Jim tells us that he was in the garden one day cutting the grass. The family cat wanted to go inside. I presume that there was no cat flap. Jim’s wife was in bed at the time but I’m not sure that he knew it. Jim knocked on the window and asked his wife to let the cat in. He then continued to cut the grass and afterwards he went inside. Then all hell broke loose.
His wife battered him violently. He began to bleed from the nose and his shirt was ripped. Jim’s wife said to him that he did it deliberately, that he had woken her up because she was sleeping. She claimed that Jim didn’t care about her.
After the battering when things had calmed down, his wife asked him whether he would like a cup of coffee. She said, “I’ll make us a coffee, you change your shirt”.
At the time, Jim was 78 years of age. He had been married for 60 years and put up with a long history of abuse. This last episode was the final straw and he walked out. He did it automatically without really thinking. It was attritional and he had put up with it over so many years. Towards the end he didn’t know who he was. He asked himself how he could have got himself into this situation.
He went to his daughter who reminded him that they had an escape plan because they knew it was going to happen. Jim received counselling which he credits with his survival. Over the years he had lost his friends and family relations because his wife had cut him out.
He had learned as had his daughter to accommodate his wife in order to stop her exploding and abusing him.
Jim found his freedom over an incident with the family cat. I’m pleased that the cat was the catalyst for his decision to finally get out. We are not told what happened to the cat. I suspect that he or she stayed with the wife.
Husbands are reluctant to seek help when they are abused by their wife. There is a stigma attached to being a victim of a woman in a relationship. Both women and men can be victims of domestic abuse. In the UK, the National Domestic Violence Hotline statistics tell us that about one in four women and one in seven men over the age of 18 have been victims of physical domestic violence. Almost 50% of both men and women have experienced various forms of domestic psychological aggression.
We should not forget the men who are victims of domestic violence by their female partners.