Male domestic abuse
"I was a young man in my early twenties when she first started hitting me."
My story of domestic abuse as a man
Male domestic abuse?
Surely not. After all a man is bigger/stronger.
Surely this is a myth?
I was a young man in my early twenties when she first started hitting me.
My then girlfriend was 5ft 3 and about the same build as Kylie, so physically it was no contest.
The first time it occurred I was talking to a friend in a pub in town. Strolling up nonchalantly my girlfriend grabbed at my face, causing a large gash. I pushed her away and she apologised, citing jealously and alcohol.
I let it go.
The second time shortly after, I was at a party, again talking to some friends, when I was shoved and fell flying down a flight of stairs. Again, an apology, again alcohol cited. Again, I let it go.
The next time and the next time, my friends had begun to ask me why I was tolerating this behaviour.
I brushed off their concerns. I was big enough to look after myself and the behaviour was “normal” as it usually involved alcohol and jealousy.
The final straw was when she attacked me at a family gathering and scratched my eyeball.
Her brother and sister approached me and simply said, “what are you doing letting her hit you like that?”
I broke off the relationship and carried on with my life.
Her behaviour had become a running joke with my friends and 30 years later it is still mentioned.
As a 51-year-old man, who is now “slightly” more emotionally aware, I realise that I was a victim of physical and mental domestic abuse. I had normalised my girlfriend’s behaviour.
I was a young man, who in the 80’s had only ever heard of women suffering abuse. I put it down to my then girlfriend being insecure.
The BBC recently published statistics from charities supporting men who have suffered domestic abuse, showing a 60% increase during COVID 19. As I sadly previously believed, domestic abuse is certainly not a gender specific issue. It is a worryingly increasing problem, that can affect anyone at any time.
Nick O'Neill is the Chambers Director at Oriel Chambers and a LawCare volunteer and champion
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