“I drew a line in the sand and thought to myself don’t cross it and when she did I forgave her and then I drew another line and so on until I had what looked like train tracks off into the horizon until I couldn't remember where I started.”
She would start a fight over anything. I was physically assaulted numerous times being kicked and punched but mainly there was significant psychological abuse.
For the last six to eight weeks of our relationship she intentionally tried to upset me to get some sort of a response that could be conceived as abuse and when she didn’t get it she left with the children regardless.“ Ryan contacted the police to report his family missing and shortly afterwards was arrested for assault. His wife claimed to have left because of assault despite no physical proof. “I had done nothing wrong but she was able to obtain an AVO (Apprehended Violence Order) which gave her the power to keep the kids.
Children have a basic right to connect with both parents yet I’m going to face a lengthy trial to fight for such rights. It’s been three years since I’ve seen my kids - my youngest daughter doesn’t even know me.“
Ryan believes that domestic violence policies have become so extreme they are devoid of any common sense. He contacted the Domestic Violence Helpline who told him they could not help because he was male. He was referred from one group to another with virtually no assistance.
“'It is what it is' was a term coined to me many times by both support services and the law system. Men are treated like Apartheid just because the colour of your skin was different; your race determined whether you were a good human being. If you’re born male, we legislate to say you’re instantly violent.
We also have a system where if a man goes to the police for help in family violence, they are not taken seriously and this is reinforced with the absence of services for men. The law is gender bias and that’s not equality.
Hundreds of millions are spent on women’s services, shelters and next to nothing on men. Next time you vote for a politician, ask about their policy of family violence and if it’s not gender neutral you shouldn’t be voting for them.”
"The system worked to empower my ex-wife to be more abusive as there was no support for me as a male experiencing family violence."
Craig was diagnosed with viral encephalitis causing his right side to become paralysed. As he could no longer work, he became dependant on his wife for financial and personal support. She quickly dismissed his illness and saw it as laziness denying him the aides he required for day-to-day personal care such as a shower chair.
Her anger quickly escalated and despite him being spat on, physically, verbally and financially abused, severely bitten and threatened to be stabbed neither the Department of Community Services New South Wales Domestic Hotline or the Australian Human Rights Commission could help Craig as these organisations only help women. The only aid the local Community Services Centre was to offer him was an anger management course despite Craig being the victim.
Having no support and little options, he moved out of the family home leaving his children with what he termed the perpetrator. He spent three months living in the back of his van before moving in with his brother.
According to Craig, "there are hidden victims in society that of men and children being abused by women." He believes it is imperative that society acknowledges this if family violence is to be taken seriously.
Copyright Michael Rayment