Calls to ensure men are protected against domestic violence

A MALE victim of domestic abuse told MSPs yesterday how his former wife threatened to stab him while he slept and threw a deep-fat fryer at him.

The man spoke out about his ordeal as campaigners took their case to the Scottish Parliament's public petitions committee.

Alison Waugh and Jackie Walls submitted a petition to MSPs calling on the Scottish Government to ensure that domestic abuse campaigns also address the needs of male victims.

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Two men, identified as Mr A and Mr B, told the committee how they were abused by their former partners and called for more support for other male victims.

Mr A said telling his story was "extremely difficult".

He said: "For 17 years I endured physical violence, physical neglect, psychological and emotional torture, manipulative behaviour, gross financial irresponsibility, pathological and wholly unfounded sexual jealousy, virtually unrelenting verbal aggression and disdain until I broke.

"It took 12 years afterwards to stop having nightmares.

"Now more than 20 years on I am told that I suffered from post traumatic stress, at the extreme end of the spectrum."

He said abused men needed more support, telling the committee: "A problem ignored is not a problem solved."

Mr B told MSPs he had had no-one to speak to while he was being abused.

"My ex-wife threatened me a few times with a knife. On one occasion she told me if I went to sleep I would be stabbed," he said.

"A few other examples: she threw a hot deep-fat fryer at me, as well as various cups, ornaments, etc. All of which left holes in the walls. I hate to think what would have happened if she had managed to catch me with one of them.

"She was manipulating. I couldn't see my friends. She isolated me from my family.

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"She attacked me; kicking me in the groin, spitting on me, scratching my face and arms until they bled. I had to take time off work because of the injuries.

"When I did contact the police in the early years of our relationship – and social services – she had a letter sent out to her asking if she was OK. She was treated as the victim."

Mr B went on: "I think it would have felt beneficial if I had somebody to speak to. I never had anybody to speak to. I was embarrassed and didn't want to speak to my friends and didn't want to speak to my family.

"There should be more services available to people who have suffered like myself."

Ms Waugh told the committee why she and Ms Walls had taken up the issue.

"I'm here as a member of the public because over the past few years my eyes have really been opened to the reality of the damage that thousands of men in Scotland experience at the hands of abusive partners

"I was really shocked when I discovered just how much damage men can suffer from an abusive partner."

Male victims should be able to receive counselling from individuals who have been trained to help abused men, she said.

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"At the moment all the training that the government funds on domestic violence is very good at educating participants on what can happen to women, what effect it can have on women and how difficult it is for women to escape.

"That's fine. That's good. We need to know that. But they completely avoid the issue that it might be a man at the receiving end and what difficulties apply to men."