Monday, 30 July 2012


All good relationships are built on trust. When the trust goes, the relationship is often damaged.  When we enter into a new relationship, one can often bring their past emotional experiences into that relationship.  If trust issues were a problem in the past, one could find it hard learning to trust again in a new relationship.  Jealously may then rear its ugly head and prove to be destructive.

I wasn’t aware of any such issues when courting Sandra.  Maybe I didn’t notice them, but as soon as the ring was on her finger the green-eyed monster surfaced.

The first episode I recall was the destruction of my aftershave collection.  I never received an explanation as to why she felt she wanted or had to pour bottles of expensive aftershave down the sink.  I’ve thought about it since and all I can think of was that her thought process was such that she thought if I wasn’t wearing aftershave, I won’t attract other women. 

Sandra also took exception to me talking to friends.  Initially, these were female friends.  During our courtship, I was at College and mixed with all other students.  However, once we were married if Sandra so much as saw me pass a brief comment to a friend she would verbally attack me wanting to know exactly what I had said.

This type of behaviour would also be true of any church activity I undertook solo.  For example, I would have to chair regular church council meetings.  When I would return home, Sandra would demand to know what was discussed.  If one is familiar with such meetings, there is a lot of ‘debate’ before decisions are made or viewpoints are reached and so I would summarise the meeting for Sandra’s benefit.  Her response would always be, “You’re been gone over two hours, there MUST have been more said.”

The extended family were also drawn into this behaviour.  Visits to family members would be arranged.  Just before we were due to set off on our visitation journey, Sandra would launch into a tirade, making personal insults about the person we would soon be visiting.   And yet, on arrival, Sandra would be sweetness personified in the home of the relative while myself (and the children) would be very subdued because of the anguish of our journey there.

With hindsight, I can now see that Sandra was jealous of all relationships I held with other people: family, friends, work acquaintances.  I ended up withdrawing from these relationships to try and keep the peace at home.

However, there was seldom peace at home.  Such ill-founded jealously led to other patterns of behaviour such as Sandra’s violent outbursts against me.  Beware such jealous tendencies in a relationship as it may lead to physical assault.

Saturday, 28 July 2012


The issue of honesty has been weighing heavily on my mind. I have tried to be completely honest about all my experiences but feel I have suffered for it and on reflection, wonder if I have been too honest. I have gone from being silent and falling into deceit to being honest and open about all I have done and gone through.
It might seem strange to admit, but the church inadvertently encouraged dishonesty. This is not the official statement of the church and might seem to be a controversial statement. Let me expand. When prospective minsters were being trained by the church for future ministry, the church’s college liked to emphasis the careers that their students had given up in order to become a minister. In a lot of instances, the truth was stretched so that church members would be impressed by the calibre of new minsters. For example, someone working in a non-trained hospital role might be introduced as a former nurse. I fell outside of this category for the college authorities had little perception of the industry I left behind. In the spirit of humility that I believed all Christians should have, I played down my business achievements. So much so that on one occasion I was summoned for an interview with the College’s Principal. The reason for this was that he had spent the previous evening at a dinner party with a former business associate of mine and at some point of the evening I became the subject of conversion. The College Principal had me described to him as a dynamic, well-acclaimed professional and struggled to recognise me because of the humble persona I seemed to have in the classroom.

The philosophy taught in the classroom was that as congregations expected their ministers to be available every minute of every day, new ministers were to maintain that illusion. Many ministers end up believing they are infallible. Over the years I have heard many ministers lie and create a plausible excuse rather than admit they either haven’t had time yet or had forgotten about whatever was being asked of them.

The illusion continue especially on Sundays when I would stand up before the congregation as the man giving advice on the best Christian way to live addressing all sorts of issues from the pulpit, putting a biblical spin on them.   i'm always wary personally of biblical 'spin', it's more a case of one saying "this is what I want you to think the Bible says.." I used to hate hearing people state quite boldly, "The Bible says...."   because people could and would use scripture completely out of context in order to re-enforce their own personal view.  On a Sunday I entered the pulpit portraying the perfect marriage and family life encouraging others to follow my example.  If only they knew the real truth! 

As a victim of Domestic Violence, the truth of the situation is too horrific to admit for a long period. The scratch marks on my face were because I’d walked into a rose bush, not because I had been attacked by my wife. Everyone, I’m sure has answered ‘I’m fine’ when being asked ‘How are you?’ and realistically you were anything but fine! Telling a lie sometimes, whether big or small, is part of our personal self-defence strategy.

When I was first questioned about my financial misconduct, I know that I was lied to. My bishop told me that because of the sensitive nature of enquires only two people locally knew at that point about the questions being asked of me. That was not correct, however the church may rationalize this falsehood by saying the end justified the means.

The Church trades on guilt.  Churchgoers are told that they are guilty sinners because no one human is perfect.  Part of most churches services is a call to publicly seek forgiveness of such sins.  Churchgoers are also taught such an unrealistic ideal of 'holy' living that they naturally fall short of this 'standard' and need to publicly confess their sins.  Perhaps if the Church didn't encourage dishonesty in the first place, then there would be no need for confession resulting from guilty feelings!
I have always been proud of my attendance of work record. In thirty years of employment, I have only had five days off ill. That was at the age of seventeen when I contracted chicken pox. As soon as I received the police caution and declared it to my then employers, I was sent home on ‘garden leave’ with the rest of the staff being told I was sent home ill. They knew that this was a management falsehood because I was never off sick.

Being ill seems to have been a convenient excuse within that organisation. While I was on garden leave, a service lead and manager had asked to see me about providing me with possible work. I was told that they would be open-minded and acknowledge that everyone makes mistakes. An hour before we were scheduled to meet, the service lead telephoned me to cancel citing that the manager was off sick and they would be in touch later. As that was the last conversation we had, I can only assume that the real reason the meeting was cancelled was because Human Resources black-listed me.

It is only recently that I can be totally honest about the Domestic Violence I experienced. I have tried to be honest about all that has happened to me, about the out of character way in which I finally reacted. It saddens me that in response, people (organisations) have been less than honest with me.
Currently, I find that being totally honest doesn'y endear me to possible employers.  I lost my last job because I declared my caution as soon as I'd received it.  If I had kept quiet and not said anything, I would still be in their employ.  I didn't make any false declarations during the recruitment process.  At some point when a disclosure renewal was due, I would have had to face some questions from management which may have resulted in dismissal, but they dismissed me anyway for being upfront with them.  Now in applying for jobs I either have to make a disclosure or explain why I left my last job.  That's honesty for you!  I would rather be honest with myself now for it took me 20 years to reach this point.

For any victim of Domestic Violence, the biggest step you can take is being honest with yourself about what has happened. From there, it could be a long and sometimes painful journey forward.

People may hurt you and not be honest with you. There’s nothing you can do about that. All you can do is take one step at a time and keep speaking out your truth.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012


When I first commenced this blog, I introduced myself as the Silent Victim adopting the non de plume of Si Victim.  The subject of silence and the way it affects victims of domestic abuse has been occupying my thoughts.  All victims, both male and female, initially remain silent.  Very rarely does one speak out or report the first instance of domestic violence.  Why is this?  I guess it’s usually because the perpetrator vows that it was an accident and will never happen again.  Months may pass without any incident and then the anger returns once more.  A descent into a cycle of abuse follows.  The victim remains silent; silent because they love their partner, silent because they share a life and family together, silent because of the expectations of society they feel, silent because they fear that no-one will believe them because their partner is well-respected, silent because they believe their partner will change and stop, silence to protect children, silent because it must be my fault for angering my partner, silent because no-one else is abused and silent because no-one wants to hear the truth.

The silence begins to take many forms, it evolves into deceit.  Visible bruises/scratches are due to being clumsy rather than being assaulted. “ I walked into a door” and its variants have become a well-established code for my partner did this, but because the victim can’t admit to being assaulted the person hearing the deceitful and protective excuses decides not to pursue their enquiry.

Unable to talk or share the domestic abuse, one’s own self-esteem suffers.  Fearing of saying the wrong thing in the home environment, the victim retreats into silence.  Not wanting to ignite their partner’s anger, the victim withdraws into themselves and only answers their partner in response.  Even then, the wrong answer could trigger abuse.  So the victim further distances themselves maybe even retreating into another room and keeping totally apart from their partner.

My silence took many forms.  I would withdraw from conversation with Sandra for fear of saying the wrong thing and triggering a violent reaction.  This evolved into making every excuse not to be in the same room as her.  When we travelled out in the car, every journey was in silence.  No matter what volume the car stereo was set at, it was always to loud for Sandra.  It always resulted in the stereo being turned off because no-one could actually hear it.  Sandra would shout aggresively then if someone knocked on the door of the house would suddenly become silent and pretend no-one was home.

I was silent to everyone, my family, friends, peers  Being silent turns into deceit and lies.  I couldn't speak up to anyone for a long, long time.  I'd rather mask my situation and tell lies that covered up the truth.  I had a public persona of a God-fearing, honest church minister but I was a fraud.  My whole life was one big deceit.
The silent treatment then begins to affect all aspects of the victims health: emotional, physical & mental.  The victim may then make a psychological cry for help that may or may not be heard. 

It takes a momentous journey to find your voice and speak out. It’s not an easy journey for many of the stigmas surrounding Domestic Abuse still exist.  However, it is a worthwhile journey.  Speaking out not only empowers you, but also empowers and encourages other victims to speak out.  You have a voice because you are not alone in your suffering, and you are not alone in your recovery.