Photoclub

Below you will find “Battered Men Who Share Their Experiences.” These men have graciously and bravely shared their stories through an abuse awareness web site. Unfortunately, this web site is no more, but the stories of these men live on.

As you read, you will undoubtedly find a piece of yourself and your life within each of these abusive relationships. And even though their stories are different, the result of the abuse is the same. Abuse devastates the lives of the victims.

Email Excerpt:

She was physically aggressive in the past, and turned downright violent toward me. It started by hitting me with the phone, throwing objects at me, kicking and clawing. She drew blood a number of times. Under advice from my attorney, I was warned that even taking a defensive position could be seen as an act of violence toward her. The ONLY physical action I took toward her was to restrain her from hitting or biting or kicking me. She was an expert at falling down and screaming — “See kids, look at what your Dad is doing to me.”

Another Email Excerpt:

Here’s the kicker: I’m a mental health professional, social worker and marriage and family therapist. I had blinders on like most guys. I interpreted her behavior as emotional disturbance, and would often sit up all night trying to comfort her after one of these episodes.

Email Excerpt from Jim:

Even though she didn’t return to my office that night, she did go on a rampage when she got home. She went into my home office and gathered my personal papers, threw them into the bathtub, and burned them. Then she destroyed my personal property. Of all the property she destroyed, the care-bear was the hardest to tolerate.

I have two care-bears that are about 2 feet high that sit on my dresser. They are stuffed bears, which were made from the dresses of my two deceased grandmothers. My wife took a steak knife from the kitchen and impaled the crime victims card given to us from the police. She then stabbed the care-bear through the heart. My son found the care-bear the next morning.

Email Excerpt from Steven:

I never actually realized prior to reading all the other people’s stories what sort of situation I was in. It’s still hard to come to terms with that I have been in an abusive relationship, me as the abused. I am writing because I want to know what to do! I have separated from my wife, but I still love her and she is suggesting that we come back together.

To give you some history, we broke up before we married (I broke us up) because of the abuse and the control tactics she used. I didn’t realize at the time it was abuse. I just thought that it hurt too much to be with her. Now I have separated from her again for exactly the same reasons, two and a half years later. I always hoped it would get better but it never did.

Anonymous Email:

At age 42, I am 6’2″ and about 200 lbs. I have a solid background in wrestling and have dabbled in TKD and Judo. I am also a DV survivor, but I am NOT a “victim”!

In the summer of 1993 my X came home drunk and on pain pills. I was asleep in “our” bed having returned from a charity event earlier that evening. I was awakened by her screaming as she came through the bedroom door swinging a baseball bat. She brought it down across my legs. I managed to avoid most of the blow and took the bat away from her by twisting it out of her hands.

She went to the kitchen and got a marble rolling pin. She stood above me in the bed and swung the pin down at my head shattering the light fixture above us. I managed to block that blow with a pillow and trapped the rolling pin. Again I twisted the object out of her hands.

She left the room and I got up to get dressed to leave. As I started to get dressed I could hear her screaming as she approached the bedroom door “I’m going to kill you…!” Instinctively I knew that she had retrieved my 357-hand gun. I was prepared as she entered the bedroom. No, I didn’t hit her with the bat or rolling pin. In fact, that option did not occur to me until I wrote this. I “locked” the cylinder and hammer with both hands so the gun wouldn’t discharge. I twisted it out of her hands. She suffered a minor sprain to her wrist at that point as I was a bit “motivated”.

What I Did Next:

I unloaded the gun, finished dressing and left the house. Then I called her father from a pay phone in the hopes that he might be better able to deal with her. I did not call the police and I did not call a “shelter,” and stayed with family that night. The next day I went home and cleaned up the mess from the broken light fixture. Her response to the event was that she was giving me a “pretty major plea for a hug”. I guess I missed it in the translation.

Since we separated she has tried to run me down with her car. I did not report it to the authorities, as I was afraid that the judge would further limit my contact with my child.

An Email Excerpt:

My lawyer looked at me like I was crazy when I told him…

Email Excerpt:

Why did I take it? I had a daughter that was small that was also screamed at and hit, and scared by stories of the bugger man getting her. I finally had to leave or get killed.

Email Excerpt:

My wife of almost 9 years was a woman of an incredibly short temper and possessed the ability to swing from mood to mood faster than you could shake a stick at. Over the years, she had thrown things at me, including knives, slapped me, punched me, and shoved me on numerous occasions. I had always felt sympathy towards her because of the fact that she had no one in her life that truly seemed to care for her. I was going to be her protector.

Email from George.:

It started with a 911 call made to the police in 1988, during an argument between my wife (of very short duration) and her 16 year old delinquent, alcoholic, out of control daughter. One of them said something about calling the police, and I said, “OK, if you want cops, fine, I’ll call them, which I did. No violence, nothing except arguing, and, the rest is an all too familiar story to most of you —I WENT TO JAIL ON A 5TH DEGREE ASSAULT CHARGE, and shortly thereafter, ALSO GOT HIT WITH THE “ORDER FOR PROTECTION” SCAM!!

Then of course I got divorce papers, numerous court appearances on the criminal assault charge, OFP proceedings, divorce court (two years later finalized), and lost my job, screwed by attorneys and the sick anti-male, anti-dad, “system”. I was labeled as an abuser and a criminal, while the real TRUE facts are that I was abused by my then wife and her daughter, THEN, the worst was yet to come (does this sound familiar to any of you?). Fortunately we had no children together. …Thank God for big favors! I wound up serving 30 days for the “guilty plea” on the assault charge.

Demanded a Jury Trial

I had absolutely refused to plead ”guilty” and demanded a jury trial. So I spent 11 days in jail because I didn’t have the $500 bail money (she had all my money). I was told by my “public pretender” lawyer, that if I would just plead guilty that the judge would kick me out immediately, end of problem. Otherwise, if I continued to insist on a jury trial, I would remain in jail until my trial. That would be in another three weeks or so! I was also told that I would be sentenced like any other guy for a first time domestic assault charge, one day in jail. Of course being that I had already served ELEVEN days, I would be released that same day, so like a dummy, I did that.

In court that afternoon, the judge was going to release me. He asked me if I was going to leave my wife alone. I replied “No I love my wife and value our marriage, so I’m going to try and get her to go back to the doctors who had been, or were treating her for her ‘change of life problems.'” At that point, the judge said, “No Mr. G—–, you’re going to stay away from her and her daughter. I’m going to sentence you to serve NINETY DAYS in the workhouse, and you WILL serve all 90 days! Bailiff, take him away NOW!” After I wrote the judge a nice fanny-kissing letter, I ended up serving 30 days…

Anonymous Email:

I have been verbally and psychologically battered and abused. I’ve been threatened with bodily harm, and threatened to be shot right between the eyes. I’ve been kicked in the groin; I had to watch while my ex sexually molested my daughter and not dare interfere for fear of retaliation.

Then 1 day, while my ex was grabbing and hurting my daughter, I reached out and grabbed her, telling her to stop. There ended up being a red mark on her neck. She called 911 so fast and had me arrested, that my head was spinning with disbelief. When trying to tell the officer that I was provoked and that she was hurting my daughter and that I was protecting my daughter, he told me that I had better keep quiet. I’d charge you with a felony if I could, he said.

We met at a singles get together in July, 1995. She seemed very friendly and outgoing and liked a variety of activities. We began dating, and in a few months we were getting pretty serious. In December 1995, we became engaged. In March 1996, when we went to get our Marriage License, she informed me that she wasn’t ‘officially’ divorced. She had to file those papers first, then we could apply for the Marriage License. She never mentioned to me that she wasn’t divorced or free to marry. I was a bit shocked. We went ahead with the wedding in April 1996.

Right before the wedding started, her friend whispers in my ear that she would kill me if I did anything to her. I thought the comment was a bit inappropriate, but I smiled at the cameras as I walked down the aisle.

A Change

Just a few weeks after the wedding is when the big change seemed to appear. I had 10 acres of land that I lived on for 6 years. I was in the process of building a house on it when I met her. And it so happened that I had completed it just in time for us to move into a brand new house. Two months into the marriage, she becomes pregnant. What should have been an extremely joyous celebration for us, was tainted by the fact that she chose to take the EPT (early pregnancy test) at work with her boss and friends instead of with me. It’s only when I noticed a used EPT, that she told me that the test was positive.

At first, she adored the house and the country setting. But soon, she began complaining of the design. “I sure wouldn’t have done it this way.” She started complaining of the 50-mile drive to work. She started bad-mouthing the neighbors. Then she started bad-mouthing the land, then the local church, it’s members, the music, the smell of the church. Then it was me. After she insulted and degraded everything that I built, my friends, the church… I guess it was my turn.

Stunned

I was stunned at first, just trying to understand what could be going through this woman’s mind. She no longer would do any housework. I would get up at 5 am just to do laundry, clean the floors, clean the toilets, sweep the porch, feed the cats, and get breakfast ready for us. I wouldn’t go to bed until 12 midnight. She wanted me to do extra things around the house, like change the light fixtures, change the electrical outlet color, paint cabinets. Soon I decided to hire a housekeeper once a week to help out. Now I’m lazy, because I won’t do the housework.

In October 1996, she was about 4 months pregnant. She informed me that she’s moving out and getting a divorce unless I sell the house and move to her hometown 60 miles away. All during these months, I was keeping my mouth shut, trying to be the good and understanding husband.

She now reveals to me that she works out with police officers, practices regularly at shooting guns. She tells me that she will have me killed or better yet she will shoot me between the eyes herself because she is a sharpshooter. My wife says that she doesn’t believe in wounding a person…she would shoot to kill. I have no response to this except to say that I don’t believe in guns or violence. I would just try to defend myself the best I can. She says that she would hunt me down wherever I was and “take care” of me.

Why Stay?

You may be asking me why did I stay in this relationship of threats. Well, my answer is that I believed in the bonds of matrimony. I figured since she was pregnant, I would tolerate this as long as possible. Yes, I probably was a bit naive, but I was trying to keep loving this woman. Yes, I was depressed at this time and sought counseling. The counselor was understanding, and said, try to keep your chin up; it won’t last forever. So I stayed in the relationship, constantly being bombarded with insults like, “You’re worthless, you’re a quitter, a loser, stupid, so f-ing stupid”.

What was I supposed to do? I had already been through a divorce; and didn’t want another one. It was a family that I wanted, not a war zone. But what was I to do? I know how men are looked at by society. Men don’t dare accuse a woman of threats or violence, or they’ll be ostracized by the world.

Well, I sold the house. The very next week, she secretly, while I was asleep, takes the child in the middle of the night and moves 60 miles away, claiming that she was kicked out with only the clothes on her back. The attorney and judge gives her everything she wants, and I don’t even get to see my daughter. Nearly every single visitation, I was insulted and degraded in front of my daughter.

A Confrontation

On the day mentioned above, I go to pick up my daughter. The ex yanks her out of my arms, twisting her legs and making her cry. She then kicks me in the groin. I grab hold of my daughter with one arm, and grab my ex with my other hand on her neck. I tell her to stop hurting the child. She kicks me again in the groin. I fall to the ground, my daughter falls, too, and my ex falls on top of me. She kicks me again. Being stupid as I’ve been told, I get up, help her up to the sofa, pick up my daughter to see if she is ok (she is, thank God). I tell her that I should just go… sorry that all this happened.

9-1-1 is called and arrives within minutes. I tell my story; she tells hers. I get the handcuffs and a ride to jail for 48 hours. Now I can’t see my daughter at all. The police don’t believe me, the judge doesn’t, and I can see in the faces of others that all this is questioned also.

I would like to stay anonymous if possible. This is a terrible injustice.

Nothing Can Be Done

I have 2 police reports of Communication Threats, I have a Telephone File on 7 harassing telephone calls. I approached the magistrate with this. This woman magistrate told me that there was nothing to do because I waited too long. Days later, I approached another magistrate, a man. He sent me to a shelter for the abused for a Restraining Order and possible criminal charges. The lady at the shelter said that she appreciated all the work it took me to gather all this information. She then said there was nothing that she could do because between the police reports and the telephone file, it was several months. But she did say that she would keep my name on file for the future.

So now what do I do? Tell my story in hopes that others may see that this really does happen to men. There truly is gender discrimination. I’m almost at the point of going public, even at the risk of being humiliated by many. So I ask again…what do I do?

Email Excerpt:

My wife became very angry and attacked me with a set of Porsche Keys —maybe three inches long. She stabbed me 13 times. As I was trying to leave, she took our daughter and tried to throw her down the steps.

Email Excerpt:

I believe if this got around, there would be a stigma. Some embarrassment toward ex wives and present lovers. I don’t want my kids to hear these stories, or to have others in their world, discussing me regarding this issue.

Email Excerpt:

I still don’t understand why I stayed in that relationship as long as I did. I guess it was because she was such a great girl in every other way and I hoped she would change. I’m never going to go back into that kind of insanity again.

Email Excerpt:

Funny, at the time I told myself I deserved it.

Email Excerpt:

I was awarded temporary sole custody of my three children and possession of the marital home. My ex-wife was in shock and refused to leave … Her attempts to provoke an incident increased. Finally one morning she cornered me alone in the kitchen and again began to punch me out after a nasty verbal exchange. Unfortunately, my 10-year-old son witnessed this episode through a window while he headed for his school bus. I did not strike back. My ex then left and went to the police.

Email Excerpt:

I was abused too many times and decided to end the relationship many times but I was unable to do so. Because she followed my each and every move and I was reluctant to file stalking charges against her because I did not want to hurt her feelings. The abuse intensified, she did not hesitate to hit me …She also clawed me numerous time and even cut me with a knife. I was again failed to report the incidents to the authority. Many times she had threatened me that if I bring any charges against her, she would not hesitate to bring false charges against me…

Email Excerpt:

Her definition of the proper way to conduct an argument was to slap me around until I stopped disagreeing with her. … However, I was willing to put up with it for the sake of her kids…at least until she started endangering them.

Email Excerpt:

She screamed: “I have never forgiven you for the way you looked at me the first time I hit you.” “How did I look?” I asked. “You looked hurt and shocked and angry and disgusted.” “How should I have looked after you hit me?” I asked. “I needed for you to understand how I was feeling and needed your support, not your anger,” she said.

It was then that I understood why she had never apologized for that act of violence or for any of her many other violent assaults.

Email Excerpt:

She was brassy, outspoken and told me she liked “big guys”. I’m 6′ and weigh in at 230. She held a knife to my throat and told me to get out of the apartment. I would not dare move because I thought she would kill me…she would tell friends very publicly why sex with me was difficult. She  later said it was meant to be a compliment, and was kidding about the size of my genitalia. I wasn’t laughing. Every success I had was met with derision. Daily my shirts were ripped, my face was slapped, I was kicked; I was locked out. There was nothing I could do to make a difference. [After I left] she has told me repeatedly, “You’re the only person who really understood me.” The face I see as she speaks is still the one who held the knife.

Email Excerpt from Judge G:

Another very destructive habit, which I have identified in my relationship, I refer to as “echoing”. This abusive habit is extremely destructive to a relationship, yet is a very effective tool, which the abuser uses to in conversation. This habit takes two distinct forms. The object is to feel whatever the partner feels whenever an “attack” is detected by the abuser. The scenario goes something like this:

Partner: I don’t like what you said to me this morning.

Abuser: I don’t like what you say to me either.

This is an easy way for the abuser to avoid addressing your concerns, remain in control, change the subject, and launch a counter attack. You may also notice that this avoids answering a question. Abusers DO NOT ANSWER QUESTIONS!!! That is perceived by them as giving up control. They generally answer a question with a question in attempt to throw the partner off balance and regain control. They will do this repeatedly until you capitulate or until they provoke an argument. This also has the added benefit of teaching the partner not to bring any complaints to the attention of the abuser. The second form is to accuse the partner of whatever the partner accuses them of.

Scenario 2:

Partner: Please don’t raise your voice at me.

Abuser (Screaming): You’re the one that’s yelling.

 – OR –

Partner: Please stop cutting me off and let me finish my sentence.

Abuser (angrily): You’re the one who cuts me off all of the time.

When the conversation is discussed later, the abuser quickly takes the opportunity to first accuse the partner of the infraction and seize the high ground. The abuser will then take every opportunity in the future to accuse the partner of doing what they do saying “See, you do it too.” This is generally viewed by the abuser as a way out. Anytime they accuse you of an action similar to one of their destructive actions, that is viewed by them, as a license to do it at will and a “win”.

Common Tricks

There are many other “tricks used by abusers to avoid communication.” These are two of the most common. I think the key is to understand that the abuser’s language is not the same as a normal person. Their “language” does not convey their thoughts and is in fact designed to do just the opposite. Once we understand this we also learn that we can’t, and shouldn’t want to, speak their language. However, if we have to deal with them, for whatever reason, we can learn to interpret their words and phrases enough to decipher the true meanings. Unfortunately, learning this “language” also seems to more clearly show the hopelessness of establishing a normal relationship with a person of this mentality.

This blog was formerly titled, “Abused Men Speak Out: Battered Men Share Their Life Experiences.” It was posted on the web site at Heart-2-heart.ca (one we linked to in several ways and referred battered men to often). Unfortunately, this web site is no longer found on the Internet. If you see that they are now back up and running, please let us know. We would like to link to their blog, rather than trying to post these men’s stories here. We would greatly appreciate it.