The pain numbing experience of not being believed.

29 05 2010

One of the most painful things I went through was not being believed. Not only was the pain amplified because no one else believed me, it was hard for me to believe what I was going through. It was and still is hard for me to believe that I went through abuse. That I was a victim of spousal abuse.

There was a day when my pastor asked me to come and visit him and tell him what was going on in my life about my illness and recovery. I went to his office, we sat down and I said to him. ********* the best thing you can do is sit down, shut up, don’t give me any advice right now…just listen!

So for the next 30 minutes I told him of my frustrations about the slowness of my recovery and then told him about the abusive nature of my marriage. …I then said to him. I have no choice…I have to leave. I cannot handle the abuse any more.

His reply was. You cannot leave your marriage, you have a covenant with your wife to stay with her and that she isn’t really being abusive, your just having a few issues that’s all. I then asked him, “What about her threats to stab me, what happens the day she carries that out”?

He laughed and said “Craig, I don’t think it is as bad as that. I know your wife. She won’t do that, you just have to love her more” He then to me, look I know finances are tight, how about the church pay for you to have marriage counselling.

I left his office more depleted then I did when I walked into it. I just told him how I was being verbally abused. How I had been punched and threatened. How I was dying inside. I had just told him that I was unable to take it any more and that for my health and safety I had to leave and he laughed at me.

We went to counselling and I tried to tell my story. My wife berated me on the way home each time we went saying how it wasn’t the counsellors business to know what she was doing and it was me who needed fixing.

I finally left and still went to the mens group for a few weeks, but was told by some of the guys that I was in the wrong for leaving my family. That I was in the wrong for separating and talking about divorce. This talk just heaped more condemnation and guilt and shame on me.

I had spent months agonising in prayer with God about this issue. Until the day came when my wife berated me while I was having a shower telling me that she held me in the utmost contempt, that I wasn’t a real man. That I wasn’t ill and never had been. That there was nothing wrong with me apart from my being mentally ill. The she knew me better than I did and was doing this for my own good.That I was only acting because I wanted some sympathy. …and that I had no right spending so much time in hospital instead of being out working providing for the family, and that God held me in contempt also because I wasn’t providing.

I curled up on the shower floor in a feotal position crying out to God, God I cannot stand this any more. Her words were like bullets, each one destroying me more. My wife then said…I expect this house to be clean and lawns mowed by the time I get back from work you useless piece of @$%#^%#

I stayed in the shower for about an hour. I felt unclean. I felt ripped apart. I sat on the back step and said “God, I have no choice. I have to divorce my wife.” and a few months later I separated and moved out because of more violence. .

A month later after moving out, I was invited to go back to church to watch the kids in a pageant. An elder of the church asked me why he hadn’t seen me lately and I told him I had separated and why I had done so. His reply to me was…”What did I do to deserve the abuse”?

I turned from him. I was totally ripped inside. I was numb. I somehow held back the tears and I walked out of the church never to return. At that time I had never felt so isolated. I felt like I was on my own. I had been told so often by my now ex wife that no one would ever believe me if I told them she was abusive. And now I was experiencing those words coming true.  And I walked out of that church, never to return.

There were many more experiences to tell, where I wasn’t able to speak. Where I wasn’t able to share. And when I did get the courage to speak I wasn’t believed.

Fourteen months later, I still fear meeting people from that church. I fear hearing their words of condemnation. I still fear their disapproval. I have since joined another fellowship who have accepted me into their midst. They have offered me comfort and healing. I haven’t shared with many my experiences, apart from the pastor who has told me he is so sorry.

If your reading my post, the best thing you can do for someone if they tell you they have been abused is to listen to them, tell them you are sorry and that you believe them.





The pain of being alienated from family and friends

29 05 2010

Last night I rang an old friend whom I havent seen for a number of years. The last time had been when I was in hospital in 2007.  I have known her and her husband for about 25 years and were pretty close.

She told me that she had known we were seperated and then told me that my ex wife had rang and told her that I had just up and left, leaving her and the kids behind a few days after I finally did leave the house. When I filled her in with my side of the story and what had happened she was shocked.

I was not surprised to hear of my ex wife calling my friend in the way she did. This call was one of many that now a few years down the track I am hearing about. Part of the verbal abuse that I suffered was a constant barrage about how even my friends and family didn’t want anything to do with me.

She held a birthday party for my two boys, making it clear to me that she would make it as hard for me as she could if I came for it…then told every one who came that I was not interested in the kids or her…and had just upped and walked away. My brother went to the party with his boy and a few days later told me I was a slack ass for not going and how could I have done that to the kids….

When I first left I told a friend what was going on and why. He told his wife, who actually approached my ex about the issue of abuse.  A few days later she fired up at me, telling me how dare I tell people anything about her and that by the way, they never did believe me and that no one did and no one would and that she was going to make sure that I was going to loose every friend I ever had.

The day I realised that she was doing all this manipulation on purpose was a day I was walking back home from the shops. My ex was in the carpark with a couple of friends and asked me really nicely in front of them if she could have a word. I said Ok! Her friends walked away and she looked around to make sure no one was watching and went off her nut at me…telling me how all her friends could see she was being nice to me, that they knew she was better then me and that she would make my name mud with every one I know.

Its now 14 months down the track since I left the home and the divorce has happened. But there are so many scars. I fear contacting my old friends. The thought of them rejecting me is too much to bear. While in my head I know them to be lies… in my heart all those words have taken root.

There are days when it takes all my energy to pick up the phone and call someone from my past, whether it be an old friend, or family member. I have new friends now. Some know my past, many don’t. Its good to have friends, and indeed its an important part of our identity.

It was so good last night to hear the voice of my friend from years ago. There was much healing in doing so. Her and her husbands acceptance of me brought deeper healing then she could ever know….

How can one describe the pain, the deep inner pain of what happens when another strips your identity away from you so much that you believe their lies that even family and friends don’t want anything to do with you any more.  I am sorry about the clumsyness of this post…I have to go… the tears are too much





Psychologist speaks out about the truth regarding men and domestic abuse…

27 05 2010

Watch this and see if it clashes with your previously held beliefs.





Australian research is proving men are victims also.

27 05 2010

I have cut and pasted this entry from Dads4Justice blog.  Its worthwhile reading.

Male victims of domestic violence need campaigns and services: report

A groundbreaking report from Edith Cowan University (ECU) has found that male victims of domestic violence can suffer from a unique form of legal/administrative abuse previously unidentified in research, as well as experiencing most of the same impacts as female victims.

The Intimate Partner Abuse of Men report, to be launched this morning in Perth, found that “Male victims of intimate partner abuse and their children suffer a range of consequences, such as psychological distress (including disorders such as depression and anxiety disorders), suicidal ideation, impaired self-concept and loss of work.”

It found that male victims are often reluctant to disclose their experience of abuse or seek help because of their sometimes justified fears that they will not be believed, that they will not be assisted or will instead be blamed for the abuse.

The study recommends that government-funded public campaigns be conducted to raise awareness of domestic violence against men; that consideration should be given to providing publicly-funded services specifically for male victims; and that workers in health and welfare fields should be provided with training to assist them to recognise and respond effectively to male victims of domestic violence.

The study’s findings come after the release of statistics last year by the WA Department for Child Protection, showing that in 2007-08 women were responsible for more than three quarters of all substantiated child maltreatment.

Greg Andresen from the One in Three anti-violence campaign said “We know that one in three victims of family violence and abuse are male. This study confirms that these men have almost no services to help them, despite suffering from physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, financial and social abuse just like women victims.

“The study also discovered that some women abuse their male partners by manipulating legal and administrative resources such as taking out false restraining orders or not allowing the victim access to his children.”

In July 2009 the Federal Attorney-General asked the Australian Law Reform Commission to inquire into what improvements could be made to relevant family and domestic violence legal frameworks to protect the safety of women and their children. The One in Three campaign argues that this exclusion of male victims and their children is typical of government approaches to the issue of domestic violence which assume incorrectly that the vast majority of perpetrators are male and the vast majority of victims female.

Campaigners say that making a protection such as freedom from violence dependent on the victim’s sex violates some of the most fundamental principles of international human rights law.

Mr Andresen added, “Some will argue that domestic violence perpetrated by women is not a serious matter. However research overwhelmingly shows that coercion (control and domination) is a frequently cited reason by women for their own use of violence, and by male victims for their female partner’s use of violence.

“Other research confirms that women rarely use violence in self-defence. Self-defence is cited by women as the reason for their use of domestic violence including homicide in only a small minority of cases (between 5 and 20 per cent).

“Men are physically injured by female perpetrators, and often seriously, because women can do just as much harm with a weapon as men can, despite any differences in size or strength. And children suffer equally regardless of whether it’s Mum, Dad or both being violent.”

The One in Three campaign is calling upon state and federal governments and non-government service providers to heed the recommendations of the ECU study and provide services to all victims regardless of their sex. These include counselling and support services, accommodation services, help-lines and crisis response, and community education and prevention programmes.

MEDIA CONTACTS

Greg Andresen, One in Three spokesman, 0403 813 925, info@oneinthree.com.au
Dr Elizabeth Celi, Psychologist and Author, 0413 338 237, info@qualityliving.com.au





Automatically presumed Angry.

25 05 2010

My two boys started to play up at school particularly my youngest son. Eventually when the abuse came to a head and I had to leave, Burnside contacted me about a program they had called Brighter Futures.

The first lady I spoke to really supported me and counselled me through the circumstances of what was happening to me. When she left for another appointment the next lady who replaced her wanted me to join a mens anger management group, telling me that if I didn’t they wouldn’t be able to continue to help me.

I told her that I wasn’t able to do that as I was already actively involved with a mens group with church on that night and that I didn’t have an anger issue or problem..and asked why she was wanting me to do it when ny wife had the anger problems?.. That question was never answered.

I am so glad I didn’t join that group as it would now have legal implications for me in court. It’s really interesting that there is no anger management courses available for women to do…. the question I ask is WHY?





The Human Rights Commision is not for Human Rights for all

21 05 2010

I contacted the Australian Commission for Human Rights telling them my story about my experience of abuse and my experience of getting little help from the NSW Department of Community Services.  I explained how the two public documents on the Doc’s website about abuse automatically assume that men are the abusers and women the victims and how that experience caused me to feel more victimized and unable to find help.

I shared with them how I had been contacted by an affiliated Doc’s provider (Brighter Futures) about the behavior of my children at school, who were responding to what was happening at home. I had shared with them how I was victimized, that my wife was abusive and that they then wanted me to sign up for a Anger Management Course.

Hmmm I found this interesting, I was hit, spat on, kicked, bitten, had things thrown at me, holes put in the walls by my wife and had personal items destroyed. I was threatened to be stabbed, verbally abused, mentally, spiritually and emotionally attacked; and they had the hide to say that they wanted me to go and do a Anger Management Course

I had emailed the Human Rights Commission on Wednesday night and I received a phone call from them the next morning. The person ringing me was very touched by my poem “Cutting Words.”

They informed me that they were unable to help me. That even though I had felt discriminated upon because of what had happened they couldn’t help me. Theythen made the suggestion  that I contact the NSW Anti Discrimination Board…which I will do; Watch this space.

The clanger was then dropped. I asked the man if I was a woman going through the same thing would they be able to help me and they replied “YES they would”…Upon asking “WHY”, I was told that under the UN charter and the Australian Federal Government legislation the Human Rights Commission was only legislated to deal with inequality issues with Women and to a lessor degree Children.

Now I am a great fan of Gender Equality with a recognizance of difference in biological function. I think there has been some great strides over the years for recognition and action towards equality for women. Such as the vote, the ability to take out loans, work place payments and I applaud the strides that have been made to stamp out abuse and victimisation of women of any kind.

In saying this, shouldn’t MEN be included in the charter and overall care of the  Human Rights Commission. There is a danger and indeed it is starting to happen that the intent to create basic Human Rights where all have the right to be treated with dignity and respect without fear of intimidation and abuse is failing. If one part of society is failed to be cared for, then all of society will suffer.

Abuse is not a gender issue, it is a issue dealing with broken humanity.





When is the truth not the truth?

20 05 2010

Its been interesting to read what information is out there regarding domestic abuse from official websites.

The department of community services in NSW Australia have nothing…not a thing to help men who may be going through an abusive time. On the NSW Police force’s website on its section about domestic abuse it begins with saying that men are more often the perpeptuators of voilence in a relationship…this is for the most part correct when it comes to physical battering, though women are mostly guilty of slapping, throwing items and biting.

It then goes to say that emotional and vervbal abuse are the most common forms of abuse and its results are often more devastating then other forms….which means the information offered by the NSW Police Force is wrong because research shows that it is women who are the greater offender of emotional and verbal abuse.

A survey research paper done by the department of Health by the Canadian Government says that in hetrosexual relationships 8% of women will face domestic abuse and 7% of men will suffer from abuse..

In England and the United States research is saying that 40% of all domestic abuse victims are men…and that figure most likely is under reported as men tend to suffer a greater deal of shame and embarressment to report it. As someone who has been involved in suicide prevention and awareness, I would like to be able to find out the number of men who have taken their lives because of continual abuse?

If so then the information that’s given by the government and accepted as truth by  society is wrong, for if  someone takes their life because of abuse then those people are victims of abuse…m

There are no indications to say that the research done in Canada, America and England would have any different social markers for society in Australia and indeed most of the research that is publicised and used in Australia references selected papers used in those other countries. Whether we use the Canadian percentages or the stats from America and England the truth is that there isn’t such a big difference between who is a victim of abuse.

I stand against abuse of any kind… I am against abuse of any kind against men and children and I am against abuse of any kind against women.

In the fight to stop it, lets stop with the lies that is fed to society and admit it is more then just a gender issue.