More men are speaking out about their personal experiences of domestic abuse and male domestic abuse awareness is on the rise. Between 2012 and 2016 there was a total of 525015 reported male domestic abuse victims in England and Wales. (Statistic from mankind.org.uk).
But there has been a groundbreaking first in the courts and for domestic abuse law. Yesterday (16th April 2018) J Worth, a 22-year-old university student, became the first woman to be convicted and sentenced for the horrific acts she subjected upon her former partner.
Worth scalded and stabbed her victim as well as striking him with blunt objects, she withheld food from him and even took control of his Facebook account. She would decide what he could wear and she isolated him from his friends and family.
Worth had met her former partner (let’s call him X for arguments sake) whilst they were at college in 2012. It was said that she became violent with X, who suffered from hydrocephalus (a condition which causes a buildup of fluid in the skull), which left him vulnerable. She wounded him with a knife and refused to help him get to hospital when he was in need of treatment.
The court heard that her victim couldn’t sleep in the same bed as her and this continued for nine months. Neighbours also stated that they had often heard arguments and the sounds of things being thrown around the house.
They also said that they heard X shouting “Get off me, you are hurting me” at Worth and he was then seen with black eyes, a limp and his arm in a sling.
Another neighbour stated that they had heard X shouting “get off my head, don’t keep doing that to my head”.
When paramedics were called, they noted injuries to X’s hand, burns to his arms and legs, which were being self-treated by clingfilm. X was then taken to hospital, where it was stated that 5% of his total body surface was scalded.
Worth was arrested a few days later.
Judge Madge told Worth that as well as the violence she had carried out on her former partner, she had refused his adequate bedding and food. He then went on to say Worth would “belittle” her partner and discourage him from contacting his family and friends.
Worth was subject to a restraining order which prevents her from contacting X for an indefinite period, as well as having to serve a seven-and-a-half year prison sentence, after she pleaded guilty to the offence of controlling or coercive behaviour, as well as wounding with intent and causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
Domestic abuse is a tricky subject to face. The victim has to admit that they are a victim but that can also risk their safety so a lot of victims don’t speak out because they are ashamed, scared, have no one to talk to or just don’t know what support is out there for them. However, there are organisations out there who can help victims get out of the relationship and to make sure they keep safe, some organisations even provide counselling if the victim needs it. The first step is finding the organisations and speaking out about it, until then, things won’t get better.