calls usually calls upon God for intervention.  Does God hear and answers Prayers? What happens if two people are praying  at the same time for the same situation but praying for opposing outcomes?  How does God decide which prayer to answer?  In that case, God can just sit back and see how events unfold  while doing absolute nothing.  One person will claim that God answered their prayer, but the other person may also claim that their God answered prayer by saying No.  They may also say that prayer wasn’t answered because their faith wasn’t strong enough.

I know many of the quotes preachers will give you concerning prayer.  Over the years, I’ve used them myself.  Here are a couple of examples heard from pulpits worldwide:

William Temple replied to his critics who regarded answered prayer as no more than coincidence, “When I pray, coincidences happen; when I don’t, they don’t.”

Seven Days without Prayer make One Weak

Pray as if everything depended on God, and work as if everything depended upon man

During my early days as a church minister, I had one parishioner who was the first to volunteer for any task needed doing.  He became a good friend and I would describe him as one of the most righteous men that I have known.  He faced major surgery and all the community were praying for his recovery.  He had been told that it was a complex operation and it could go either way: recovery or death.  Prior to the operation, he spoke with such faith that his God would pull him through. He never survived the operation.  Why did so many prayers go unanswered?  Many people could ask similar questions.

Another favourite sermon interjection of preachers is to refer to the latest newspaper report that cites a study carried out on medical patients with some receiving prayer and some not receiving prayer.  The preacher always announces that prayer made the difference in recovery.

Prayer doesn’t work as an appeal to some Supreme Being.  If a person has faith in a belief system, then that might give that person hope.  If prayer is seen to work, the deity receives the credit.  If it doesn’t work, the deity has said no or there’s a lack of faith or some form of demonic interference.   

I want to say thank you for your prayers but they don’t work. If a Supreme Being exists, why does (s)he never intervene.  Earlier in my personal story, I shared my reflection asking how a supposed God of love could allow someone who had sacrificed a career to follow a godly vocation be abused by someone who also claimed to serve this God of love? 

What will be will be.  Prayers don’t make any difference, but positive thinking and energy just might.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

The Appeal

Having the children stay over at the weekend boosted my motivation and I decided to ask for an appeal.  I cited the grounds for which I wished to challenge the decision.  I hoped that because the charity campaigned to raise awareness around mental illness and to reduce stigma that they would understand my state of mind at the time of the crime.

I’d started blogging my experiences and this had given me a renewed purpose.  I had been quite lethargic and had felt I had no real purpose to life.  Even getting out of bed to face the day was a huge struggle. 

I received a letter back from the Area manager stating the time, place and conditions of my appeal hearing.  The conditions were that the area manager’s decision would be final and the decision would be communicated in letter format within ten days of the appeal.  The venue was the regional offices which meant a round trip of over one hundred and forty miles.

I arranged early for the meeting.  However, the HR representation was late in arrival which delayed the start of our consultation. 

By the time of the appeal, I’d written nine pages of this blog (up to and including ‘Coping Strategies’) so I submitted this as part of my appeal.

It’s not easy talking about the Domestic Abuse that you have suffered, but I tried to share the impact it had on me.  I did hope that they would understand the mental anguish I was placed under, the way in which my whole thought process became disturbed and how I lose sight of reality, making misguided efforts to try and placate Sandra by continuously providing treats that I could not afford.  I emptied my entire emotional reservoir out in that room.  

I’m not proud of the crime I committed.  I can’t make any excuses.  I’ve taken responsibility for my actions. I do know though, had I not suffered long term domestic abuse, I would never have done what I did.  I told the room that I had made restitution and suffering DV had cost me everything; my vocation, my home.   Here I was trying to rebuild my life and forget the mistakes of the past.

They listened and thanked me for attending.  The appeal finished.  I was informed that I would be notified in writing of the decision within ten days. 

Everyday I watched and waited for the postman to deliver the mail.  It was soul destroying waiting for a letter which I thought may bring closure.  That letter has never arrived and far more days than ten have elapsed.  I am bitterly disappointed.  I thought highly of the charity when I first started working with them.  They seemed to have a sound management structure and values. 

The questions I asked in my appeal were never answered.  I imagine that the original decision to dismiss me was upheld with them looking at the caution, but ignoring the circumstances.  I had hope that they would understand the effect of suffering Domestic Abuse had on my mental health being a mental health charity themselves. Working for them had given me some insight into my own mental state of mind.   I am bitterly disappointed that charity never had the courtesy to convey to me the decision of the appeal.   

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Support for Male Victims

When I first went for counselling following the marriage break-up I recall telling the counsellor that I wanted to speak out about Domestic Violence affecting males but I also knew that I was too raw at that particular moment.  I have looked around and there is little support/help for male victims.  For years I kept silent because I was fearful of being treated with disbelief.  I wanted to bring awareness to this issue, but didn’t know where to begin.

In the early hours on one morning the idea struck me like a lighting bolt: write a blog.  As I pondered over the concept, inspirations seem to explode in my mind.  I got up and wrote continuously for eight hours.

I then opened a facebook account for Si Victim and emailed organisation who I thought may be able to either support my quest or use my story.  I contacted several Christian news agencies and several Christian men’s groups.  CHRISTIAN TODAY were very encouraging and asked if I could write a summary of my experiences for them.  I also received several emails from people who had experienced similar abuse and had been heartened by my online sharing of my experience.

The Christian Today article can be found here or by following the link on the right-hand side of this page.

This gave me renewed purpose.  Support organisations for male victims are still extremely rare.  There are a few online services and I guess that these work well.  For me, a major step was learning that I was not alone in suffering abuse. 

The Men’s Advice Line is a  freephone number 0808 801 0327 - free from landlines and mobile phones. The line is operated between :

Monday - Friday 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm

If the lines are busy or if you are calling outside of those hours, please leave a message with your name and a safe number and they will call you back within two working days. You can also email them on:

There is also the Mankind Initiative: They, too, operate a telephone helpline:

01823 334244 If you are a man suffering Domestic Abuse or Violence call this number.
Our confidential helpline is manned from Monday to Friday 10am - 4pm and 7pm - 9pm.
Helpline services for the Deaf are provided through Text Relay. Visit for details.
Normal BT rates apply

I also set up a Twitter account so please follow me on Twitter  @SiVictim.  Through Twitter, I discovered an online Campaign called Domestic Violence who brought out the first edition of a helpful magazine for all DV victims and survivors called MSM (Mutual Support Magazine).

MSM can be downloaded here:

Any male currently in an abusive relationship may be  making excuses for your partner’s behaviour. Often, that is the first method of coping with the trauma. I can guarantee that at some point, you will run out of excuses. I eventually did but it took many years to arrive there.

I would recommend writing your own journal of your experience. This was the defining moment in my journey. As I reread my account, it finally dawned on me how horrific my situation was. Although I knew it to be true, it read like fiction and I thought that, come the moment when I shared my journal with others, they would not believe it. So I also incorporated photographs taken with a mobile device into the journal. This is a very personal document that eventually I was able to share with some others who were able to understand and support me in my recovery. For me, the most important aspect has been other people’s acceptance of my reality. From there, with help I can and I am moving forward. 

I would advise anyone experiencing DV to write a journal as the first step  and when you feel strong enough, to find someone you can share it with or to talk too.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

The Low Point

It took fifteen minutes to hold my probation review and make the decision to end my employment.  By the time I reached home, my work email account had been invalidated.  I had put everything into this job.  I travelled through four counties to arrive at work.  A round trip to work from home was over ninety miles.  I also ‘worked’ additional hours for the organisation locally on my days off. 

Management had taken a dim view of my crime, but I felt hadn’t considered the context in which it occurred.  I contacted the local manager to explain why I haven’t been able to answer her offer of more additional hours of work.  When I explained that I’d received a caution, she said she was open minded and invited me to come and talk to her and her line manager without making any promises. However, an hour before the agreed time, she telephoned to say that the other manager was off sick and she would be in touch.  Having not heard any more, I can only assume that Human resources warned her off contacting me again.

I came away from the meeting feeling completely devastated and dejected.  Although I knew that losing my job was an option, I never imagined that would happen.  At worst, I thought that my probation would be extended.  I had five days in which to enter an appeal against the decision.  My initial reaction was not to bother because management had made it clear that they didn’t want me there.   If the appeal overturned the decision, then I wasn’t sure whether I could work with the same management. 

The next few days were terrible.  I had never been at such a low point in my life.  All purpose and motivation had gone.  I didn’t want to do anything.  I would have easily just stayed in bed all day had those closest to me not insisted I come out with them.

 I did think about ending my life and I often have these thoughts.  If I felt that I had nothing to live for then the intention might have been there also.  I did feel that lift wasn’t worth living but I imagine there is a big difference between that and wanting to end one’s life.  The one thing that kept me from complete descent into darkness was my family and friends.

At the weekend, my children came and stayed with me.  This gave me some much-needed focus and motivation.  With the children’s presence raising my low mood, I also decided that I would appeal the decision.  I still felt great aggrieved about all that had happened.  I also wondered whether I was being victimised for a couple of issues I’d mentioned to my line manager. 

While putting in additional hours, I’d been informed of a job vacancy closer to home, at a higher grade and one that I met all the criteria for.  I was encouraged to apply for this post and told my line manager.  I’d also come across a situation where the charity’s funds were being misused due to over sight.  I brought this to management’s attention and it was quickly resolved. 

I formulated my appeal letter over the weekend and posted it.  With some focus back in my life, the low mood gradually started to lift.

The children returned home as usual on Sunday evening and Mondays for me have always been difficult having to readjust to an empty house once again.  I went to bed Monday night but couldn’t sleep.  Ever since my separation, I had felt strongly that men in Domestic Violence scenarios needed a voice but there were none.  The reason I couldn’t sleep was because an idea had planted itself in my mind and my imagination had gone into overdrive.  I got out of bed, at one o’clock Tuesday morning, went downstairs, turned on the computer and started writing my experiences.

Dawn broke and I was still writing.  I had so much I wanted to say and share.  This was the moment when this blog, ‘The Silence of Domestic Violence’ was born.

Monday, 7 May 2012


I drove over to another property managed by the charity where this more senior manager was based.  It was approaching five o’clock on Friday evening, the time that all managers finished for the weekend.  Workers carried on working outside of office hours with an ‘on-call’ manager available on the telephone but only in the case of emergencies.

I repeated all that I had told my immediate line manager.  I was then asked to hand over my security pass and keys and informed that I was being placed on ‘gardening leave until further notice.’   Other workers were told that I’d gone home ill.   I guess they instantly thought that this was suspicious because I was known for never taking any time off work through sickness.  The senior manager arranged to come and see me at my home the following Monday to ascertain more details about my situation.

As arranged, the manager came out to see me. Once again, I told of all the events surrounding my caution.  She commented that I’d “not told her anything new and repeated what I’d said the previous week.”   I thought to myself, ‘There’s nothing more to add. I’ve told you everything about the offence I committed.’   I also spoke about the state of mind I’d been in after 18 years of being abused.  For a man to admit to anyone that he has been a victim of domestic abuse is not an easy step to take.  Some have been sympathetic, others quite dismissive.  I’m not making any excuses, what I ended up doing was wrong and I have taken responsibility for that and paid a very big price.

What did happen was completely out of character for me and I have subsequently described it as an unconscious cry for help.  I do know that had I not been worn down by Sandra’s consistent abusive behaviour, I would never have committed the offence I did.

A few days after the manager’s visit, I received a letter summoning me to my work base for a probation review.  As I was still on my initial 6 months probation period with the charity, the letter stated that my probation review was being brought forward to ascertain whether I’d met all the work criteria set for me.  It also stated that an unsatisfactory review could result in my contract being terminated.

I attended the review.  It was over within fifteen minutes.  I am convinced that the outcome had been pre-determined.  There had been no problems or concerns over my job performance.  As far as I was concerned, there had been no concerns over my conduct.  I had been honest with the organisation.  However, management took a different view and rated my conduct as unsatisfactory because I’d not informed them earlier of my trouble with the Police.  Within twenty-four hours of receiving the caution, the organisation knew about it.  They felt I should have disclosed events earlier and so terminated my contract.  I was informed of my rights which included requesting an appeal review.

I left totally devastated.  This job had meant everything to me.  I felt that I had been treated very harshly and unfairly.  So much for understanding stigma around taboo subjects which was one of the charity’s values!   After receiving my notice, I was at the lowest point mentally and emotionally that I had ever experienced.