Sunday, 10 May 2015

General Election 2015

The two major passions in my life are working/volunteering in my local community and campaigning for greater awareness on men’s issues particularly relating to Domestic Violence  and so May 7th 2015 was an well anticipated date for me.  I gained experienced and insight into both the mechanics of Parliamentary and Local Elections.   On May 7th, I went to the count and verification of ballot papers for the Ashfield constituency and Ashfield District Council.  

I was standing as a candidate for a newly-formed community group ‘Hucknall First Community Forum’ in the West Hucknall ward of Ashfield District Council.   

There was a great camaraderie among the local candidates and I think that local elections are probably more friendly because very often the candidates are already working together for the betterment of their communities irrespective of their political allegiances.

One of the local UKIP candidates standing in the same ward as me shared the same surname.   Coincidentally  his brother shares my name.  As we were discussing names Ray Young (UKIP)  said , “There was also an ‘Ian Young’ standing in the Sherwood Parliamentary constituency .  I confessed that I  was that ‘Ian Young’ and had withdrawn my candidacy and ended my association with ‘Justice for Men & Boys.’  Instead, I had decided to stand for my local community with ‘Hucknall First.’

The only thing that marred the atmosphere was an encounter with Mike Buchanan, the self-appointed and self-styled leader of the party ‘Justice for Men & Boys (J4MB).’

I  had maintained a dignified silence all throughout the election campaign about my reasons for quitting J4MB although Mike Buchanan was aware of them.

My verification of ballot papers for Ashfield District Council and Mike Buchanan’s for Ashfield Parliamentary Constituency took place at the same venue.  While awaiting for entry,  Mike Buchanan  arrived and saw me waiting to go in.  I gave him a standard nod of acknowledgement.   He then walked over to me and said, "Ian, I can't believe you have the nerve to come here tonight.  I'd rather you hadn't." and then just walked off. 

Now I’m a very placid chap and didn’t respond.  I actually didn’t have chance to respond and to be honest, had I thought of a comeback, i won't have voiced it.  I’m not a confrontational character and I believe fully in respectful and calm dialogue with others.  In my mind, more can be accomplished by calm and reasoned debate rather than adopting a ‘Mr Angry’ persona.  Anger diatribes only ensure that the other person will not engage with you and there’s no way forward for both parties. 

But this encounter did  annoy me.  I had every right to be there.  I was a candidate and , unlike Mike Buchanan, I am a resident of Ashfield who actually cares about the local community.  I was standing there because I wanted to continue to make a difference to my community and NOT start or try to engineer a war with the defending MP, Gloria De Piero.

So I have decided that in light of Mike Buchanan’s attitude towards me, it is now time to cite my personal reasons and lift the lid of his ‘Justice for Men and Boys’ Alter-ego.

Mike Buchanan contacted me in November 2014 asking whether I would like to stand in the forthcoming election as a Candidate for Justice for Men & Boys after hearing a radio interview I gave on BBC Radio Nottingham.   At that time, they were holding a fund-raising event to find just under £ 40,000 and Mike Buchanan asked me whether I could fund my own candidacy and also informed me that J4MB had some donors who could easily give £ 40,000 to the cause.   When I said that I was interested in standing but couldn’t afford to fund my own candidacy, Mike Buchanan said to leave it with him and he would consult others in the Party and come back to me.

After this consultation, Mike Buchanan contacted me and said that Justice for Men & Boys were prepared to fund me as their candidate for Sherwood.  I was quite flattered by this kind offer and was rather seduced by the concept of being a parliamentary candidate.  After all, not everyone can claim to have done this.
What followed next was a serious of meetings in Nottingham where Mike Buchanan travelled by train from Bedford.  I didn’t think anything about the mode of transport at the time.    Frequenting the local Weatherspoons also featured prominently during these visits as Mike promised a ‘lunch’ on J4MB’ and consumed a few pints.  My alcohol consumption was very moderate by comparison.

One donor had suggested to Mike that Nottinghamshire Parliamentary seats were worth a close look at.  When Mike saw that Sherwood’s current incumbent only had a majority of 214, Broxtowe’s a majority of 389  and Ashfield’s  a majority of 192, the idea formed of having Justice for Men & Boys 3 candidates (rather than the 30 originally imagined) stand in a block of neighbouring and marginal constituents.  Furthermore, the present MP for Ashfield was Gloria De Piero the Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities.  Challenging such a person appealed strongly to Mike Buchanan and he decided that rather than contest his home of Bedford, he preferred to stand in Ashfield.  He also persuaded Ray Barry of Wolverhampton to stand in Broxtowe.

Anyone can contest any seat in the country.  The requirements are that the Party election Agent must live in the constituency or a neighbouring constituency .   By default, I would be my own agent  and also act as agent to Mike Buchanan and Ray Barry.

Once the idea of being in Ashfield took root, Mike Buchanan  asked me if I knew of somewhere where he could stay for a couple of days while campaigning.  All he would need was a bed and a corner.  Like a fool I offered.   A couple of days then became three months before the general election on May 7th.  At this point, I should have said something but I didn’t.  I thought that the three months would pass quickly.

I was also asked if I knew of anyone who had a car he could borrow as a run-around to get him from my house to Ashfield.  When I couldn’t come up with anything, he then suggested that he could accompany me on my journey to work,  use my car during  my working day and then collect me from work!   I wasn’t happy about this and it was far from practical.  This was when doubts about the character of Mike Buchanan first started to surface.  What person of his supposed standing doesn’t have their own car?

Give Mike Buchanan an inch and he will take a yard.  Within a very short period of time, I began to feel like a lodger in my own home.  On the second day he was in my house, he had arranged for 30,000 leaflets to be delivered there.  I arrived home from work that day to find that my front room was piled with boxes.  While Mike Buchanan spent the evening in the local Weatherspoon’s pub, I re-arranged and stack the boxes so that I could at least regain a room.  When he saw how I managed to sort out over 50 boxes of leaflets, his comment was, “I never even thought of that.”   In fact, Mike Buchanan seemed to be quite bereft of normal household common sense.    Another day, I arrived home to be told that the toilet had broken because the flush was on a continuous cycle which was/had drained the water tank.  I’m far from a handy man, but even I know the basics of how a toilet cistern works and was able to resolve the issue within minutes of walking through the day. 

On another occasion, he phoned me when I was at work and had left a voicemail to say that his key was jammed in the front door and he couldn’t unlock the door or remove the key and so he’d taken the back door key.  He did say that the ever generous Justice for Men & Boys party would pay for any repairs needed.    Again, I looked at this when I returned home from work.  All that was needed was for the door handle to be lifted in the correct fashion.  Within seconds, I had ‘unjammed’ the key.  I’m just glad I didn’t ask him to change a light bulb!   Mike Buchanan did kindly offer to defrost my freezer while I was at work and managed to do that okay.  His motive for doing this was to free up space in the freezer to store his frozen meals.  One evening, rather than go to the local Weatherspoons, Mike Buchanan decided he would eat in and took one of his frozen meals out of the freezer.  He commented that he should have thought of this earlier and taken it out so that it had time to defrost.   When I suggested using the ‘defrost’ function on the microwave he admitted that he’d never done that before or even had thought of using a microwave to defrost food.

Here was a supposedly political leader staying in my house, and yet lacked basic household skills and knowledge.   I later learnt that his 'home' was a room he hired off a landlady.

The Labour Party deciding to use a Pink Minibus to campaign probably saved my car from being commandeered by Mike Buchanan.  Before he came to stay I hadn’t realised he hadn’t a vehicle, it was only when he asked if I had any means to acquire a car for him.  A supporter of Real Fathers for Justice, a group fronted by Ray Barry who was J4MB's other candidate was keen to make a challenge to the Pink Minibus and so donated the money to buy a Justice for Men & Boys van.

A vehicle was found and details swapped.  The collection point was agreed and so one cold Sunday morning four blokes found themselves in a lay-by just outside Bedford.  I’d driven Mike Buchanan down to this meeting place in my car, the seller had travelled up from Kent  with the van on the back of a transporter, and the donor  made his way there too.  The donor handed over an envelope containing £ 1,000 to the seller who unloaded the van off his transporter and then gave Mike Buchanan the keys.  Both the seller and the donor then went their separate ways.   As the van needed fuel, I followed the van to the nearest petrol garage.  When we got there, Mike Buchanan was convinced he’d be conned and that the van was useless and not fit for the road despite having 11 months MOT.  It had spluttered along.  It transpired that all it really needed was some fuel in it!  At the garage, Mike moaned that the speedometer wasn’t working and said , “It hasn’t even got a rear view mirror.”   I pointed out to him that even if it did had a rear view mirror, he would have a job in looking out of the van’s rear back (windowless) doors !! 

Mike Buchanan didn’t have high hopes for the long term future of this vehicle, believing that his enemies would trash it within days!  The van has lasted longer than his expectations.

In his biography, Mike Buchanan describes himself as a former employee of the Conservative Party being one of their strategists.  Initially, I thought well these guys must know what they are doing.
A lot of time was spent by Mike and myself researching just what was needed in order to stand as a parliamentary candidate.  Again, I began to have doubts as I’d assume that this would have been something already known by someone with the experience he claimed to have in the political field.
The first time street campaigning took place was when I was working. Ray Barry joined Mike and Mike reported how difficult it was.  The next Saturday, I went out on the streets with Mike and saw how uneasy he was in street work.  Again, it stuck me that someone with political experience should have been more comfortable.

I asked Mike how many members the Party had, only to find out that there were no members.  Mike Buchanan claims to be the Leader of the only party in the western world that stands for Mens’ Rights.
How can you be a leader of a party with no members?  It’s illogical.

When did I start becoming uncomfortable with Mike Buchanan?   Ray Barry had asked me if I knew of any local Bed and Breakfast establishments that he could use while campaigning in the area.  As I was already hosting Mike Buchanan, I thought another one wouldn’t be a problem.  So I suggested to Ray that the room Mike Buchanan was staying in contained 2 single beds, rather than book a ‘B and B’ I was happy for him to share the room with Mike if he needed too.  However, Mike Buchanan wasn’t pleased about this insisting that he had no intention of sharing a room.  Blooming cheek I thought, its my house anyway!

Mike’s Buchanan natural habits also revealed his true character .  He would either spend the evening in the local Weatherspoons until closing time and then book a taxi back despite it only being a maximum of ten minutes’ walk or would watch whatever he wanted to watch on my television while consuming at least one bottle of wine and several bottles of beer each night.  The only thing Mike bemoaned was the lack of a bottle opener in my house.  He had to go to the local supermarket to purchase one.   All claimed on Justice for Men & Boy expenses no doubt!

In the short spell he stayed, the local taxi company had established first names terms with him.  I would retire to bed for the evening leaving Mike watching TV and drinking.  When I woke in the morning and got up, it was a regular occurrence for me to discover lights let on etc.  One morning when I came down for breakfast at 6am, Mike was fast asleep in the arm chair with the TV still on.  About 10 minutes later, he walked through to the kitchen and behaved in a fashion as if to suggest to me that he’d just got up for a glass of water.

Another thing that irked me was that while we were supposed to be fund raising for our campaigning, Mike Buchanan put out an appeal for £ 1,000 so that he could travel to America for the next  International Men’s Conference.  Surely all focus should have been on the general election?  And why ask donors to finance his trip to the States?  Any other attendee would be financing their journey themselves.

I was campaigning for equality for men especially Father’s Rights and Domestic Violence services, but the manner in which Mike Buchanan wanted to confront women started to seriously concern me.   He couldn’t watch a TV show without swearing at the screen, or rather the woman on the screen who was oblivious to his vile mouth.  His insistence to present  ‘Lying Feminist of the Month’ awards to women that had angered him was to me a pointless exercise that belittled what we were trying to do and just made him look stupid.  But making these awards seemed to be his driving motivation.

All you have to do to receive a ‘Lying Feminist of the Month’ award is to repeat the disproved and incorrect ‘statistic’ promoted by Women’s Aid that ‘2 women a week are killed by their  partner/ex partner.’  As well as the award, you will be challenged to retract the falsehood.  Of course, no one ever takes being a recipient of this seriously apart from Mike Buchanan.

But then Mike Buchanan never tells a falsehood to promote his own political agenda does he?  The afternoon  the sign writer added the Justice for  Men & Boys livery  to the Blue Van, he telephoned me to tell me how good it looked and as he was about to leave, an old lady had approached him and asked what it was all about .  As he explained, she became very emotional , confess that she hadn’t  seen her grandchild for years  and thanked Mike Buchanan for trying to make a difference and change things.   When I arrived home and commented how amazing that was, Mike Buchanan admitted that he’d made the story up and that it was a ploy he used often especially when trying to elicit donations off of gullible donors.  He said he would often post online that ‘Fred’ had donated his last £ 10 because of ..and cite a made-up story.

My involvement with Mike Buchanan started to cause a rift between me and me children.  The irony of campaigning for Fathers Rights while potentially pushing my own children away was something that weighed heavily on my mind.

As this was happening, the final straw was one Friday night I went to bed leaving Mike Buchanan watching TV.  Mike had given me that night 2 Easter Eggs for my children .  All I could hear was Mike Buchanan swearing loudly at the screen.  When I woke in the morning, he had left lights on.  That was it.   I made it known to Mike Buchanan that I no longer wished to stand for or be associated with J4MB.   By mid-day, he was gone although he couldn’t fit everything into the blue van.   I said he could return to pick-up the remainder and then drop off  the key I’d lent him.   He returned the following Wednesday while I was at work, taking the rest of his things and also taking with him the Easter Eggs that he had given me for the kids.   Having seen close-up what Mike Buchanan is really about, I have no desire to be aligned to his warped ego and would warn anyone to be careful of being associated with him.

At the time, Mike Buchanan was trying to encourage the gullible donors to contribute more money to the election campaign and didn’t want to announce that I’d withdrawn so asked me not to make any formal announcement for fear of reducing possible donation income. 

Mike Buchanan
 To: Ian Young J4MB candidate, Sherwood
Ian, we're putting out an appeal to fund the Royal Mail leaflets this evening. We've decided to do what we can to field a replacement candidate in Sherwood, but we need for the moment to hide the fact you've stood down, in order to raise the money for three candidates by 6 April. This is another reason we'd prefer you don't say publicly you've stood down. Thanks.
Best wishes,
Mike Buchanan

Men's Issues certainly need representing in the political area, but 'Justice for Men & Boys' is not  the vehicle.   The issues that affect men need presenting in a way that doesn’t set men against women but recognises that true equality comes when both genders are in harmony and aware of all inequalities that need tackling.

As a footnote, how did the electorate respond to J4MB?

Ray Barry, a nice guy who would have probably been better off not associating  with Mike Buchanan received 63 votes in Broxtowe.  Turnout was 53,440.  In 2010, Ray Barry stood in Wolverhampton South West seat for Equal Parenting Alliance and received 246 votes.

Mike Buchanan received 153 votes in Ashfield with a turnout of 47,409.

So in 2 seats combined J4MB received 216 votes out of a possible 100,849 turnout, or 0.21% of the vote.

At the local election in the 10 Hucknall wards, we reflected the national picture.  Strong favourites Labour under-performed losing 4 of the ten seats they previously held.  The Conservatives did better than expected gaining 4 seats.  UKIP featured very strongly without gaining a seat and Hucknall First Community Forum ( which only came into existence mid-March 2015-  6 weeks prior to the elections) gained just under 4,000 votes. 

I received 302 votes which was 6.5% of the turnout in the West Hucknall ward.  I will continue campaigning for my local community and greater awareness for men affected by DV.

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.