[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 February 2007, 08:57 GMT
Hidden torment of battered men
By Emma Carson
BBC News

Distressed man
Many male victims fear they will not be taken seriously
Being a victim of domestic violence is not an issue you would usually associate with men.

Yet Matthew, 27, from Leicester, was regularly attacked by an ex-girlfriend for about a year before seeking help. He said many men suffer in silence.

The violence started just before his ex-partner became pregnant with their daughter in the summer of 2003.

But when he finally plucked up the courage to report one incident he was amazed by how the police reacted.

He said the officers he spoke to were incredulous and did not bother interviewing him about it - leading him to doubt himself.

'She threw a cup at you - why don't you just learn to duck?' they said. They were mocking me.
Robin, survivor

"When you're going through it, it does kind of worry you. What do you do? How have I brought this on myself? If the professionals are telling me this but I can't see that, have I done something wrong?" he said.

Sgt Vanessa Robinson, from Leicestershire Police, said: "We didn't give him a good service. We have learned from that and that particular example does form part of the training we're delivering.

"It shouldn't be different how you deal with a male or a female offender, at the end of the day a crime has been committed."

Robin, 62, a former managing director from Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan, said he was still traumatised by domestic violence at the hands of his ex-wife 20 years ago.

I'm trying to find places for men and it's almost an impossibility - I've had men sleeping in their cars
Rosemary, Men's Aid

He recalled spotting hospital notes labelling him "a battered husband" when he sought treatment for his injuries.

"It was the ultimate humiliation. I felt I wasn't a man, I felt it was a declaration to the world that I wasn't able to be a man, I wasn't manly enough to withstand a woman".

When he reported one attack to police, he said he was "pretty much laughed out of the station".

He said: "'She threw a cup at you - why don't you just learn to duck?' they said. They were mocking me. They didn't even interview me."

Robin also faced problems in his work.

"I told a management colleague and he went spare and said don't you dare mention this to any of your staff or we'll have to get rid of you."

In a statement, South Wales Police said any allegation relating to a domestic incident was treated with the upmost seriousness, regardless of gender.

Perpetrators

There is the additional problem of assessing which of two partners in a violent relationship is the actual perpetrator.

"There's a tremendous problem in differentiating between the genuine male victim (who does exist), and the man who is purporting being the victim when in fact it is the female," said Sgt Robinson.

"But this happens in same-sex relationships too".

Rosemary, a helpline worker for Cambridgeshire-based Men's Aid, added: "A lot of these men won't hit back because if they do, they're the ones who are going to get charged with assault."

Hostel places

Male victims face additional problems in that there are only about six or seven hostel places available for them in the whole of England and Wales.

"I'm trying to find places for men and it's almost an impossibility - I've had men sleeping in their cars, on their relations' floors, staying with friends because there's nowhere to go," Rosemary said.

Many men - like women - will stay in a violent relationship as they fear for their children.




SEE ALSO
Survey finds male abuse approval
14 Feb 07 |  Glasgow and West
Men's domestic abuse refuge opens
17 Mar 06 |  Mid Wales
Drop-in for male victims of abuse
10 Jan 06 |  Southern Counties

RELATED BBC LINKS

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific