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 ………http://thesilenceofdomesticviolence.blogspot.com/2012/05/support-for-male-victims.html?spref=tw  … … … … 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 …http://thesilenceofdomesticviolence.blogspot.com/2012/05/support-for-male-victims.html?spref=tw  … … 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 http://www.facebook.com/groups/128080320589684/  … <<< 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 >> http://thesilenceofdomesticviolence.blogspot.co.uk << Go check it out!



Check out this blog by a male DV victim! http://ow.ly/aTZ1y  @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

Offensive?


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.   

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

False Accusations

I’m not usually over enamoured with the effects and understanding shown about Domestic Violence issues by my local Police Force.  However, a report in the Nottingham Post of 9th September 2014 shows that perhaps things are changing.

 In the report entitled “Woman’s lies got her ex-partner arrested, “ the account tells how

“Pregnant Amy Whitham’s ex-partner was arrested after she falsely claimed he was going to arrange to “have her head kicked in,” a court heard.”

Obviously the Police have a duty to investigate such allegations. I do wonder whether they would have treated the accusation with the same enthusiasm though had the complainant been the male ex-partner!  I doubt it.

However, the report continues:


“He was arrested and questioned by detectives, Notting Crown Court heard.  But police soon established that the only person sending the messages was Whitham – through an e-mail account she had set up in his name.  Yesterday Whitham was sentenced for perverting the course of justice – on the strength of her making the false witness statement to police last November.”

So well done Nottingham Police for charging this woman.  What sentence did she receive?  To continue quoting the report:

“Judge James Sampson decided not to send Whitham into custody because she has two young children to care for and is expecting a third.  “As a mark of compassion, I’m prepared to suspend this sentence,” he told her.

Again, I ask ‘Would such compassion have been shown to her ex-partner?’  Probably not.  We all know that should he have been charged with the false allegation, he would have received a custodial sentence.

Further more, why do Judges be far more lenient on women criminals when well-known documentary evidence exists that states that young children are more at risk from harm in the care of mothers than fathers?  

Women such as Amy Whitham who think nothing of making false accusations against partners actually make it far more difficult for real victims to speak out and be heard, irrespective of gender.

Why did she do it?  To quote the report again, “No reasons were given at the hearing about why Whitham made up the claims.”

Now that’s a real surprise isn’t it?   I can tell you exactly why.   Whitham was on a revenge mission and wanting to hurt her former partner.  What easier way than to make up such allegations?   Women like Whitham know the climate is such that once she’d made her statement, her ex-partner would be seen as ‘guilty, until proven innocent.’  Fortunately, in this case, his innocence could be proved.  I have also heard of divorce settlements where Lawyers have encouraged the woman to make an accusation of domestic abuse in order to secure both a bigger alimony and residence of children.  This has been in relationships where there has been no record or evidence of abuse, no investigation of the allegations carried out, and yet the mere mention of being seen to be a victim of domestic violence has resulted in the desired financial reward.

The whole system needs an overhaul so that the practise of making false allegations stops completely.


Friday, 5 September 2014

Woman No Cry, Man Out Cry (Part One)

Forgive the poetic licence used in titling this piece ‘Woman No Cry, Man Out Cry’ but I wish to highlight once more the different attitudes regarding men and women accused of Domestic Violence offences.

When a man, celebrity or otherwise, is reported as being a Domestic Violence perpetrator there is often a huge public outcry and rightly so.  However  when a female is the assailant, a different attitude prevails.  In fact, most approaches seem to project the reports in a jovial fashion.  I find this totally shocking because if you are the victim of abuse, it doesn’t matter who your abuser is, it is not humorous or amusing. 

This week has since a few more examples in the national media.  One is an actress who is serialising her autobiography through media outlets.  This actress is probably better known for the paparazzi  coverage given to her many high-profile romances than her body of work.   Her beau’s include Jason Statham, Billy Zane, Thom Evans, David McIntosh and Danny Capriani. 

Kelly Brook admits to hitting ex-boyfriends Jason Statham and Danny Capriani.  In her account, she justifies her actions by saying that she attacked English Rugby player Danny Capriani after discovering that he was cheating on her.  The general attitude towards this is “good for you girl, the cheat deserved it and had it coming.  Now, imagine for a moment that the roles was reversed.  If Mr. Capriani had struck Ms. Brook and then claimed that he only did it in response to discovering infidelity, would that make it acceptable?   Of course not,  violence is never acceptable and shouldn’t be acceptable under any circumstances.  So why does society seem to think that a woman hitting a man is acceptable when a man striking a woman in similar circumstances is clearly not??

Ms Brook also admits to hitting hard-man movie actor Jason Statham.  She justifies this behaviour by claiming this was because he made flirty comments about another actress while with her.  Again, reverse the genders and would such action be tolerated?  I think not.

Ms Brook actually offers an insight into her behaviour when she writes:

“ My earliest memory is of my mother throwing an iron down the stairwell at my dad after he came back late from the pub.”

So the lesson she learnt from her parents was   If you think your partner steps out of line, you punish them with violence. 

There should never be any excuse for violence towards another person  irrespective of gender, race, religion, sexuality. 


Why is it then when women are the perpetrators, we don’t treat it with the contempt it deserves, but society continues to find the idea of a female attacking a man rather amusing?  

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

You Couldn't make it up


Many people look forward to their holidays away to rest by the pool/beach and enter into some light reading while they sunbathe.  Sunbathing isn’t really my thing, but reading most certainly is and I was away on holiday, I had more time to absorb myself in the daily newspapers and books that were in my ‘to read’ pile.  Most people have a ‘to do’ list.  I purchase books and have a ‘to read’ list which is never exhausted.
News stories and articles about Domestic Violence always catch my attention, and in a matter of days the several different papers I read, carried several stories.   Bizarrely, there seemed to be the publication of several studies which made claims of how Domestic Violence could either be caused or prevented all reaching the printed media at the same time. 

The most sensible was The Times 26th August 2014

“Constantly telling a partner that she is fat may be a symptom of domestic abuse, according to a Labour frontbencher.
Seema Malhotra, appointed yesterday to the newly created post of shadow minister for preventing violence against women and girls, said that trying to erode someone’s self-esteem could be part of a broader pattern of behaviour.”

Although this report is written in the gender-specific fashion that I abhor, later in the article an acknowledgement that men are victims too.

“She highlighted figures showing that 12 million woman and 2.5 million men had been the victims of domestic abuse.”


I would question those statistics, but at least the plight of men wasn’t ignored completely.



However, the day before that report appeared the same august publication ran this story:

CANNABIS MAY BE KEY TO GOOD RELATIONSHIP
“Couples who smoke cannabis are less likely to engage in domestic violence, US research suggests.

Married couples who both use cannabis at least twice a month reported the least perpetration of violence. If only the husband used cannabis, this reduced the likelihood of the wife being violent.”




Ah, so that explains why my ex-wife was abusive to me, I didn’t smoke cannabis.  In fact, I’ve never smoke cannabis.  Maybe I should have done if this ‘reduced the likelihood of the wife being violent.’



However my favourite report also appeared on the 28th August , but in one of our tabloid newspapers, The Sun:

KEBABS ‘CAN CUT VIOLENCE’
“A Solicitor was under fire yesterday for claiming kebabs could cut domestic violence.  Janet Hood, 57, spoke at a licensing hearing to get a takeaway’s opening hours extended.  She said in Dundee eating would make drunks too tired to attack.  Ms Hood added: “Medical evidence suggests eating after drinking helps induce sleep, which could help lower alcohol-related domestic violence.”




Now if you know me, you will know that I love and enjoy eating kebabs.  And, unlike the majority of the population, I enjoy these when I’m sober and I certainly don’t fall asleep after consumption.  However, it set me thinking about my past.

Both my ex-wife and myself never drank alcohol as part of our religious observance.  So her violence towards me wasn’t alcohol-induced.  She also seldom ate kebabs preferring to order fish when I visited the local takeaway.  For me, it was kebabs as the healthy option (well, you do get a portion of salad with them).  

I can’t comment on the effects of Cannabis, but Kebabs didn’t cut out the violence I experienced.  In fact, I probably ate more kebabs because I was a victim of Domestic Violence
.  I didn’t drink alcohol or smoke, so comfort eating kebabs was my escape from the suffering I endured.

You can call me fat because I have eaten too many kebabs.  Maybe I should have smoked cannabis instead but that would have had other implications for me I’m sure (It would also have been contravening the religious views I held at that time) .

Smoking Cannabis or eating kebabs will never cut domestic violence.  You couldn’t make it up, but someone obviously did!!!