Milton Keynes man regularly beaten by his wife urges authorities to be more aware of male domestic abuse

The 50-year-old husband was punched, scratched, kicked and slapped every few weeks

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 10:35 am
Updated Thursday, 24th June 2021, 10:36 am

A Milton Keynes man who tried and failed to get his wife prosecuted for domestic abuse is begging police and other authorities to be more aware of the problem.

We are not disclosing the man's identity for his own protection, and will simply refer to him as John.

Aged 50, he had children from a previous relationship but had never been married before he met his wife a few years ago.

Men are three times less likely than a female to reveal they are suffering from domestic abuse. Photo: Getty Images

"I thought it was love at first sight...I sold my house in London and came to live in Milton Keynes, where she lived in a rented place with her grown-up children. We bought a house on a city estate and I thought it would be happy ever after," said John.

In fact, within weeks, the abuse started.

"It was all about control. She would get jealous if I was late from work or if I wanted to see my children for the day. She wanted to control everything I did. Then she started attacking me. She'd hit me, punch me, scratch me and kick me, screaming at me all the time while she did it," said John, who ended up not seeing his children for more than two years.

At over 6ft tall and weighing 17 stone he could easily have defended himself - but he was too scared to risk hurting his wife.

John's upper body after an attack

"You don't hurt women - that's wrong. So I used to just sit there and take it, trying to protect my head, until she'd finished.

"A couple of times she went to the kitchen and got a knife. She'd wave it at me and say she wanted to kill me. She was like a woman possessed."

The woman's own children, who were in their 20s, were in the house during some of the attacks. But, instead of stopping their mother, they would sometimes join in too.

"I'd have all three of them slapping and kicking me. It was awful," he said.

This deep scratch was caused by his wife's fingernails

John hid his bruises and scratch marks from his colleagues at work and told nobody about the abuse. "I suppose I was ashamed. She would tell me all the time I was useless and deserved to be hurt and, after a while, you come to believe it. I didn't think anybody would listen to me."

Secretly he started switching his phone to record when he thought a beating was about to start. He also took photos of his injuries. And after more than a year of abuse, he plucked up courage to go to the police and give them what he believed to be enough evidence.

"My wife was arrested but sadly nothing ever came of it. The Crown Prosecution Service said there was not enough evidence to press charges... The situation at home became even worse after that," he said.

Finally, earlier this year, the couple split and there was an acrimonious battle about finances in the divorce courts.

"I tried telling the judge I'd been a victim of male domestic abuse but he didn't seem interested. He just ordered me to sell the house and pay my wife a large percentage. I lost hope then that anybody would ever take me seriously," said John, who is now forced to return home to live with his parents.

"If I was the abuser, as a male I'd be locked up in prison by now. People need to realise that it's not only women who are victims of this. It can be just as bad for men," he said.

He is currently trying to persuade Milton Keynes police to prosecute his wife retrospectively.

"I've phoned 101 four times, but they just don't seem bothered. They said someone would be in touch with me but nobody has. I've given up now. I'm 50 years old, battered, broke and about to return to live with my parents. Life can't get much worse..."

The Citizen contacted Thames Valley Police for a response to John's claims.

A spokesman said: "As many as one in three victims of domestic abuse are male. According to the Office for National Statistics , 757,000 men were victims in the UK in 2019/20. But research shows male victims are three times less likely to confess they are suffering from domestic abuse than a female victim."

ManKind is a national charity that helps men escape domestic abuse. It is open weekdays from 10am to 4pm and its confidential helpline number is 01823 334244. You can read more about them here.

A ManKind spokesman said: "Domestic violence and domestic abuse is not just about physical abuse – it also includes emotional and psychological, coercive control and isolating people.

"Most men do not believe or feel they are a victim until sometime after they no longer have control of their life and have become isolated. One survivor said they felt they were being ‘groomed’. Remember though you are not to blame, you are not weak and your are not alone. There is help available and you (and your children) can escape."

"The legal definition of domestic abuse is 'any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.

"Any victim of domestic abuse should call 999 if in immediate danger."