Central Victorian man calls for more support for male victims of domestic violence

January 18, 2013

A Central Victorian man is calling for more support to be made available to male victims of domestic violence.

Rob, who did not wish to use his full name, contacted the Bendigo Advertiser recently in response to the White Ribbon campaign that was celebrated in Bendigo last month.

Rob has been both a victim and perpetrator of domestic violence and said he was turned away by the authorities when he sought help.

“I was in a relationship with a girl for two-and-a-half years and I tolerated abuse for the last 11 months of the relationship,” he said.

“I sought help but there was nothing around for men.

“My former partner did not believe that the problem stemmed from her actions and often said that I could not possibly blame her and that it was different for girls.

“My initial contact was with a men’s behavioural group but because I wasn’t a perpetrator they weren’t interested in talking to me.

“I went to the police but a female basically mocked me and said, ‘Men aren’t abused’.”

Rob said the abuse – verbal, emotional and physical – started in August 2010.

He said he and his partner had been separated for about eight weeks, they then reconciled and things began to fall apart again shortly after.

Rob said he remembered one violent episode where she repeatedly hit him with her make-up case, leaving him cut up and bleeding and with loose and broken teeth.

He said his partner used to regularly “smash things up” and once smashed a kettle against a fridge, leaving him to clean up the mess.

“One night she beat my chest in the hallway of my home,” he said.

“She said to me, ‘If I had a knife right now I would stab you’… this woman was really hurting me.

“She broke a bone in my hand and perforated my eardrum.”

Rob said that after episodes of violence in August, April and May, he finally lost his temper and hit his partner.

“I had had enough of being hurt,” he said.

“On that occasion, in June 2011, I was in bed and she came in and hit me with something and then threw a jug of water in my face.

“So I sat up and slapped her face… the next morning the police were at my door.

“It was the same police officer I’d made the complaint to, who’d ignored me.” Rob said he ended up in court and now had a criminal record.

“Everyone, even my lawyer, said ‘don’t say anything about her, it will only ruffle the magistrate’s feathers’,” she said.

“I now have a criminal record for a violent crime, while she gets away with everything she did to me.

“I used be on the volunteer list for the City of Greater Bendigo.

“I can’t do that anymore.

“My working with children has been revoked.

“I’ll never be able to work in local government again. Your insurances go up –  everything you can think of, this affects.”

Rob said he supported the White Ribbon movement and had bought a wristband, but he didn’t wear it for fear of being hypocritical.

“But I was frustrated and angry when I heard some things,” he said. “Everything is biased towards women. People need to know there is another side.

“I couldn’t get help anywhere. It’s nonsense.

“During the White Ribbon Day promotion I listened to some police officer from Bendigo talk on ABC Radio saying people who abuse women are thugs.

“Yes, I did what I did, but it was an act of last resort.

“It disgusts me that I allowed this woman to drag me to this level.”

Bendigo police say all domestic violence incidents should be reported

Women are more likely to be victims of family violence, but men are not immune to the problem, according to Bendigo police.

Family violence advisor Sergeant Margaret Singe said statistics showed 20 per cent of victims were male.

“Often these victims feel unrecognised, let down and alone in their struggles,” she said.

“Until recently this was, in more cases than not, actually the situation, as funding for services relied on statistical information and greatest need. 

“With 80 per cent of victims being women, the funding was given to services providing support to them.

“Through the increasing work done in the family violence field the need for assistance for male victims was identified and steps have been put in place to ensure male victims receive the support and help they require. 

“This work is done through Victims of Crime (1800 000 055), who can provide counselling, support and referral services.”

Sergeant Singe said all members of the community, male or female, should report all incidents of family violence to police. 

“This is a serious issue within our community and if we are not made aware of the specific incidents then we cannot address them. Reports can be made through 000 or to the local police station.”

Sergeant Singe said the White Ribbon Campaign for 2012 in Bendigo finished with the completion of an art display last week.

Emily Ross and Hayley Robertson were awarded prizes for the best entries and the people’s choice award went to Madeline Callipari.

“The campaign in Bendigo started with the decoration of the trams, spreading the prevention of violence message as they travelled along the tracks through the centre of Bendigo,” Sergeant Singe said.

“The Bendigo Business Council Breakfast, with two wonderful guest speakers, certainly highlighted and introduced the issues to businesses across the Bendigo area and our community event in the Hargreaves Mall opened the discussion with members of our community. 

“The art display, situated in the Bendigo Bank foyer, was well attended and the artwork was certainly powerful and by all accounts successful in raising the awareness of family violence in our community and of the services available to our victims.”

Source: Central Victorian man calls for more support for male victims of domestic violence (http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/story/1223889/central-victorian-man-calls-for-more-support-for-male-victims-of-domestic-violence/)
Source: Bendigo police say all domestic violence incidents should be reported (http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/story/1223907/bendigo-police-say-all-domestic-violence-incidents-should-be-reported/)

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