MANY MALE VICTIMS of domestic abuse who are separated from their partners and wives face a lonely holiday season without their children, a charity has said.
AMEN, a charity supporting men who have been victims of abuse in the home, said women often use their custodial status to punish fathers by refusing access to children over the Christmas period.
One father of four shared his story with TheJournal.ie, describing three years of violence against him by his wife.
“We were married for a good number of years and she gradually just changed and started to get violent,” he said. “I thought she was just going through a phase but it only got worse and eventually I had to leave the family home with the children”.
The man said most of the abuse happened when he was standing up for his children.
‘I had a knife lunged at me’
“I got knocked out once when I was hit on the back of the head and I also had a knife lunged at me – I have scars on my hands from that,” he said.
He eventually reached out to Amen for help but before that he said he “felt ashamed about it”.
“It was making that phonecall, to get the initial help – that’s the big thing.”
A lot of people don’t understand when a woman is hitting a man, not many think that would happen. I didn’t think they would believe me.
His youngest daughter lives with his wife in the house on his family’s farm, which he still runs.
He rarely gets to see her as he is not allowed inside the house and though he has his three other children for Christmas, he said he doubts he will even get to give the youngest her present in person.
“It can be a very lonely time for men and to think that you’re not at fault and you still can’t see your children – it’s crazy,” he said.
Amen said this is just an example of the many fathers who will be spending Christmas away from their children.
From January to October this year, the charity helped 1,997 individuals contacting the service using a range of methods including the helpline, one to one meetings, court accompaniments, emails and text messages.
Manager Niamh Farrell commented:
Many fathers are now dreading spending Christmas without their children. They feel lonely, frightened, isolated and helpless. Mothers who use their custodial status to punish their former partners in this way should stop and think about the damage they are also doing to their children.
Farrell said demand on services is ever increasing and this can be attributed to a number of factors.
“Many men are now retiring and their wives or partners feel no longer able to live with them everyday, financial situations are becoming more difficult with unemployment and a rise in everyday living costs,” she explained. “Many of the men who contact the helpline can no longer deal with the abuse by themselves. The abuse that these men have and are suffering could be ongoing for years.”
Farrell said women should be “judged by the same standards as men, and women who are violent should be held legally responsible”.
“Domestic violence is an issue that hurts every member of a family,” she added.
If you are affected by the topic of this article, you can contact Amen on 0469023718 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.