Blaming the Victim – Male Victims of Domestic Violence

October 22, 2009

Domestic abuse: One man’s story

By Tanya Mitchell
The Republican Journal Reporter

BELFAST (Oct 14): The names of the people involved in this account have been changed in the interest of telling the story in its entirety, and to avoid compromising any ongoing court proceedings.

When “Jon” first met his ex-wife, “Tracy,” 13 years ago, he never thought their relationship would end in a divorce — let alone a protection order, criminal charges, and a fight to obtain regular visitation with his 4-year-old daughter.

But his four-year marriage has ended that way, and Jon said it is largely because today’s laws pertaining to domestic violence do little to protect men who are on the receiving end of abuse from their female partners.

Jon said things are improving between him and his ex-wife now, and he has his daughter with him for half of each week, but he wants to share his story to raise awareness about how domestic abuse can affect men.

“I’m not doing this to get back at her, I’m doing this to let people know that this stuff happens,” said Jon in a recent interview. “I think a lot of men are just too macho to admit they can be abused.”

While Jon said his ex-wife had occasionally subjected him to physical violence, he said much of the abuse he suffered was mental and emotional.

“It was mostly mental; she’d break me down and make me feel ashamed, like I was two feet tall,” he remembered. “She’d always come with these threats that she was going to take my kid away if I left her, and she made me think she had the power to do so.”

Jon said Tracy was generally a good person, but a combination of mental illness and alcohol use would turn her into a person he hardly knew. He stayed in the relationship as long as he did mostly for his child, Jon said, but he also stayed because he felt he was obligated to stand by — and get help for — his wife.

The couple eventually sought marriage counseling, but Jon said while he learned some helpful tools for dealing with Tracy’s behavior, he remained unhappy in the relationship because the abuse continued almost daily. For example, if Tracy’s behavior became abusive, Jon said the counselor advised him to leave the house. But Jon said he did not want to leave his child behind, and he was worried about what Tracy might do if he took her with him.

“I was afraid she’d call the cops and say I kidnapped her,” he said.

Jon said he did consider contacting a service organization like New Hope for Women to find help, but he said the very name of the organization made him feel as though it wasn’t the best course of action for a man in his situation.

One day, just over a year ago, Jon decided to leave the relationship on his own.

“I finally decided that God wasn’t going to give me an easy way out, so I had to take a leap of faith,” he said.

Jon said he feared what Tracy might do to retaliate, especially when she realized there was no chance for a reconciliation.

“I left, and she started drinking,” Jon said. “She did everything she could do to make me stay. But I left for my kids and for me, and I did it for her, too. I knew it would be better for all of us.”

On the day Jon left, he and Tracy argued about his decision to end the marriage. While he said he was still concerned about how his choice might affect Tracy, he focused on moving on and went to work the next day. That’s where a police officer came to see him, and presented him with a summons for domestic violence criminal threatening.



No One Believed Me

When men are victims of domestic violence.

By Glenn Sacks, M.A. and Ned Holstein, M.D.

Four Sacramento County Sheriff’s cars pulled up in front of David Woods’s house. He tried to explain to them what happened. But the lead deputy cut him off: “Yeah, that’s fine. Put your hands behind your back.”

David said, “No, wait, she stabbed me … there’s the knife. See the knife? See my neck wound? See?”

“Put your hands behind your back. Turn around,” the deputy replied.

“No,” David protested. “She stabbed…”

The deputies drew their weapons. David’s little daughters came running out of the back bedroom pleading, “Leave Daddy alone! Mamma tried to hurt him with a knife!”

One deputy, a woman, took the children in the bedroom and shut the door. David stood there, cuffed.

How the fight began

David’s wife Ruth had taken the kids out for a walk in 39 degree weather — for seven hours.

“By the time she got back their fingers were blue, their lips were blue, their ears were blue,” David says. The children were soaked; she was soaked. We argued for an hour. “We had to put them in a warm bath to warm them up; they were hypothermic.

Then she started cutting up vegetables for dinner. She had a serrated vegetable knife with a blade about seven inches long. She turned around and she stabbed at me.

“I tried to block it, but I was surprised. I was off balance…the knife went right through my collar and gave me a little nick on my neck.

“She reared back to stab me again. I tried to block it again…I hit her in the mouth. She dropped the knife, ran to the telephone, called 911, and told them, ‘My husband is hitting me! I think he’s gonna kill me.’



False D.V. Charge Seperates Father from Family

By Ann Bauer

It was, finally, a cool and dusky night. So we finished our wine then did a remarkably stupid thing: We went for a walk. This was on the island’s only main thoroughfare. I said something bitchy. J said something mean. And I, literally delirious with fatigue, turned to leave and stepped right into the path of an oncoming car.

J ran into the street and grabbed me, throwing me out of the way of traffic and onto the curb. At 6-foot-2 and 200-something pounds, he came down on me pretty hard. My leg was bent under us. A passing car stopped to see if we were OK.

The next thing I knew, five police officers showed with their disco show of red and blue lights. They cinched their handcuffs around my husband’s wrists and hauled him away. J had been drinking, the officers noted (we both had, but this escaped them). He stands nearly a foot taller and outweighs me by 80 pounds. When the good Samaritan stopped J was lying on top of me, pinning me to the ground. It was a clear case of domestic violence, the head cop said.

I scoffed, telling him it was my fault, that I had walked into traffic, my husband was only trying to help.

“That’s what all abuse victims do,” he responded. “They blame themselves.”

“Listen.” The guy, huge and bald, adjusted his belt. “You’ve got to get it through your head, this guy does not love you. He controls you. Even if you were a great homemaker who kept the house spotless, he would hurt you. Even if you were taller and blonder, he wouldn’t stop.”

…but after excusing herself to ponder she returned to impose the order. I was to have no contact with my husband, in person, by phone or email, until some yet undetermined court date that could happen as late as early 2010. I left, unable to speak to J or let him know that I was leaving.


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