Male victim of domestic abuse urges other men 'to speak up' too

A male survivor of domestic abuse has told ITV News it was only when he opened up to a friend about the behaviour he experienced, that he felt able to leave the relationship he was in. According to figures from UK charity ManKind, one in three victims of domestic abuse is male, but they are nearly three times less likely to tell anyone than a female victim. 'Pete' told ITV News it was a period of stress that initially triggered the violence in his home.

'Pete' described how the change in behaviour happened gradually, then 'normalised', and eventually escalated to a point where police were called to the marital home. Yet, he chose not to press charges. It felt 'unthinkable', he said, to press charges against the mother of his children. As a result, he felt his only choice was to 'just tolerate' the life he was living. Looking back he says he so wished the behaviour was just 'a phase' that he chose to make excuses for it.

He also said he didn't feel he had much choice, it was either, 'hope that it gets better', or 'tolerate it'. If he left he feared he would be seen as an 'absent father'.

'My priority was always the children, and making sure I kept custody of them....', he said. It was after enduring abuse for a number of years that he eventually decided to share a diary he kept of the abuse with a friend.

Asked why he thought so many men felt it difficult to open up about domestic abuse, he said he thought many men felt it would be seen as a sign of weakness, reflecting the idea that 'as the man of the house you should not be pushed around'. It was 'Pete's' family who helped him financially to secure a small flat. He also, over a period of time, started accumulating the essentials his children needed before they were able to leave the family home. Today he enjoys shared care of the children, but the abuse has had long-term effects on him. 'Pete' was diagnosed with PTSD after he left the abusive relationship. He was signed off work, and on his return was not supported in his role either.

What advice does he have for other men living with abuse?

'Pete's' interview coincides with No More Week, an international campaign to take a stand against domestic abuse and sexual violence.

It is a side we don't often get to hear, and campaigners say that is largely due to stigma. Carly Lucas from Jersey Domestic Abuse Support told ITV Channel TV why she believes men are reluctant to speak out and seek help.

The following organisations offer support for male and female victims of abuse: