Male victims of domestic abuse have told MSPs about their experience of abuse, neglect and torture as campaigners brought their concerns to the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee last week.
The two men, identified as Mr A and Mr B to protect their privacy, tolds MSPs that male victims of domestic violence had little support and felt they had no one to talk to.
Mr A told MSPs that his ex-wife threatened him with a knife: “On one occasion she told me if I went to sleep I would be stabbed.
“She threw a hot deep-fat fryer at me, as well as various cups, ornaments, etc. all of which left holes in the walls. I hate to think what would have happened if she had managed to catch me with one of them.
"She was manipulating. I couldn't see my friends. She isolated me from my family. She attacked me: kicking me in the groin, spitting on me, scratching my face and arms until they bled. I had to take time off work because of the injuries.
"When I did contact the police in the early years of our relationship, and social services, she had a letter sent out to her asking if she was OK. She was treated as the victim."
Mr B told the committee: “For 17 years I endured physical violence, physical neglect, psychological and emotional torture, manipulative behaviour, gross financial irresponsibility, pathological and wholly unfounded sexual jealousy, virtually unrelenting verbal aggression and disdain until I broke.
He continued: “A problem ignored is not a problem solved.”
Alison Waugh, who submitted the petition alongside Jackie Walls, told The Journal: “We'd been picking away at this for a while trying to raise awareness, yet little was changing and we kept hearing through friends and acquaintances about more men in this predicament.”
Ms Waugh highlighted the fact that government initiatives on educating children on domestic abuse rely heavily on the gendered analysis approach, and ignores the fact men are victims too.
“We are concerned about this approach in educating children and realised something needed to change soon,” she said.
Explaining her reasoning for bringing the campaign to the parliament, Ms Waugh commented: “We could have tried to set up services—and we still may—but we would be a tiny organisation swimming against a tide of indifference, struggling to get funding. But they can only reach the tip of the iceberg. The culture change needs to come from the top."
The Scottish Parliament’s public petitions process allows individuals, community groups and organisations to participate in the policy scrutiny process by raising issues of concern with a dedicated parliamentary committee.
Commenting on her experience of the process, petitioner Alison Waugh told The Journal: “We have received a generous amount of guidance and support from the Petitions Clerk, Fergus Cochrane.
"He and members of the committee have been very welcoming and approachable. It is a feature of our parliamentary system we should be proud of.”