A MALE victim of domestic abuse who suffered at the hands of his wife for 15 years has urged others in his situation to seek help as soon as possible.

The victim, who we will refer to as 'Mike', said his partner's aggressive behaviour became worse and worse the longer they were together. He feared for his safety and the safety of his children as the monthly outbursts continued - but contacting an advice line, a domestic abuse support service and then the police helped them escape.

He added: "I first became aware of it about 12 years ago – her aggressive, often violent responses to normal, everyday situations.

"One moment, everything seemed fine and then with the slightest problem or issue she started yelling and screaming. This often led to her throwing and smashing things. At other times she would mimic me, try and belittle me."

Mike and his abuser were together for 20 years and the couple have two daughters who are now in their teens. During the first lockdown, the abuse started happening more often.

He added: “She was very controlling and coercive too, not allowing me the freedom to leave the house at times or even speak to people on the phone. If we had an argument, she would sometimes keep it going all day and I wouldn’t be allowed to eat or go to sleep.

“The violence was only part of it - she would also often threaten to self-harm or kill herself. It was emotional blackmail. In a funny sort of way, lockdown helped me. It condensed this awful situation and forced me to do something to eventually get out.”

He first sought help by going to a national men’s advice line which referred him to Wiltshire-based domestic abuse charity Splitz, who helped him to safely get out of his difficult situation.

Mike added: "It hasn't been easy. It was traumatic for my daughters and me and there has been a lot of recovery and rebuilding since. I was at breaking point – both my mental and physical health were suffering – I was in crisis. I had to do something to change the situation and leaving was the only option."

Now in his 40s, Mike has spoken about his experience because he wants to help other men and doesn’t want them to suffer like he did. He is speaking out as part of Wiltshire Police's 16-day domestic abuse campaign held in partnership with the Swindon Borough and Wiltshire Councils and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, along with other stakeholders including Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service and Splitz.

The aim of the campaign is to highlight domestic abuse on all victims - whatever their gender - and the help that is available.

He said: "I'm a pretty typical, middle aged professional who lived in a nice house with kids and a wife which appeared seemingly OK on the outside, but it most definitely was not OK on the inside. My message to any man who’s in an abusive relationship is get help as soon as you can.

“I know I should have got our sooner but it’s never easy to break-up a relationship, especially when children are involved. I was scared for our safety, and I didn't know where to turn for a long time, but there is always a choice - even when you feel there isn't one.

"And, of course, there’s always that part of you hoping that your partner will change – that the abuse will stop. But it never did.”

People who are experiencing domestic abuse in Wiltshire can speak to Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service on 01793 610610. Or call Splitz Support Service on 01225 775276 or on the out of hours helpline 01225 712880. In an emergency, dial 999.

View more information on wiltshirepolice.co.uk