Sunday, 8 March 2015

Gender Attitudes towards Domestic Violence

I’ve often commented on the attitude of some women towards Domestic Violence and have been contemplating this for a while.  As a victim, survivor and now as a supporter of those experiencing DV, I’ve spoken to many survivors of both genders and have seen a pattern emerge between the attitudes of genders going through Domestic Abuse.   I hope that this piece proves insightful as I share my conclusions.  There will always be some exceptions, however the vast majority of people that I’ve encountered have exhibited the attitudes I describe.  

This was true for me and for other men I have spoken with.  I was a victim of Domestic Violence, but at the time of my abuse, I didn’t consider myself as such.  In fact, I didn’t even recognise what was happening to me was abuse.   Other men have said similar to me.  Is this because the societal messages subconsciously convince us that only men can commit domestic abuse against women?  Even now, the lobbyists keep promoting ‘Violence against Women and Girl’ parliamentary bills and campaigns which keep influencing society to believe that only women can be victims of domestic violence with men generally the abusers.  THIS IS FAR FROM THE REAL TRUTH.  Out of every 5 victims of Domestic Violence, 2 will be male.

It does concern me that many women don’t recognise their violent attacks of their partners as Domestic Violence.  They will make excuses.  Their actions are justifiable because they are women and prone to mood swings or hormonal imbalances caused by menstruation or pregnancy.  

Very few women will claim or accept responsibility for their actions.  It always someone else’s fault.  If they lash out, it’s not their fault it’s the fault of the person they’ve hit.  

The media contributes to this.  Read all the news reports from the courts.  If a man is in court, there’s no leniency.  If a woman is tried for a crime  9 times out of 10 the report will read mother of 2 ( you seldom read father of 2), it will state that the crime was so out of character and she didn’t know why she committed it.  If the woman doesn’t state that, the report will usually says she suffers from mental health or substance addiction.  The resulting sentence often means that the woman would get a suspended sentence whereas a male offender would go straight to jail.

Do you think I’m over-reacting?  Recently , the ITV This Morning show spent a morning on ‘Female Anger Epidemic’.  A woman talked about her own anger issues and admitted throwing a rosebowl at her partner.  She said that if it had been the other way around and her partner had thrown the bowl at her, it would be domestic violence.  I sat there watching, and said It is Domestic Violence – there’s no difference. 

But this highlights the difference in my eyes.   In my experience, women don’t recognise their violent behaviour towards their partners as Domestic Abuse and consequently fail to accept any responsibility for their actions. 

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Listen Up

Part of the feedback I received from my last blog was ‘ when we (men) have spoken out, we are not believed or listened too.’

Men and boys aren’t encouraged to speak out or talk about their problems or issues.  As a man speaking out, I have been described on numerous occasion as ‘being brave.’  To be honest, I don’t see myself as such however I do feel strongly that injustices should be identified and addressed.  If we remain silent, how can anything be done?

It is true, though, that some attempts by men/boys are met with ridicule.  In the past this would also be true for women, but no one would dare to belittle the female gender.

Men haven’t been good at speaking out about the issues that deeply affect and trouble them.  This may be because from an early age, we are conditioned to grin and bear it.  Take for example, the way parents generally deal with crying children:

Little Emily cries.” What’s wrong, dear?”  Emily then has the opportunity to speak and be heard.

Little John cries.  “Stop crying…Big boys don’t cry..”     Poor John then learns early in life that no-one really wants to listen to him share his concerns.  He then goes through life being unable to speak out.

As a victim of Domestic Victim, I felt I couldn’t speak out about what was happening to me because no body would believe me. 

As a man, I also know that I don’t visit my Doctor as often as I do.  The few occasions when I have made an appointment, my opening statement has either been, “Sorry to waste your time, but my partner said I should see you about this,”  or “It’s probably nothing but…”

It has been long established that men are less likely to visit their Doctors and often by the time they receive a diagnosis, effective treatment may no longer be available.  This is one contributory factor to why men on average die at a younger age than women.

So today’s message is Listen Up to anyone speaking out, they may be saying something worthwhile!

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

It's Good to Talk

When I first began writing about Men’s Issues I adopted a non de plume, Si Victim.   This pseudonym was short for Silent Victim which reflected the way I had felt about enduring over 17 years of Domestic Abuse.

As a battered husband, I had nowhere to turn nor was there anyone I could speak to because wives just weren’t capable of attacking their partners.  It was unheard of!  I knew of no other man in my position.  Remaining silent effected every area of my life and everyday I remain on this earth, so to will the consequences of those years.

Having finally left the situation, I began rebuilding my life.  I discover that what had happened to me wasn’t as rare as I’d thought.  In fact, it was far more common than society would have you believe.  According to the latest figures from the British Crime Survey, out of every five Domestic Violence victims, two will be men.  Even more startling is the revelation that this is not a new development; Academic research over the last 40 years has consistently produced similar figures.

And yet, government funding for Domestic Abuse programmes has ignored the data choosing instead to bankroll the Feminist myth that all domestic violence assaults are due to male privilege. 

At least now, there is an acceptance among most Domestic Abuse service providers that men are affected by DV and they may now offer a ‘token’ service to Male Victims. Take, for example, this recent experience of mine.  I telephoned a local, well-advertised Domestic Abuse helpline.  On their publicity, there was no statement identifying that it was a gender-specific service.  Admittedly the cartoon of a cowering woman that accompanied the phone number would infer that it was. 

The first time I called, I went to voicemail and was asked to leave my name and number and an advisor would call me back.  I found this quite insensitive as most callers would be fearful about their personal safety and wouldn’t want to leave such details when their abuser could potentially intercept the call.  Minutes later, I tried again.  This time my call was answered.  I gave a brief summary of my story to be greeted with, “ We don’t deal with men, we only talk with women that are being abused by men.  I will have to refer you elsewhere.”

After holding on the line, I was given two telephone numbers: The Mankind Initiative 01823 334244 and the Men’s Advice Line  0808 802 4040.

No doubt about it had I been female, all manner of support would have been offered to me.

In November 2010, the Home Office published the strategy paper, ‘Call to end violence against women and girls’, setting out its approach for tackling domestic violence over the Parliament. This included £28 million funding for domestic violence support services.

That’s right £ 28,000,000 funding and all men really have are telephone helplines.

I have been speaking to many people (Councillors, Police & Crime Commissioners, Police Officers, Domestic Violence Prevention Officers etc) challenging this.  I keep hearing the same things:

“We know that men are victims too but…”

“Very few men engage with us.”

“You’re one of the few male victims prepared to talk about your experience.”

Having spoken at length on the lack of provision for services to men, I have come to the conclusion service aren’t provided for men because men don’t  speak out about their issues or seek the support/help they require/need.  This applies not just to Domestic Violence, but right across the spectrum of all men’s issues (such as health, education). 

On the whole, men don’t talk about their problems.  However, by remaining silent and not identifying our suffering, those areas which require service provision go unchallenged and are not addressed properly.

How can we change things?  A starting point is changing perception as to what it means to be a man.  When I look back at my childhood, we heard things like “Boys don’t cry” “Be a big, brave boy for mummy,” “Be a Man”  Such statements ‘encouraged’ us that we had to be tough, we couldn’t show any emotion because that was a sign of weakness, that we dealt with our own problems. 

We take these lessons into adulthood.  Men get mocked for suffering from Man Flu and yet, are very reluctant to visit their Doctors.  A visit to the GP’s surgery for a man is probably out of necessity.  Often, when asked by the GP why they have asked for an appointment, a man will reply, “It’s probably nothing but…” or “ I don’t mean to waste your time but my wife said I should get this checked out.” and then they discover that had they sought an earlier diagnosis, they would have been able for a better chance of recovery.

It’s good to talk and the sooner men learn to talk about the issues that affect us, the better services to men will become. Our inability to address our anxieties results in funding and services going elsewhere. 

Saturday, 22 November 2014

My 100th Post

This is my 100th blog and I felt I wanted to do something different to mark the occasion.  It has been an amazing journey so far and I have been staggered by the response and stories I heard.     It has been humbling to learn that I have also helped other people by sharing my story and experiences.  This all started because as a male victim, I thought that what had happened to me just didn't happen to men.  I was alone.  I discovered that I wasn't the only one, so it became important to me to get that message out that a man caught or feeling trapped in an abusive relationship isn't on his own.  It happens to more men than society would have you believe.  What follows is some of the many kind and gracious comments I've received since commencing blogging:


It was an absolute pleasure to interview @SiVictim tonight. What a brave and inspirational man with such a powerful story to tell

We want to thank @SiVictim for his contribution and support to our online magazine.(DVUK is 2 Today)

@SiVictim thank you, you're very welcome and well done to you for raising awareness

The Silence of Domestic Violence: Support 4 Male Victims ………  … … … … Brilliant blog by v brave man @SiVictim #IMD2013

@SiVictim GREAT MEETING YOU - #YOUmakeadifference - we hope to see you again soon! Thanks for all your support. #BESBWA
The Silence of Domestic Violence: Support for Male Victims …  … … Brilliant blog by a very brave man @SiVictim

That last post was from @SiVictim thanks for sharing your story and helping reduce the stigma for others to come forward #familyviolence

@SiVictim keep up the good work

@SiVictim What a great blog you have set up. V inspirational and well done for breaking the misconceptions about male DV.

@SiVictim Thanks for contributing to the mutual support magazine. (Domestic Violence UK is one today)

wow Great that @itvcorrie & you are raising awareness for such a taboo subject.

@SiVictim thanks for sharing your story Ian- you may be interested in our film which is going to raise awareness that DV can affect men too
Check out @SiVictim and his focus on male survivors of domestic violence.

#ff @SiVictim Follow him because he is a Male DV victim now raising awareness about #DomesticAbuse and its impact :-)

PLEASE RT  … <<< Male victims can join and speak to a survivor @SiVictim #DomesticAbuse #bizitalk

@SiVictim You are brave and you should be very proud of yourself. It will take time to get the message out, you can only do so much :-)

@SiVictim@Lizzielegate Thanks for the RT. Keep up the good work!” TY! you too :) #MutualAppreciation

@SiVictim is a male victim of domestic abuse, raising awareness through his blog >> << Go check it out!

Check out this blog by a male DV victim!  @sivictim

@SiVictim Thank you very much for following me!! I am honored and look forward to working together to assist victims! Congratulations!!

@sivictim Please continue to speak out. It helps you as well as other victims. It also helps you to take your power back. That's important.

I am deeply moved by the story of @SiVictim At times, I could not contain my tears.

@SiVictim A lot of courage is needed to speak out as a male victim in a world where violence put on men the burden of being the agressor

@SiVictim thank you for sharing your story, we need more men who have endured this to speak up.

@SiVictim thank you for sharing your story with me. i'm humbled. I will read all the posts to learn more...

Monday, 20 October 2014

Child or Parent Support?

Money Demands.

It’s a sad indictment on British society when someone is better off financially not work than trying to earn their keep and not be a burden to the tax payer. 

To my own personal experience, I have found this to be true and not a urban myth.  Were I to claim Jobseekers Allowance, I would be ‘passported’ to other benefit entitlements.  However, as a low-income father, I have no eligibility to financial assistance.  Indeed, after receiving a 17 page letter from the Benefit office, the only thing I learnt was that I would be financially better off sitting at home doing nothing. 

At least, being employment does give me a sense of purpose that I lost during my spells of unemployment.  But is it right that I’m penalised for trying to make an effort to improve my lot in life?

While trying to gasp my own situation, the actress Halle Berry is reported as having some money troubles of her own.    Allegedly, she pays a monthly child support amount of $ 16,000 to her ex-partner and wants this reduced to $ 3,000 because she feels that her ex partner has been living entirely off of this payment.

She may have a point.  The feel she reputedly feels is the way that many fathers feel.  And yet, no one listens to the voice of the fathers. 

I have had dealings with the Child Support Agency here in Britain.  I have found their approach very heavy-handed when they saw me as a ‘deadbeat father.’  

Their modus operandi is to issue you with a strongly-toned letter demanding that you reply in 5 days otherwise face possible legal action.  However, they are not as prompt should you wish/seek any input from them.

Initially, my ex and I agreed a private maintenance plan, but when she realised she could squeeze more money out of me, she decided on taking a non-negotiable approach via the Child Support Agency.   They assessed my income, but not my expenditure even ignoring outgoings that were related to my children.  Their assessment of what they felt I should pay my ex-wife was the majority of my wage, leaving me without enough to cover the basic bills such as rent.

For most families I know, it is a struggle. Often, both parents have to work and it isn’t easy.  But, a separated mother becomes far more accessible to a whole range of benefits and although some may be ‘means-tested,’ any child support payments aren’t included.    Child Support should be remained because often the last person supported by this payment is the child itself!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

In Denial

I was challenged to write a blog about men making false allegation of Domestic Violence.  In fact, men are reluctant to make any sort of accusations for fear of not being believed.  The person who issued the challenge had taken offence at something I had written.  However, rather that debate a differing viewpoint, she took to verbally insulting me instead in a very aggressive manner.
What I did discover was a report following a review by the Crown Prosecution Service that such allegations are extremely rare:

Appearing today in my newsfeed was a story about a businesswoman who brutally murdered her 8 year old son.  Bizarrely, her defence argued that the reason she killed was due to some accusations she made against two ex-partners.  There was no evidence to substantiate such claims.  In other words she was making false allegations against two men

Some women’s organisations will grudgingly acknowledge that men can claim to experience Domestic Violence, but will then claim that a male victim is really a perpetrator. There is no evidence to support this claim, rather it is another smokescreen to hide the real truth.

Women, as well as men, can be violent in relationships.  This is nothing new.  Back in 1971, Erin Pizzey opened the first Refuge (Shelter) and discovered that of the first 100 women to enter, 60% were as violent or even more violent than the men they were claiming to flee from. 

Pizzey has been the subject of death threats and boycotts because of her research into the claim that most domestic violence is reciprocal, and that women are equally as capable of violence as men. Pizzey has said that the threats were from militant feminists.

Such claims have been consistent with academic studies taken all throughout the last 40 years including PASK 2012

Partner Abuse State of Knowledge Project (PASK) 2012 reveals the following:
The majority of Domestic Violence incidents is mutual – that is where both parties fight each other.
Population Surveys : 57.9%
Community Samples 59.6%
School & College samples 51.9%
Female oriented clinical samples 72.3%

Between 51.9% - 59.6% are mutual Domestic Violence situations. The big surprise is the figure of 72.3% which comes from clinical samples from Lesbian relationships.

In other words, the highest incidents of domestic violence have been found in lesbian relationships!!1

So what about scenarios where there is no reciprocal violence? PASK also asks that question.

The figures for Male assaults against female (non-mutual IPV) are:
Population Surveys : 13.8%
Community Samples 17.5%
School & College samples 16.2%

Perhaps surprisingly the figures for Female assaults against male (non-mutual IPV) are:

Population Surveys : 28.3%
Community Samples 22.9%
School & College samples 31.9%

Notice how woman are twice as likely to attack a male partner, than a male assault a woman without any reciprocal action.

And yet, society is still by large disbelieving about women aggressors.

I feel that many women remain in denial about their violent behaviour towards partners or ex-partners.  My ex certainly is even now.  Our children have challenged her about the assaults on me that THEY witnessed.  They saw her hit me, pour hot drinks over me and smash dinner plates (with food still on them) over my head.  And yet, she wasn’t violent!  She will admit to being a little clumsy and dropping things, but remains in denial about more severe deliberate violent acts.  I have also spoken with women who have eventually admitted hitting their partner.

For men when they hit a partner, there is no hiding place when reported or witnessed.  Some women though, remain in denial.  They believe that they can strike their partner because the partner is male therefore it doesn’t really hurt or their emotional/hormonal condition allows them to behave in such a way etc.  They think that because society doesn’t want to recognise that women can act in such fashion that they can deny they have anger issues or violent tendencies.  After all, no man will want to claim that their female partner is abusive to them, will they.  And even if the male is brave enough to speak out, who will believe him?  They can deny it and remain in denial about their own problems.

Friday, 19 September 2014


I got more reaction from my last blog than any other.  I was told it was offensive.  I was accused of making Domestic Violence gender-specific when it isn’t.  I was called sexist and a narcissist.  All my attackers were female. 

I found the charge of making Domestic Violence gender-specific quite ironic because regular readers will know that I find all violence abhorrent and I often state that there is never any excuse for any form of abuse, irrespective of gender.  What I do campaign about and highlight through this blog (and my own personal story)  is the inequality and the gender-bias way in which Domestic abuse is viewed by society.  The way in which it is reported suggests that men are always the aggressors and women the victims.  The truth, however, is different and that is what I try to show.  Men and Women can be Domestic Violence perpetrators and both genders can also be victims.  It is not a Gender issue, but was made one by the women’s movement (who continue to perpetuate this myth) and too many people are either too miss-informed or afraid to challenge this misperception. 

Blogging is about sharing your story and opinion.  Our opinions are often influenced by our own personal experiences.   If you choose to read my blog, I thank you sincerely.  You may agree with what I write.  You might disagree and have a different opinion.  You also have complete freedom to express whatever opinion you hold. I respect that and dialogue is always good in sharing different viewpoints.  Where I draw the line is when it becomes personal.  No-body has the right to insult another person.  I may not agree, but I can accept another’s opinion.  What is unacceptable is personal attacks because someone has a different view or opinion.  Hang on a minute, isn’t that how all conflicts and wars begin?  
So what caused such controversy?  I happened to post about a local young woman who made AND admitted to making false domestic violence allegations against her male ex-partner.  Such a story couldn’t be refuted as it was there in black and white.  What caused such offence was my comment that the leniency shown by the Judge wouldn’t have been the same had the wrongdoer been male.  How could I suggest such a thing? 

Making like for like comparisons in case is never easy, but several different stories appeared on my news feed today.

·         2 young women launch an unprovoked attack on a 77 year old  blind male bus passenger.
Punishment:  2 months suspender prison sentence

·         Female social worker admits falsely accusing Father of Child Abuse

·         Judges are ‘ordered’ to be more lenient when sentencing female criminals

So I caused offence when suggesting that women are possible of making false accusations and yet another example in reported.  My comments about judgement leniency caused outrage and yet, it is reported, judges have been instructed to make such rulings.

Trying to find  a like for like case, the closest I could find was a 78 year old Asian lady attacked by a 31 year old male.

The 31-year-old was arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated criminal damage, racially aggravated common assault and racially aggravated intentional harassment.  I couldn’t find the outcome of sentencing, but if this man was found guilty I doubt he would have been given a paltry two months suspender prison sentence.  He would have had the book thrown at him and rightly so. And just to re-address the balance, I can’t find any examples of men being arrested after making false domestic violence allegations.

All abuse and violence is wrong.  Those found guilty of such crimes should be punished equally.  Part of the punishment for incarcerated men is separation from family especially their children.  They are told that they should have thought about the impact on their children before they committed whatever the offence may have been.  Surely, the same incentive should be used in trying to deter women from committing crime too?  Instead, because they do have children they hope for leniency and a lighter sentence.  If you do the crime, you should be prepared to do the time.