If I talk who will listen?

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Nearly 25 years ago I won sole custody of my sons. Just saying it like that makes it sound so simple. But it wasn’t. I had to sacrifice a good career, battle with social services who had a single view of parenting and I had to face up to the realities of being a single father in a hostile environment to men.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression If I talk who will listen?

When I recall those times I remember feeling frustrated and isolated. I knew of no other single male fathers or other men who had or were battling social services to meet a logical conclusion.

The big world got smaller

The big difference then was that the mode of communication was very limited. The internet was still in its infancy and organisations like ‘Families Need Fathers’ could only be contacted either by post or by visiting their weekly meetings. I suppose I could argue that the world was a very narrow place when looking or seeking for help, guidance and support.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression If I talk who will listen?
Now with technological advances similar people can be contacted and groups be found within a moment. Furthermore, all of this can be done from the phone that sits in my pocket. All of these advances are something beyond my dreams back then – but here it is and it is wonderful.

The power of the internet

I must state that I have taken full advantage of the technology to hand and found it to be useful. I have links on various social networks. I have contacted groups from all over the world and spoke directly to individuals not only in my own country but from all around the globe.
However, I have found a common denominator. I have found that the art of being ignored by the authorities is not a single issue. It is prevalent all around the world.
Whilst I have researched, considered and delivered my findings and arguments I have found that the people who need to hear us are actively ignoring our calls.

The need to write

My writings have generally been about depression and domestic abuse from a male perspective. I set out to do this over twelve months ago because when I was looking for something there was nothing available. Yes, there is literature available about domestic abuse but only if you are female. The literature on depression is limited but tended to be clinical and lack the authentic experiences of a sufferer. As a result, I found it easy to combine, but I have found it frustrating not to be heard.

Over exposure?

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression If I talk who will listen?

It took a great step to open up. By writing about my views and experiences I was (and still am) leaving myself open to scrutiny. When I set out to write I decided that as there was very little out there, I would be a no hold barred writer and express and talk about anything and everything. After all, in my view and hour of need it was what I wanted to hear from someone else.
My point throughout has been that (mainly) men should open up and accept that enough is enough. It is not good enough to expect there to be no literature in doctors surgeries highlighting male victims of domestic abuse. It is also unacceptable for a male victim to be expected to sleep rough as there are no refuges available for men. It is also a life saving decision to express a need for help when the dark clouds of depression take hold.
Yet, and here is the rub. I had made contact with a number of organisations who had claimed to offer an ear of understanding.

In the kingdom of the blind…

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression If I talk who will listen?
I approached the police with my evidence of assaults and abuse. I also supplied them with facts from the Crown Prosecution Service about the lack of information received. The Crown Prosecution Service were informed and challenged about their views on male victims and the issues related to target setting prosecutions against men (and not women). I had also contacted a range of social services expressing my concerns related to male victims of abuse and their continued lack of resources for men.

Yet each and every one of them had either refused to comment or delivered a range of unexplainable and illogical excuses. Time and again I had received letters implying that I should either just go away or put these things down to experiences and move on. One example, was found in a letter I received from the police. It said;

…[the] meeting presented a further opportunity to articulate your concerns and observations and for me to report back on my considerations of the matter. I know you do not share my opinion but I retain the view…. Your allegations was dealt with represented a proportionate police response.

Let me put this into perspective then. I supplied the police with evidence such as diary accounts, text messages, emails, photographs and independent statements from independent witnesses (x3), Ambulance Service Managers and family members. And yet they decided to not take my case further. As a point of fact, they did not even pass my documents to the Crown prosecution Service for their consideration. Is this not a case, therefore, of cherry picking? And yet the full force of the law was placed onto me because my ex made a claim and it was backed up by her (none independent) daughter. Or to put it another way, there was no diary accounts, text messages, emails, photographs and independent statements from independent witnesses.

…the one eyed is king.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression If I talk who will listen?
I have taken the time and the opportunity to raise this concern with the police time and again and yet they stick by their guns still refusing to accept the fact that they have not applied the law equally. Or for that matter justly. I have also taken the time to express my concerns with the police for the lack of support for male victims of domestic abuse. To date the only response I have had about this matter is a paragraph in a letter stating;

…the availability of literature for male victims of domestic abuse could be enhanced.

I note that it says could and not should. In essence it makes no promise or effort to address the imbalance. Furthermore, when I stated in a previous letter that I have still not heard from a Domestic Abuse Support Officer (now 14 months after informing the police) I have still not had any response whatsoever. To quote from Mark Brooks from Mankind Initiative UK following the death of Mark Von Dongen “[is] it down to lack of competence and because… [I am] a man?”

A no win situation

With the lack of clear support and understanding of male victims it therefore, makes it even harder for men to come forward. In essence, with the present status quo the fact of the matter is that male lives just do not matter.

I now sit back in my chair and think about how far I have come. I am now in a good place and I consider myself to be happy. Yet all of this has been done with the support of friends and my own un-defeatist attitude. However, I have learnt that it is impossible to reason with the unreasonable. When you have an agency that are so stuck in their ways and are encouraged to be so there is no impetus to change. After all, why should they when they are meeting targets and individuals can be pushed aside and forgotten? Why should there be change when society is so silent about private injustices or plights?

If we close our eyes (and ears) it won’t exist

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression If I talk who will listen?

There is no requirements to support men when they have been painted (and remain so) as the perpetrator of all things evil and blue eyed, blonde haired claims are taken as the gospel when the facts show otherwise. Why should the police delve into an accusers past and find a pattern of abuse claims against other men?

The answer to all of this is simple. It is not politically correct to consider a male view. It is impossible for them to consider evidence as facts that fly in the face of a perceived consideration. Furthermore, a lone man trying to take a stand against an established authority is small fry and is easily pushed to the side with rhetoric and false appeasements.

Past its sell by date

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression If I talk who will listen?
Regardless of how the police and judiciary try to defend their lack of actions with regards to male victims of domestic abuse, the same old rhetoric about women being more likely to be victims of domestic abuse will keep getting rolled out. But why has no one stopped and considered that fact that this statistic is nearly 30 years old, and in my view, therefore, outdated. It would be inconceivable for a new study to be carried out as it would find that the police actions and lack of support does not fit with the real world of which they claim to police.

Well if you won’t listen, I will turn up the volume

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression If I talk who will listen?
I suppose I can consider that my journey is coming to an end. I am not waving a white flag and laying down my arms. Far from it. I suppose I am going to take a new and different stance on the matter of male victims of domestic abuse. I have focused on my own experiences with regards to the failure of the police. A new tactic is one whereby I can now go public. My knowledge and understanding of the system that chooses to ignore cannot overlook the fact that a sole voice can sound much louder when it has access to media and other men (and women) in similar situations that have felt ignored, forgotten and alas expendable.

3 Replies to “If I talk who will listen?”

  1. Hi Keith, as we have agreed our journeys are identical to the way we have been treated and made to look like the perpetrators from false accusations. My experience to date follows your own treatment by the police and offers no solution more than expecting us to give up and go away. My barrister saying good luck with that when I said I would pursue a complaint against the police. Hardly a vote of confidence in a supposed balanced society. Seven months in to my complaint you advised me what to expect and to the word it has played out exactly. The police and CPS side stepping at every opportunity even blaming each other. The big question why the police cannot just accept to have been fooled by a female actor who’s play pen is the justice system to stage their act of victimisation in the public eye once being exposed to be the true perpetrators dragging lives to the edge and walking away leaving the true victim to pick up the pieces and get on with our lives just as was told to. Hopefully our fight to clear our names will make it easier for other men to step from the shadows and speak for the males who are afraid of coming forward in fear of not being believed. Hope the book is out soon, I am looking forward to reading it. Best regards, Graham

  2. Hello Graham
    I know that our stories are very similar and in someways it is a bit of a worry. If it is happening to us then how many others have also been effected by the failures of the police, the justice system and everything else that is out dated and out of touch with reality?
    To give them their credit the police have at least tried to put a friendly face to the issues raised by they have still failed to comprehend the issues that I have raised. By their own admission there is a problem but the problem is too big for the police to tackle alone. And so, as a result the status quo will remain. And as you have already stated the CPS are proficient at side stepping the obvious. What is even more frustrating is that when I have identified specific failures the old adage of blaming the police is used. But again, the police are quick to lay the blame of decisions onto the CPS ad nauseum.
    Although I know that my name has been cleared and I have been exonerated I am adamant that saying someone is innocent is only half a solution. For me this has become a principle. The authorities cannot just throw their weight around and not expect some kind of consequence. There are people out there whose lives have been ruined by false allegations. In fact, as you are aware, there are people who have also taken their own lives because the pressure of not being believed or the police failing to investigate properly has become too unbearable to live with. It is for these people that the survivors have to step forward and be heard. If not us then who? Unlike the police I consider it as our moral duty to try and protect the real truth and the real victims. Unfortunately, it is a David and Goliath task but this Goliath is funded, supported and infiltrated with tax payers money, ignorance and poor education about the true realities of todays society.
    I consider that if they wish to play the game by their rules then the rules I have abided by need to change. This is why my book will be out followed by the sequel in a few months time. After all, if the mountain won’t go to Mohammed then the mountain just needs to be moved and everyone needs to know what is going on in the name of so called justice, protection and the law.
    Keep in touch Graham.
    As always, kind regards

  3. I relate to both Keith and Graham because the police refused to view my evidence and instead sought to convict me, the victim. Yet the diary I have kept is date-auditable and tallies with other factual events that indicate its accuracy. In stark contrast, my abuser’s statement to police was shown to contain many lies, or should I say ‘untruths’. It was so easy to prove that was the case using extensive financial documentation. Whilst I have succeeded in getting police to improve their domestic abuse publicity , I feel this has only been achieved by persistently reminding them of their obligations under the Equality Act 2010. Some of my efforts have recently turned to a very large organisation that is rolling-out safeguarding training to staff and volunteers. Their specialist material on domestic abuse is largely of good quality, but a few days ago I made the organisation’s lead on safeguarding aware of a number of areas in which their documentation, perhaps unwittingly creates an impression that men, not women are the abusers. This is portrayed in subtle ways, such as an escape plan that refers to purse & keys. It needs to change to purse/wallet & keys. The fact that there are just a few such ‘errors’ in an extensive document is encouraging and I hope that by encouraging small changes, the rollout of training will be considerably improved. My story is one of coercive control, psychological and financial abuse. Physical abuse took place in terms of restricting my movements and if I tried to escape such control she accused me of being the abuser. Some of it is in my diary, which is some of the evidence the police declined to see. https://domesticabusedhusband.wordpress.com/extracts-from-my-journal-of-her-abuse/

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