Male domestic violence
Men can be victims of domestic violence too. If you're a man, and you're being abused in your relationship, don't be afraid to seek help.
Domestic violence is usually thought of as a women's issue. But abuse in relationships can happen to men - by women - too.
Abuse can happen in many different ways including physical violence, sexual violence, playing psychological games or controlling your finances. Domestic violence is about bullying and control and is rarely a one-off incident.
Jason, 24, was with his wife for six years and experienced abuse. "She used to scream at me all the time and lash out during arguments. I had to tell colleagues that the cat was always scratching me," he says. "Really it was my wife, but I couldn't tell them that. How could I tell my mates? How could I just drop that into the conversation?"
I'm a man and I'm being abused. What do I do?
Being assaulted by somebody you know is just as much a crime as being assaulted by a stranger. Admitting you have a problem and talking to somebody about it is an important first step.
The Men's Advice Line offers the following advice, and you can always call them to talk to someone:
- Recognise that you are in an abusive relationship;
- Keep a record of any incidents;
- Report any incident to the police;
- Seek medical attention - either from Accident & Emergency or your GP;
- Take legal advice;
- Don't be provoked into retaliating.
If you find yourself being physically attacked, it's important not to retaliate. Restraining somebody or hitting back leaves you liable for prosecution. If you find that you're getting into a heated argument, leave the room.
I want to leave, but where do I go?
Leaving your home doesn't affect your right to return, your tenancy rights or ownership of the home. Whether you rent or own your home, you have the same rights.
There are a handful of projects around the country that offer accommodation to male victims of domestic abuse. Men's AdviceLline will be able to tell you if there are any in your area. Privately rented accommodation is an option, but could be expensive if you're doing it alone. Staying with your mates or family will probably be your first choice, but this may not work out over a long period of time.
If you are homeless as a result of domestic violence, your local council housing can arrange emergency accommodation. They may ask you to provide evidence that you are being abused, which is when keeping a record of everything can be useful.
Emergency Accommodation is usually in a B&B and will be for a limited period only. To apply for this you need to approach your local council housing department. Your local housing department will provide you with a list of B&Bs in the area and single male hostels.
Can I get an injunction against my abusive partner?
You may decide that it is safe to return to your home if you get an injunction. There are two types:
- Non-molestation Order
This is aimed at preventing your partner or ex-partner from using threatening violence against you or your children;
- Occupation Order
An Occupation order regulates who can live in the family home and can also restrict your abuser from entering the surrounding area.
I'm embarrassed to ask for help
Asking for help doesn't make you weak. Telling somebody that your partner is abusing you is difficult; you might feel ashamed, embarrassed or worry that you won't be taken seriously. But for all victims of domestic violence the advice is the same - you are not alone and there is help available.
Jason adds: "I was really embarrassed but asking for help was the turning point. I realised that it does happen to other people. I left her and started re-building my life. It was hard to trust people at first, especially women, but now I'm in a loving relationship. I'll always be grateful to the people that helped me get out of my situation."
By Liz Scarff
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