New legislation, dubbed ‘Clare’s Law’ has been introduced to tackle domestic violence. Reporter Rosie Swarbrick spoke with a male victim of domestic abuse about why the law will save lives.
“I JUST hope his next partner checks his criminal record before they get in too deep.
“I’m scarred for life but his next partner might not be as lucky.”
This 23-year old man, who lives near Preston, only escaped a tumultuous relationship after his on-off partner of two years attacked and nearly killed him in Manchester.
He has spoken out about his experiences after a new Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme – known as Clare’s Law – allows people to find out from the police if their partner has a history of domestic violence.
Named after Clare Wood, who was murdered by her ex-partner, it has recently been rolled out in Lancashire.
The victim from Leyland, who does not want to be named, said: “I knew something was going to happen that night.
“He was riled as soon as we got the train.
“We went out and throughout the night he was texting me abuse, I walked away and tried to enjoy my night.
“But when we got back to the apartment he was livid and he flipped out
“I lost two and a half litres of blood after he attacked me with a glass.
“The glass went through my elbow first and into my leg parallel to my femoral artery.
“If I’d lost another half a litre I would have died.”
His partner was handed a restraining order, an 18-month suspended sentence and ordered to pay the £400 cleaning bill for the blood soaked apartment in December 2013.
“To look at us you would never think anything was going on, he was very clever and manipulative
“At first it was mental abuse and all about control. He stopped me seeing my friends, he made me feel guilty about going to work or even leaving the house and would constantly check my phone.
“Then he started flipping out. It could have been the slightest thing before we went to sleep or I could be woken up at 3am being attacked.
“He apologised after the first few occasions but then it became my fault and I started to believe I deserved it.”
The victim believes many male victims of domestic violence are too embarrassed to speak up to the police and that society does put it in the same category as domestic violence against women.
He said: “People don’t take it seriously, they say ‘You’re a man, why didn’t you punch him back?’ but it isn’t that easy.
“It is like being attacked by an angry toddler, you can’t stop it. Once they flip they just lose control and there is nothing you can do to stop it.
“It’s different for a man, we don’t like going to the doctor never mind admitting we are being beaten up at home.
“There are only five male refuges around the UK but there are hundreds of women’s.
“It’s a taboo, it just isn’t recognised in the same light.”
The victim hid his injuries from his friends, family and work colleagues but his abusive boyfriend nearly sabotaged his career and tried to tie him off from the world.
He said: “The worst part was the biting, I had to take so many days off work to hide the bruises and the marks so that know one would find out.
“I was embarrassed, I was ashamed, I thought it was my fault.
“One day I visited my mum with a black eye and I told her I’d been in a fight outside a takeaway – anyone who knows me knows that would never happen!
“I lied to her because I couldn’t tell her the truth, that he had hit me, the man I was living with.
He left his partner several times but ended up returning to the relationship time and time again despite the best efforts from friends and family.
He said: “One of our friends joked that the only way it would end is if one of us died – and that nearly happened.
“You have to make that decision yourself, no one can tell you to stay away. It has to come from within and after the attack – in Manchester – it flicked a switch.”
It has been seven months since that fateful night in August and the man urges anybody in a violent relationship to get out now.
He said: “I was so lucky and now I’ve got a second chance at life. I’m free and I can be my own man, next time I get in a relationship I’ll check their background through Clare’s Law - I’m not bothered if they stole a chocolate bar when they were 15, that isn’t what this law is about, I just want to make sure that the next time I settle down it isn’t with someone who has a history of violence.
“If you are suffering like I was, if you’re gay, straight, a woman or a man, don’t wait for tomorrow, go now, or it might be too late.”
l If you are a victim of domestic violence contact the police on 101.