How to recognise if you are being sexually, financially, emotionally, psychologically or physically abused

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Being abused by your partner

There is a level of shame to admitting that you are being abused regardless of what sex you are. Furthermore, in my case I did not even realise it until I came across an article highlighting what abuse is.

What is abuse?

The cross Government definition of domestic violence and abuse is:

“Any incident of controlling, coercive, threatening behavior, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:

How come I didn’t even realise I was a victim?

Throughout my career (I’m a paramedic) I was trained to identify anyone who had been, or was at risk of being abused. At no pint had I ever considered that I was also a victim. After all, how could I be? I was seen to be strong and dependable amongst my workmates and friends. Furthermore, the abuse was a slow growth and I never realised that it was happening. However, it was not until I came across an article that I realised I was ticking most of the factors.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression How to recognise if you are being sexually, financially, emotionally, psychologically or physically abused

My ex’s claim of assault

  • My ex claims that at some point I assaulted her two weeks previously to the 999 call. She stated to the police that I loosely strangled her with her scarf and spat in her face whilst in the bedroom.


  1. If such an event had happened why were the police not called at the time?
  2. Her only witness (her daughter) stated that she saw spit in her mothers’ hair. If she did have spit in her hair she would have wiped it off by the time she was in the living room – where her daughter supposedly saw it.
  3. My ex became aware the day before the police were called (13th May 2017) that I was planning to leave her and had refused to have sex with her on numerous occasions. She further informed me that I was “going to pay for this”. She was aware that I was intending to get advice from an outside source for help and advice on domestic, emotional and sexual abuse. As a result she dialled 999 whilst I was returning my daughter to her mother (my daughter had been ill the night before and the morning of the 999 call).

My history of abuse from my ex

I intend to highlight a range of abuses at the hands of of my ex whilst living together.

As a point of record I had reported these events to my line managers at work back in October 2016. Both have documented records dating back to October 2016. Following telephone conversations and face to face interviews. On reflection this was probably the best thing I had done. I had not gone into great detail with my manager but I had mentioned that things were not right at home and I needed somewhere to stay.

Controlling behaviour

  • My ex demanded that I called her when I arrived at work. I was then expected to tell her if I was either on an RRV(response car) or DMU (large ambulance). If I was on a DMU I had to tell her if my crew mate was either male or female. Depending on gender my ex would then try and find my crew mate on Facebook. She would sometimes contact the female crewmate and send them threatening text. During the day I was expected to contact my ex at least 3 times a day either by phone call or text. Furthermore, I would be expected to let her know when I was returning home. If, and it regularly happens as a paramedic, I was late finishing I had to book my over-run at home in front of her with the associated job number.

I was not allowed to see friends or family without her permission

  • I was not allowed to see friends or attend work functions. As a result I missed friends leaving drinks and team bonding evenings.
  • My ex threatened female friends with violence and name calling

Financial abuse

  • I was expected to pay for all the household bills (except for TV license and council tax). As a result I had no money of which to save and leave her.
  • She often took my car without permission and did not replace the fuel used.
  • She regularly went through my phone and my work diary.
  • I was often accused of having affairs yet was not allowed to be out of the house without her and if I was I had to report in.
  • My ex had been having an affair in the early part of our relationship.
  • If I was off during her work day and went out I was expected to let her know where I had been and to supply evidence – usually a receipt with time and place of where I was at a specific time.

Coercive behaviour

  • My ex often called me names and made threats to my general safety. She once said that because of her ex  being a policeman he would have connections to either have me beaten up or got rid of.
  • My ex took control of my work patterns (see first point under controlling behaviour). I could only book overtime shifts on the days she was working.
  • my ex stopped me seeing friends from work. I was unable to attend social events etc. She also took control of when I spoke or saw my father and son.
  • My ex took full control of the housing expenses. I was expected to pay £880 rent, £300 food and so on. Therefore, I was left with no money for myself. Furthermore,  I was also expected to buy her clothes and shoes on a monthly basis.

Accussed of being unfaithful

  • My ex was constantly jealous and possessive. Furthermore, she constantly accused me of being unfaithful with either work colleagues or friends. She constantly scanned my facebook account, diary and phone.
  • My ex got angry when drinking alcohol.
  • My ex occasionally threatened me with violence or a weapon, usually a knife. She often said her ex could sort me out if required.

Sexual assault

  • My ex often forced me to have sex against my will. My objections to sex arose when I decided I wanted to leave her in October 2016. To combat her advances I would either pretend to be asleep or get drunk prior to going to bed. I sometimes used the excuse of having thrush to avoid penetrated sex with her. It was not unusual for her to hold my sexual organs against my wishes. If sex took place it was always in the dark with my eyes closed. Sex was not an enjoyable occasion with her and I acted beyond my will or consent.
  • My ex always blamed me for her or her violent behaviour and told me that all men were “bastards”. She also wished to punish me for the fact that, in her opinion, her ex (the policeman) got away with assaulting her.

Of course, I did not often recognise the signs and often made excuses for them. It is only now that I can see them for what they were. They were wrong and I deserved greater respect and dignity that I was experiencing at the time.

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Being Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence – By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister