Greetings H2H readers,
I wanted to share this interview with you all to bring some needed awareness to a subject that many don’t discuss. I, personally, know of at least 3 males who have experienced domestic violence from their spouse. Many don’t talk about their assaults due to the uneven perception of others or how it made them feel as a man. Yet, I believe this angle is long overdue for discussion.
According to BatteredMen.com, 5.3 million men are abused per year with 40% severe physical violence, but more often psychological.
I pray this brother’s testimony finds a firm resting place in your minds & hearts.
Thank you & Peace,
Ebony S. Muhammad, Publisher of Hurt2Healing Magazine
Ebony S. Muhammad (EM): Please share the background and circumstances which led to the domestic violence you encountered in your marriage?
Rodney S. (RS): I am 28 years old, and I got married to my wife in September 2011. My Wife is 25 years old. We have been together for 4 years prior to getting married.
We separated in January 2013 due to me being assaulted by my wife. I don’t even like to call it that but it is what it is. The build up to this assault in my version goes like this.
It was a Saturday in January, and we were to going to my Sister-in-Law’s in London because it was her Birthday. We were going to be traveling with my In-Laws. At this time I was fasting, and I was doing a Daniel Fast so I could not eat meat and certain foods. I had asked my wife if she could find out what food might be at her sister’s so I would know if I could eat with them or not. She was not willing to ask and told me to bring my own food. So that morning I went out to get some food that I could prepare to bring with me. Before I left she asked me to buy a plate and bowl that to replace the ones that had accidentally broken months ago.
When I walked through the door I saw a text from her asking if I could get some eggs and other stuff. I apologized to her and said that I did not get the other stuff as I have only just seen the text message. She was annoyed and said, “Do you not look around the kitchen to see if there is any other stuff to get”? I said, “I’m sorry I did not look”.
I handed her the plate and bowl and she said that it did not match the current set we had and to take it back and aggressively asked when I would take it back. It silenced me and I said I would take it back on Monday.
To fast forward a little, we spent the day in London and she avoided me the whole time. The next day was Sunday, and she was working and I attended church. I got home from church quite late in the evening. I had been messaging her during the day to see that she was ok. When I got home she said to me she was going to bed. I said I’ll be up later. It was midnight and she woke up to go to the bathroom I was shutting down my laptop and just waiting for some updates to complete. She asked if I was coming to bed and I said yes and that I was shutting down the laptop. Then she moaned that I would wake her up when I come into the room. I said that you’re already awake, and then she said that when I wake up in the morning I would wake her and I said I’m sorry, but this happens every day.
We went to bed, and during while I was asleep I began to snore. She woke me up and asked me to turn over, because she could not sleep. So I sat up and said I can’t sleep on one side the whole night I toss and turn. She then pulled off the covers and stared at me. So I went to take the covers back so I could turn over, and I asked her to let go of the covers. She said nothing and stared at me I asked her 4 times to let go of the covers on the 5th time I shouted let go and my wife headbutted me in my face.
I sat in shock and in silence. I picked up my phone and called my In-Laws who live a 2minute drive from our flat. I told them what happened and asked them to come and take my wife. To cut a long story short they did not come. I sent a message to my church family via WhatsApp in brief saying, “Please pray, my wife has headbutted me”.
I threw the phone on the floor and attempted to go back to sleep. I was scared and in a lot of pain. At around 4am I woke up, picked up my phone and went into the living room. I called the emergency services and told them about my pain, and they said to come to A&E. I went back to the bedroom to tell my wife that I was in pain and that I was going to the A&E and she sniggered as to say, “Why are you going to the hospital”? I went and got checked out and informed my family. They did not allow me to go back to my flat as they said they are not burying their brother. We separated after this and I moved out of the flat to my sister, and I am still here till today.
EM: Did it begin with verbal abuse, and if so please share some of that and how it made you feel, think and respond.
RS: The verbal abuse between me and my wife came out of anger, frustration and most so because issues between us were never resolved. I felt I always apologized for things that were not my fault just to keep the peace. It would make me feel low and less of a man. It was all about power and control with my wife. She wanted me to lead, but she would not let me because she always liked to be in control.
EM: As a result, did you isolate yourself from family or friends you were close to?
RS: We tried to resolve out issues as much as we could on our own. We had some counsel from church but were advised to get professional help. Our families did not get involved until the last minute. My wife did not like everyone knowing our business, and I felt the same way which is why we tried to resolve our arguments on our own.
EM: When and how did the abuse turn physical? Where were you when it took place?
RS: The first time it got physical was on my wife’s birthday when we went out with friends to a club. My wife had a few drinks prior going to the club. I did not want to get involved in the drinking, because the people we were with were not doing it responsibly. This upset my wife and caused her to distance herself from me the whole night. I approached her in the club and asked why she was avoiding me. It turned into an argument, and she ended up pushing her hand in my face which knocked my glasses off. I picked up my glasses and went towards my wife as I was angry at this point and her friends thought I was going to hit her and they stepped up to me. I am so glad they did this as I don’t know exactly what I was going to do if I got up to my wife. I got kicked out of the club. But this was when it started getting physical.
EM: What were triggers for her to act out toward you?
RS: The triggers would be raising my voice or not resolving things straight away if she was upset, because this would make her fester. I was not physically afraid of my wife, but her words could be quite damaging. It did not help that I was passive and just accepted it.
EM: At any point did you take on the belief that it was your fault and that you deserved what was happening to you as is the case with female victims?
RS: No. I knew I did not deserve to be treated like this. But I did not see the underlying issue and just moved on thinking that it would sort itself out. I realized that whatever started to make my wife become violent had to with something from before I came on the scene. I have never done anything to her that should make her react in that way. The only thing I do feel guilty about is not trying to get her help while we have been separated, but she does not talk to me and does not think there is anything wrong. She has to do this journey on her own.
EM: What thoughts about being a male in an abusive relationship came up for you? What was the most difficult part about this for you?
RS: When I was headbutted I did not retaliate with violence. I never touched her at all. I immediately called my In-Laws to come and help and take her, but they failed and they did not come. My male friends salute me and say well done for not hitting her.
I was very hurt, because it made me think how many more men are there out there that are being abused and not talking about it. I initially was going to keep the incident to myself.
The difficult part for me was thinking to myself, “Why is this happening?” and “It’s not supposed to be this way”. I chose this woman to be my wife; I did not want anyone else. My confidence was knocked, and my manhood was violated which made me angry inside.
EM: What factors kept you from walking away when it first began?
RS: The fact I did not want to divorce. I knew marriage was hard work and my rationale was to keep working at it.
EM: Let’s go to the moment you knew it was time to leave. Did you confront her, inform her or leave without her knowing?
RS: A phone call was made between us on that day in the morning when I came back from hospital, and we both said it was over. My sister came with me to get some things from the flat so I could be safe and stay with her. This is how I left.
EM: What thoughts were going through your mind as you made moves to leave?
RS: I had butterflies. I did not want to divorce, but I was still in shock about what happened. Initially my safety came first so it was important that I left the flat for that reason. I was scared about the next steps so I was not 100% committed to getting out because I love my wife. I just knew she needed help.
EM: How did she react once she realized you were leaving her?
RS: I would not know as I was not around. We did meet up a few months after the incident to see where we were and what we would do to move forward. She was not interested in getting back together she was still angry about being brought in by the police for questioning about the assault. I said to her if this is the last time I ever see you I just want you to know that I am sorry for whatever it was that I did. I said I want to take responsibility for anything I did wrong.
EM: What was your healing process like? What promises did you make to yourself as it relates to relationships?
RS: My family and friends were my support unit. They contacted me from time to time to check I was ok. I was going counseling prior to this incident and so I have continued with that. It had not been easy. I still get angry inside about the incident. It was very traumatic as the incident played over in my head for at least 2 months, and it was after that I could sleep properly. I didn’t make any promises about relationships, but if we do not reconcile then it will be a learning experience about how info about my future relationships.
I am stronger. I can walk the streets with my head held high, because I did nothing wrong. I would never retaliate with violence, and if I found myself in this situation again I would walk away. No one deserves it, but it’s hard because it’s always the one that loves you the most receives the most pain.
EM: What is your life like today?
RS: Well I’m still establishing my walk with Jesus. I am a Musician and I’m focusing on that. I am also focusing on my health and trying to lose weight by doing 5k runs, swimming, boxing and personal training sessions. I have a busy life but still make time for me. I treat myself now and then as I never used to before. I look after my family and try to enjoy my life and continue that journey if strength and happiness.
EM: For other men who are in abusive relationships, what words would you like to share with them? How would you appeal to the ‘male ego’ after suffering abuse?
RS: I would say don’t hold it in. Speak to someone. There is no need to be afraid. You are more of a man if you did not touch her, but if you did God can forgive you. There is not much support for men on this topic so find other men that can help you and speak out. Do not be Afraid.
EM: Does the degree of abuse make a difference, meaning does it mean less if its only verbal vs. physical? What level of concern should there be at the first act of physical abuse?
RS: I don’t think any abuse is acceptable. I advise to try and deal with it in the first instance via counsel or communication.
Once abuse becomes physical, firstly, get to a safe place and get help immediately.
EM: What are some Red Flags you suggest men to look for?
RS: In my case it was the anger and shouting. Also power, control and emotional bullying. That’s the red flags in my case.
EM: Is there anything else you would like to add?
RS: My wife was brought into the station for questioning as I reported the incident to the police. I did this to give her a wakeup call. I dropped the charges a few days later.
My wife has identity issues and is not in a good place. I believe she is fronting and just putting on show but deep inside she is hurting.
EM: Thank you very much for sharing your story beloved. May God continue to bless you and heal you.
RS: You’re welcome, and thank YOU.