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24 September 2014
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Domestic violence - but I'm a man!
silhouette picture of  Bryan
Bryan wants to protect his identity

Bryan was a happy go-lucky comedian with a job and a blossoming artistic career until he met the woman who was to change his life.

Read his story told in his own words

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BBC - male victims of domestic violence

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Support group for male victims of domestic violence

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FACTS

It's estimated that police receive a call from a victim of domestic violence every minute (Council of Europe, 2002; BMA 1998; Home Office Research Study, 1999).

Domestic violence incidents make up nearly a quarter of all violent crime (Crime in England and Wales, Home Office, July 2002).

2001/02 British Crime Survey found 19% of domestic violence incidents were reported to be male victims.

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I met my partner in a pub when I was performing a comedy gig. When I'm performing, I like to engage with the audience, so I'd noticed her quite early on. She was obviously enjoying the act and there was a connection there, I started to direct my act towards her, making eye contact. She looked away. All shy.

She was awestruck

There was something vulnerable about her. I felt sorry for her but also drawn to her. I knew instantly that I could cheer her up and make her feel better about herself.

After I'd finished my set, I went up to talk to her. She was obviously awestruck but also pleased. She was impressed that the act had noticed her and that made me feel good. I realised that she wasn't somebody who'd open up very easily but I felt I had the ability to bring her out of herself.

Twice a week

We began to see each other on a twice a week basis. She was always very shy, very submissive. I felt all the time, that she was proud to be with me and a bit as if she depended on me. I felt good about this. It was like one of those films where the guy asks the shy librarian to take her glasses off and she turns out to be Audrey Hepburn.

Within a couple of weeks she asked me if she could come at stay at my place. She was having trouble at home and needed to get out. I wasn't sure, it seemed too soon but she was desperate and I was sorry for her.

She hit me hard

a couple
Completely dominated

The first time she hit me was over a row about the TV remote. I was watching football and she changed the channel just as our side were going for a goal. I don't remember what I said. Nothing extreme but there was probably a hint of anger in there. She hit me hard. When I challenged her, she said she was joking and she really seemed to think it was me who had the problem. But she hit me hard. Too hard.

My thought at that time was that it was something in her up bringing. I thought she maybe didn't understand that this level of violence was wrong.

I tried to explain to her that she could make her point by talking and that I would listen to her and try to come to an understanding. But I see now that I was wrong. What she saw at that moment was a victim and everything I said only confirmed her view.

Completely dominated

Before long, I found that I was completely dominated by her. I found that everything I did, from the moment I got up in the morning, was aimed at trying to avoid her violence.

The smallest thing could start it, not shutting a door, or shutting a door at the wrong time. Not washing up, or washing up when she wanted me to do something else. She was extremely jealous and didn't like me to be out of her sight. I was working when we got together but she put a stop to that.

A shadow of my former self

It wasn't all violence. She would cry and beg and plead as well. She would phone me constantly to ask where I was and when I was coming home. In the end, she didn't even have to hit me any more. Just a look was enough to cause me pain.

I am now a shadow of my former self. I don't know how to get back to being who I was.

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