A man who’s survived an abusive relationship writes…

Our thanks to ‘John’, who’s just left the following on our associated website, The Alternative Sexism Project http://thealternativesexismproject.wordpress.com. It takes up the remainder of this piece:

My ex-fiancee was one of those hysterical women who kept me up till 4/5am arguing over I never knew what, after 13-15 hour shifts. I was often physically exhausted and why I stayed is still a mystery to me, I suppose I felt I loved her. On one of those occasions she ended up locking me in the house (the downstairs only had ‘slat’ windows). She hid all the keys including my car keys and also my iPad and laptop under the sofa so I couldn’t leave (I needed them for college as I’m doing a part-time degree). She tried everything to keep me from leaving, including beating me, pretending to faint (I walked over her because I knew it was an act) and then, more shockingly, by waving a butcher knife in my face in the kitchen – forcing me to call the police.

I remember at the time thinking, “Jesus, she’s going to stab me, and there’s nothing I can do about it!” – even though I knew I could physically stop her – I had a choice between jail or death. Once I had the cops on the phone I knew she’d think twice and looking back I think it saved my life. The real shock is that I actually got back together with her after that (I know, I know, ‘idiot’ doesn’t begin to describe it, but it does give me a fairly unique perspective). I found that while the police at the time of the incident questioned both her and I regarding what had happened, they never called, wrote, or conducted a follow-up with me – never, not once. Yet she received numerous phone calls, the social services called to her house to see if she was emotionally OK, the police officers involved wrote letters to her and gave her advice and numbers for victim helplines. It shocked me how supportive and even incessant they were. I remember at the time of the incident the officer took a statement and asked me “if I felt I my life was in danger” – I said No because I wanted to protect HER, looking back now that was utterly stupid of me, as some other poor soul might end up paying with his life, but at the time I was a mess and it seems like they couldn’t have cared less.

She tried of course to turn it all around and make it my fault and it wasn’t long before I could see things headed the same way again. Suffice it to say my response – to her consternation – was to slowly try and move my most valuable things out without her noticing and then leave while she was out. I’ve no doubt she hated me for leaving nothing more than a text message, but then I lost everything I owned and I had nowhere to live as I’d moved in with her and was paying HER mortgage. Now months later I remind myself that I was the victim not her, no matter what anyone else thinks. Unlike a woman I don’t seek reparation or to charge her for my emotional suffering or the loss of my possessions (even the police couldn’t get back more than a pile of my clothes in the first incident). I’ve moved on, grateful to be rid of her and frankly afraid to come forward again in case she decides to punish my family or myself, or make our lives hell.

So I agree wholeheartedly. Enough is enough. It’s time as Men we stopped taking this kind of abuse from women, and time the law reflected that. Standing up isn’t cowardly or chauvinist, it’s brave, and we need more men like yourself, Mike, to do that. So from one “ex-soldier”, thank you.

About Mike Buchanan

I'm a men's human rights advocate, writer, and publisher. My primary focus is leading the political party I launched in 2013, Justice for Men & Boys (and the women who love them). I still work actively on two campaigns I launched in early 2012, Campaign for Merit in Business and the Anti-Feminism League. In 2014 I launched The Alternative Sexism Project, aiming to raise public understanding that the sexism faced by men and boys has far more grievous consequences than the sexism faced by women and girls.
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  • Thank you for sharing this. Though public attitudes may be slow to change I’d like to focus on the response of the police. Public bodies need to be called out on such sexism. Whatever daft ideas from bloggers or fanciful academics or ambitious politicians we should expect better from public services. Now there are police commissioners target them with the expectation that “their” police force and allied institutions live up to the public equality duty.

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