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Male victim of domestic abuse speaks out to help others this International Men’s Day

A male victim of domestic abuse from Dorset has spoken out about his experiences in order to help other men in the same situation. 

The man, who has requested anonymity because of ongoing risk of abuse, said: “As I drive home from work I feel a weight bearing down on me, crushing me. I’m scared, I’m nervous, I’m ashamed. I don’t want to go in and face my wife, I can’t look her in the eyes. 

“I have learned that it is best not to have an opinion on any subject that differs from her own. I have learned that it is preferable when asked a question to not answer rather than risk saying the wrong thing even though staying silent invariably means that I will be screamed and shouted at and hit. She punches, kicks, scratches and threatens to put a knife through me.

“She has told all our families, our friends and neighbours that everything is my fault, my depression is ruining our relationship. She tells me that everyone she speaks to says it is perfectly natural for her to behave in the manner she does.

“Worse than physical violence is the unrelenting verbal abuse. She tells me I’m vile, she loathes me. I’m hateful to her and ruined her life. I’m a poor excuse of a man, I’ve lost my looks, I’m weak and people have no respect for me. No one can believe I could treat her so awfully.

“When she has calmed down she tells me that she loves me and that I need her, that I would never manage without her and for years I have believed her because my self-esteem is non-existent.”

Domestic abuse against men, while less widespread than that against women, is more common than many people believe. The 2013/14 Crime Survey for England and Wales puts the number of men having experienced some form of domestic abuse since the age of 16 at 14.7 per cent, although low reporting levels mean that no one knows the true picture. 

Detective Chief Inspector Jez Noyce, Dorset Police, said: “The fact that domestic abuse against men is not widely publicised does not mean that it is not a problem. Sadly, the figures speak for themselves. 

“Dorset Police will take reports of domestic abuse seriously and deal with them in confidence, regardless of whether the victim is male or female. If you are experiencing abuse, I would urge you to speak to someone – either by reporting it to the police or by contacting one of the many support organisations.”

Councillor Karen Rampton, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Chair of the Safer Poole Partnership Board, Borough of Poole, said: “There are many organisations that can help victims of domestic abuse, both in Dorset and nationally. Anyone, regardless of their gender, can access this support. Here in Poole we also have a refuge space specifically for male victims. 

“There’s no shame in getting help for a problem that is beyond your control.”

The male victim mentioned above is now receiving support from You First, Dorset County’s outreach service, and is starting to move on with his life. He said: “I’m fighting back I’m going to be ME and not her puppet.

“I was referred to You First by my GP and it was the first time I’d spoken to anyone about my situation. They did not judge me and I felt believed. With the ongoing help and support of You First I’ve got some self-belief back and the courage to move forward.” 

Katie O’Connell, Service Manager at You First, said: “Domestic violence and abuse affects so many people in our society, either directly or indirectly. 

“You First offers practical and emotional support to men, women and children within their own community or within a safe house or refuge.  Working with clients we aim to reduce risk, increase safety and enable people to move on to live independently free of fear.”

International Men’s Day takes place on Thursday 19 November 2015 and this year’s theme is ‘Make a Difference for Men and Boys’.

There are many organisations that can help those experiencing domestic abuse.

Poole Outreach: 01202 710777

Poole Refuge (has space for a male victim): 01202 748488

Bournemouth Outreach: 01202 209456

Bournemouth Refuge: 01202 547755

You First – Dorset County area outreach and refuge: 0800 032 5204 (free from landlines)

DAIT (offers courses for male victims): 01305 265148

Men’s Advice Line: 0808 801 0327

Broken Rainbow LGBT Domestic Violence Helpline: 0300 999 5428

For a full list of support services, visit: www.dorsetforyou.com/dvahelp. In an emergency – if a crime is in progress or life is in danger – dial 999.

Notes to editors:

•Issued by Helen MacBean on behalf of the Safer Poole Partnership. Call 01202 223352 or email: h.macbean@poole.gov.uk. Follow us on Twitter:@Saferpoole

•The male survivor has asked not to be identified and therefore will not be able to participate in media interviews. 

•The Safer Poole Partnership is made up of community safety organisations working to make Poole safer. These include Dorset Police, Borough of Poole, Poole Housing Partnership, Dorset Fire and Rescue Service, local housing associations and community groups. For more information, visit: www.poole.gov.uk/communities-and-people/crime-and-disorder/safer-poole-partnership 


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