A male perspective of abuse

In recent times I have become aware of the extent of abuse in our world. The publication of the review

In recent times I have become aware of the extent of abuse in our world.

The publication of the review of Mandy Smith’s memoir Secrets in Big Sky Country and the comments it attracted enlightened me as to how widespread this insidious practice is.

As I say in my review I am not a victim of childhood sexual abuse but I am a victim of domestic violence.

As a male this is very difficult to admit to. I was brought up at a time when we were told that boys don’t cry and that being male was taking on the world and whatever happened you accepted and got on with life, you didn’t make a fuss about anything as you didn’t want to besmirch your own opinion or that of your parents of being male.

I remember a day in primary school when I fell over and badly grazed my knee and as I sat nursing my knee and the pain was overwhelming and I was fighting like crazy to hold back the tears the voice of my father was echoing in my head “Boys don’t cry”.

In making a declaration such as “I am a victim of domestic violence” you have the immediate feeling that you are putting yourself at risk by coming out with such a statement.

What are people going to think?

You feel as though you should go into the back room, lock the door and wait till everyone outside has gone away and hopefully forgotten what you just said. In that way you can re-enter the world and carry on living in conscious denial.

For a male admitting to being a victim of domestic violence plays at the very source of his ego.

Most men want people to think of them as ok sorts of guys who can climb mountains, build their own Tag Mahal and be the perfect or near to one father to their children.

When you have children who witness the violence then there is the added humiliation of them seeing their father treated in this way.

In my case my children have stuck by me all these years. They have been and are my greatest supporters. I made every effort despite what they saw happen to me to be their father, protect them whenever I could from their tormentor and in later life support them in every way possible.

In my case I refused to have my spirit broken despite every effort of my perpetrators. Something inside me always told me what I was going through was not right and that I would never stoop to their level.

At the time I never saw myself as a victim of domestic violence. I think I would have been in denial of such a term preferring to think that my life was what it was and that for the most part I was to blame for much that was happening to me.

It’s so easy in any domestic situation to believe everything you are told. If I had been a better husband, a better provider, a better man then none of this would ever have happened. I used to wake up of a morning thinking of what to do to placate the beast I lived with.

Of course that was the problem. Placating only leads to more grief, more disruption more pain and tears.

It took me more than twenty years to finally say enough is enough and leave and never look back.

What are your thoughts on this issue?

This piece was originally published on Starts at 60 as ‘Abuse, a male perspective’. It was one of our most popular contributions by the Starts at 60 community in 2016.

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  1. Hi Michael, Thank you for having the courage to write this article. We have to expose this scourge in all of its forms. My perpetrators are now deceased but eligible for a jail sentence today if still alive. Sadly it is still happening and we have a responsibility to speak out – even if only to release ourselves from our own prisons. I am so glad that your children have stuck by you and my positive thoughts go out to you.

  2. Pamela  

    You are certainly not alone Michael.

    Although I experienced DV myself, I know of at least 3 men personally who have also.

    I am sick of all the advertising and support going to women with no (or little) mention of men in the same situations.


  3. Geoff  

    Yes 18 years of abuse both physical and told I’m no one likes me and cut off from all my friends was enough for me . I walked out of a gay relationship and lost my house and all my possessions back in 1999 . I’ still have nightmares and recovering financially but am on a good track . Back then living in a small town with no support whatsoever was difficult and nearly took my life on more than one Occassion . My X turned all my friends against me , so glad I made it and saw life was better than the poison I was living . I have come out the other side of those dark days but still need to work on my self esteem .

  4. Frank  

    an ex-girlfriend grew up in an abusive family – her father and younger brother used to bash her regularly, and her mother was verbally abusive

    I only learned this the first time she threw a large object at me, and physically attacked me – I had never experienced such in my life and simply walked out saying ‘we’re finished’

    but I was alone and came back – she later told me she was the first male she’d met that hadn’t abused her – and learned from me that males could be nice.

    Decades later I happened to find her on social media and sent a hello – and she replied that she still thought about me often – and every day – so I guess that meant something.

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