Friday, 8 March 2013

Men are victims too

Men are victims of domestic abuse too
Publish in the Hucknall Dispatch  Friday, March 8, 2013

By Jackie Derbyshire   @jcderbyshire

Coronation Street is currently exploring and raising the awareness of domestic violence through the character of Tyrone Dobbs who has been suffering at the hands of his new wife.

It is a shocking picture being painted in the popular soap but it acts to dispel the myth that only women can be victims of domestic violence.

For one Hucknall man, seeing the image of Kirsty physically and emoptionally abuse her partner has brought back to the fore his own experiences.

It is true to say that much of the profile surrounding domestic abuse is based around violence against women but this isn't always the case.

And through a blog, this man is trying to tackle the prejudice and biased attitude that women are the only victims in domestic violence.

"Domestic violence seems high on the political agenda and there have been a number of campaigns in the media recently but it is almost always aimed at tackling violence against women and children by men," said the father of three.

"Statistics show that the gap between the number of incidents against men and women are not representative of the support made available."

According to the Mankind initiative, one in four women  will suffer domestic violence in their lifetime compared to one in six men, figures that most will find surprising.

"I find it quite frustrating witnessing society's preception of this sensitive subject, " added the charity stalward.

"Much of this is because men are seen as physically stronger so how can they become victims?"

The victim was a church minister and worked in different areas of the country during their careers.

But the abuse he suffered travelled with him and it became a part of their marriage.

It was only in 2009 that he made the decision to leave the family home after another outburst by his wife made him realise enough was enough.

"I stayed silent for many reasons and would try and find reasons why it was happening," he remembers.

"I used to put it down to stress and then death in the family or any number of things.   It;s just not that easy to walk out when you have children."

"The image we were portraying to the church and trying to uphold the Christian marriage vows put me under more pressure."

"I was silent to everyone, my family, friends and peers and the silence turned into deceit and lies."

"You never really know what goes on behind closed doors."

"I had a public persona of a God-fearing, honest church minister but I was a fraud as I tried to mask my situation."

He is a very placid, gentle, easy-going person who is now seeking comfort in finding his voice to speak out about the subject and his own experience.

Not only has he found it cathartic to write about his past through a blog but he is helping to raise awareness of domestic violence against men through his contacts in the town.

"It's really helped me to air my emotions and now I've been able to detach myself from what had happened which has helped me move on with my life."

Through the blogs he has offered support and enable other men to feel that they are not a lone voice.

"Domestic violence is not gender specific - it can affect us all."

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