Our Derby service provides support to men and women affected by domestic abuse. Our team of Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs) create safety plans and provide ongoing practical and wellbeing support, right from the point of crisis.
Earlier this year the team met 49-year-old Craig*, who came to Glow after a seven-year abusive relationship. When he had tried to leave, his ex-wife had accused him of being the perpetrator.
Craig shares his story here.
“Before to my experience, my own understanding of domestic abuse was very limited. It was always the male committing domestic abuse against the female.
“My ex-wife is someone that becomes very dominant in a relationship. She knew my weaknesses and would seek control through physical, financial, and psychological abuse. Over time I lost myself and she became increasingly dominant.
“Being abused brought me to a new low and I did not know who to turn to. I was a large chap, and she was a petite lady. I thought that nobody would believe me.
“At work, colleagues saw the marks on my body and often asked me if I was OK. I said it was just me being clumsy, but I was dying inside due to the sheer embarrassment of what had really happened.
“One day I finally asked for a divorce after secretly seeking advice from a solicitor. When I plucked up the courage to tell her, she reacted with sheer rage and anger. She said that she was going to destroy my life and have me locked away. She said she was going to tell the children to say that I had hurt them both physically and sexually.
“The following day I returned home to police officers who arrested me for domestic abuse and assault on children. This was the first time I had ever been arrested. I was put in a custody cell, something I’ve never experienced or would like to experience ever again. I repeatedly told the officers about the domestic abuse and the divorce, I tried to explain that she said she’d do this if I went ahead with the divorce. At first this seemed to fall on deaf ears as the accusations from her were very powerful.
“I was released on bail with severe conditions as my case was passed onto a Detective Constable. It was around Christmas, so there were delays in investigating the case. This took its toll on my mental health. I was also living in fear of my ex-wife, who made sure that I was cut off from everyone, even my own family. At one point I was homeless and slept in my car over the winter.
“After three months, the Detective Constable called me to give me the great news that the case had been dropped. There was no evidence of any of the circumstances above. The Detective Constable recommended that I get support from Glow. I had no idea what Glow could offer me, but I was reassured that they would give me support.
“An IDVA from Glow got in touch and introduced herself to me in a very calm and professional manner. I can honestly say that this was the first time in seven years that I felt supported. They organised my support and made sure that I had a safety plan in place too.
“For the first time in a long time I started to feel better within myself.”
We supported Craig with safety planning, daily wellbeing check ins, one-to-one support and guidance for dealing with the police, GPs and mental health services.
We also supported him both practically and emotionally in court with our Court IDVA. This included helping Craig apply for special measures, such as using screens, video links and back entrances when appropriate.
Craig added: “There were over 80 false allegations made against me. Suicide was a daily thought due to the mental pressure that I was under.
“There’s a lot more to be done regarding male domestic abuse. It’s on a continued learning curve.
“Without the support from Glow, I know that I wouldn’t be here today.
“There is positive support out there and you are not alone.”
*name changed to protect identity.