My Dad Was/Is A Victim Of Domestic Abuse | Personal Post

You may remember a little while ago that an actress named Amber Heard came out publicly accusing the actor Johnny Depp of domestic violence. There was quite an uproar about it at the time with many people turning against Johnny and it did some damage to his reputation.

Well, it turns out that the truth has been discovered and Johnny has submitted countless video evidence, photographs and tapes which show the other side of the story, the story which reveals that he was in fact the true victim. Amongst the allegations and the evidence against Heard, there are pictures of Johnny's bruises. His finger was sliced off and she also defecated in his bed. There's also been allegations of adultery and blackmail on her part.

If you're a regular reader of my blog or follow me on social media you'll know that I'm a person who requires receipts. I'm very careful when it comes to allegations but with this case it seems that Johnny has a lot of evidence on the table to prove what he went through.

I watched a programme recently about a young man who had been starved, beaten and had boiling water poured over him by his girlfriend (you can view the interview that he did about his horrific experience here) and whilst it horrified me it also made me think about how male domestic abuse is viewed, there's not much awareness about it and a lot of men who go through this feel that they can't come forward.

As with women who go through this ordeal,  the abuse can be both physical and psychological. Growing up I watched my Dad go from one domestic abuse situation to another. My mum would make fun of my Dad's weight and looks, she would cheat on him numerous times with other men, she would threaten him and blackmail him. When my Dad was away travelling for work she said that if he did not return she would kill herself and my brother and sister. 

My Dad's situation with my mum went on for years until he finally left but even then she had such a hold over him (she would use me as a blackmailing tool in order to get money out of him, she'd say that I needed shoes for school or food but the money would go on alcohol and cigarettes). As soon as I was 18 I came to England to live with my Dad (he was actually my step dad but brought me up as his own and my mum would often throw this in his face as well when she was trying to bring him down during an argument). 

My Dad lost contact with my mum as soon as I moved to England and she moved onto another relationship and her drinking got worse (just to be clear, during the times that she was abusive to my dad she was 100% sober, when she got drunk she got just worse). 

During the incidences where my mum was being horrendous towards my dad, he never lifted a finger to her no matter how much she pushed him, he would just stand there whilst she said these horrible things. As a child I felt helpless and confused and so sorry for my dad. I would tell him later that the things she was saying to him were not true, he would tell me that he knew that and that it didn't bother him but I could see that it did. 

My dad was single for quite a number of years and his confidence and self esteem was quite low, I think it took him a long time to recover from what had happened to him. One day at a bus stop on his way to work he met a woman named Val and she told him that she was a music teacher, they would chat now and then when they would bump into each other at the bus stop and the next thing we knew my dad was going on dates with Val. I was over the moon for him, he seemed to be on cloud nine and couldn't stop talking about her. I thought that this was just what my dad needed, a decent relationship with someone who would treat him right because he was a good, hard working person who wouldn't hurt a fly.

Fast forward to a couple of months and my dad is now in a relationship with Val (myself and the rest of the family had not met her yet) and it all seems to be going well, there was a a bit of a strange surprise when she finally (after a while of not letting him go to her house) took my dad back to her place. She had 13 cats and my dad said that Val was so scared to take my dad back to her house in case it put him off and although he thought it was strange and the smell was pretty bad he actually felt sorry for her and put it down to her feeling lonely. She'd told him that it had been a long time since she'd had a relationship and she felt that she couldn't trust anyone. Because they had been getting on so well and my dad understood what it was like to feel lonely and scared to trust people, he wanted to help her sort out her house and keep the relationship going.

He told us all about the cats and her house, we thought it odd but once he explained things to us we felt that we could understand after all my dad seemed to be the happiest we had ever seen him and this relationship seemed to be doing him the world of good. Nobody is perfect and we were still excited to meet her.

She was nervous about meeting us so my dad suggested we all meet up at a bowling alley (I don't know why this location was chosen and not a restaurant but a bowling alley it was). My dad used to be in the navy so he always arrived to everything, doctors, appointments etc always 15 minutes early (I tend to do this now and sometimes it drives people mad lol), he was never late for anything. We all agreed to meet at the bowling alley at 7:00pm. So, I was there with other members of my family and my dad and Val didn't show up for an hour and a half, I didn't think anything of it but my dad said that they were late because Val was doing her hair. Her hair (not to sound bitchy) looked like it could do with a comb through it but I didn't see it as a big deal.

So we all met her and I thought she was fabulous! I was also impressed that she told us she was a music teacher but then later in the evening she changed that to social worker. I brushed that off as well and just thought that I might have got mixed up plus my dad was really wanting us all to get on and to see him happy was important. 

So everything seemed to be going well and I'd say about 6 months in, one night my dad came into the house in total panic and looked really upset. I asked him what was wrong. He told me that Val had accused him of stealing her makeup bag and she had locked him out of her house, refused to take his calls.

I thought this was odd and that there must be some silly misunderstanding, maybe Val was just having a bit of a funny moment (time of the month, something like that). He was in a panic for hours thinking that she was about to end the relationship, he would call her and she'd answer then hang up the phone. it was quite ridiculous, my dad was not a thief. Later on she texted him saying she'd found her makeup bag in the bathroom and that he could come back. She never gave him an apology. My dad was so relieved but I had a really bad feeling about things.

This became a regular occurrence, my dad would be accused of things (having affairs whilst he was at work, stealing things, looking at other women, not talking to her in a nice tone etc), locked out of her house, his calls ignored. Sometimes she would call him in the middle of the night and hang up. 

Everyone was concerned and tried to talk to him. He told us that she suffered from headaches and thought she might have a chemical imbalance in the brain and that she didn't know what she was doing. He took her to the doctor where they gave her some anti-depressants but she refused to take them.

There would be days when she would be fine and then there would be days when she would explode at him for no reason. It was all getting a bit too much like my mum's previous behaviour. 

One day he told us he was moving in with her because she felt that he wasn't taking the relationship seriously (even though he bent over backwards for her). This started the cycle of her locking him out the house, putting his clothes in bin bags and he would turn up on my doorstep at 3am. We ended up having arguments because I told him to leave her and he would tell me that he couldn't because she had nobody else (her grown up children lived hours away and only ever seen her at Christmas for some reason) and she had psychological problems. 

This went on for months, this constant back and forth. One day my dad had accidentally left a bin bag full of his clothes, I thought it was dirty washing so I started putting it in the washing machine. I pulled out one of his shirts and it was covered in lipstick with the words ''Fat'', ''Ugly Bastard'', ''Pig'', ''I'm a joke''. ''I look like a canary'' and the drawing of a clowns face. I was a mixture of confused, horrified and angry. I took the shirt and spoke to other members of the family about it and everyone agreed that we needed to have a right good talk to my dad and see what could be done. I wanted to go and play hell with Val but they begged me not to because they said that would achieve nothing.

After they tried to talk to my dad and it seemed to fall on deaf ears they thought that if I talked to him it would probably get though to him (me and my dad were terribly close, I thought the world of him and we hardly ever argued about anything, I felt I could talk to him about anything) and I sat him down one night to tell him our concerns. I was shocked because he started crying and I'd never seen my dad cry before. he started saying that he was ''ugly'' and ''just a security guard with no money''. He was saying all of these vile things about himself and I'd never heard him speak like this. I knew these were the words that she was saying to him. 

I was getting more and more angry and it was starting to get harder and harder to keep my mouth shut. I tried my best to talk to my dad and tell him he had a way out of this and he shouldn't be putting up with it. He'd agree one minute and then he'd go back to her the next and then he'd turn up on my doorstep with bin bags at 3am again.

My dad ended up in hospital with Cellulitis in his leg, the whole thing swelled up and it looked like something out of a horror movie. The doctor said that it came from a cut in my dad's foot which got infected (I suspected that the germs from the 13 cats in Val's house had something to do with it). When I tried to talk to my dad about the cats and the infection he would panic and tell me to ''Shh'' because he didn't want the doctors to know that Val had 13 cats. 

When Val visited my dad in hospital she wasn't happy that he could no longer take her out, she'd bring him biscuits and ask him for the money back. I thought this was strange and a bit harsh but my dad would always say ''that's just her way''.

Because of the fact that Val had 13 cats and wouldn't let anyone into her house, my dad came to my house from the hospital so the nurses could come to change his dressings etc. The doctor told him that he wasn't allowed to drive. My dad and I got in another argument because after a phone call from Val, I caught him trying to struggle on his crutches (and massive plaster cast) to get to his car. He said that he had to take Val out cause she was bored. I told my elder sister and she came over and took his car. This ended up with Val calling my dad, shouting about how selfish he was and then hanging up the phone.

My brother and sisters were not at my house to witness the phone calls so when this happened and I would tell them, my dad would say ''Oh Jo's got it wrong, Jo's jumped to conclusions''. I started to get annoyed that nobody else but me was doing anything to try and stop this. My brother and sisters said that if they pushed too far they might lose dad completely, they hardly saw him as it was.

It seemed to be left to me to try and help him but I was failing miserably because he wasn't taking notice of what I was saying either, it was like he was in some kind of trance. After numerous phone calls from Val my dad sneaked out of the house with his crutches and into a taxi to take Val out.

I was powerless and my relationship with my dad was under a lot of strain. He began to turn against me. One day she was on the phone to him and was screaming at him. I pulled the phone wire out of the wall because he was refusing to hang up. He was furious at me, told me to never do that again and called her straight back saying how sorry he was and that it was my fault.

I was trying to hang onto my dad and keep our relationship but it was becoming clear that she had a real problem with me. I began to speak up when I heard her shouting at my dad on the phone and she could hear me in the background telling my dad to put down the phone. I didn't mince my words when it came to this woman and I told my dad what I felt about her, he wasn't pleased about it.

His leg healed (thank God, I don't know how it did because he was under so much stress at the time) and he moved back in with her. Things went quiet for a little while and then my dad had told me that he got sacked from his job as a security guard because his boss had discovered that Val was going to work with him. My dad worked night shifts and at first she would call him all night to make sure that he wasn't talking to other women (even though he was in the building himself) and then she wanted to be with him on the night shifts to make sure he wasn't talking to other women on the phone either.

My dad used to be a member of a working men's club and was quite popular, had a lot of friends. My dad's friends didn't like Val (this included their wives) and so my dad was banned by Val from going to the club or talking to his friends. calls and texts became monitored, whenever I called my dad I was put on speakerphone or he wouldn't answer at all.

One day I got a call saying that he was moving to London with Val, he said that he would regularly visit and stay in touch but he didn't. He came up once to visit and spent 45 minutes at my house (after I hadn't seen him for 5 years. She would only allow him a day visit and expected him back in London that night), when he arrived at my house, before he'd even had the chance to have a cup of tea his phone rang. He said he had to answer it because Val would want to know where he was. She kept him on the phone for 20 minutes. 

I tried to have a relationship with my dad over the years but it's been very difficult because his calls are monitored and it was me always calling, texting him with no reply. Months and months would go by without a word from him. I would send a text and get no response. He didn't wish me Merry Christmas or Happy Birthday. When I sent him a text asking why he didn't wish me Happy Birthday he just replied ''Sorry, I forgot'' (even though it's on Bonfire night lol), I don't know if this was him or Val using his phone but the whole thing was causing me a lot of hurt and depression. 

The last I heard from him was last April when my uncle died, he left a message to tell me what happened. I called him and I hoped that this would be a chance to patch things up but again, Val was running the show and he cut me off again. I didn't go the funeral as it was up in Scotland, I was working and it was last minute when I was told. 

I don't have contact with my family through my own choice (I've spoken about it previously on here). I know that they hardly have a relationship with my dad themselves. There's bitterness there because they feel that I could have done more to get him out of that relationship (even though I tried my best to save him) and I'm angry at them for not doing enough, in fact they hardly did anything cause they were too scared to rock the boat. 

They hate Val but they know they have to put an act on in front of my dad because they'll lose him if they don't. It's no secret that I don't care for val and this is my punishment. 

I love my dad very much and always will but I can't have a relationship with him and he's not allowed to have a relationship with me. Val won't allow it. All I wanted was a phone call or text message but that's not possible. 

I've accepted this and it's been better for me to move on from it because if someone does not want you in their life you can't force it and I was tired of all the running and the constant effort that I was making. My dad is gone and that's that. I wish the best for him and I pray for him every night but it is what it is.

Some people think it was Val's plan all along to isolate my dad from his friends, family and then take him to London which is 5 hours from here (he also has grandchildren up here too who don't get to see him). If I ever have children (God willing, I don't know if they'll get a chance to get to know him, I would love that to happen but I think things are too far gone now).

The point of this post is that a lot of men can go though physical and psychological abuse and it can also be difficult for family members to help them, no matter how hard you try, sometimes you can't get through to someone who's being abused and a lot of the time they are scared to speak up. My dad was scared of being lonely or never having another relationship. He constantly said that he was lucky to have her, that she was so much better than him. 

Throughout the time that my dad was with my mum and later on with Val, I never saw any physical attacks on him myself but he did often have scratch marks/bruises which he said happened at work (he did a lot of hands-on jobs so I never questioned it at the time). 

I think my dad's relationship with my mum had set him on this path and he got so used to being treated this way that he didn't seem to know any different. 

I don't have any anger towards my dad, I did for a while but the more I learned about psychological and domestic abuse the more I could see the situation for what it was. 

I've included below a list of some helpful organisations that you may be interested in if you're a victim yourself or have a friend or relative you might be concerned about: (Helping Men Escape Domestic Abuse)

Mankind - 01823 334244

Men's Advice Line (free from most landlines and mobiles) 0808 801 0327 

There was also a documentary shown on BBC Three recently about a man who suffered terribly at the hands of his girlfriend. I'm sure you can still catch the programme on BBC iplayer of you're in the UK. Here is a clip of the man bravely sharing his story in this interview 

I'm sorry if this post has brought up any negative feelings or memories for anyone, I just think that it's important to talk about this, shine a light on the subject so that more people feel that they can come forward and know that they are supported and that it's very common, they are not alone. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my post x 

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