Nov. 13, 1996Dear Madame:
Please read this true account to determine if you wish to post my story on the net.
My wife has abused me throughout our marriage. We've been together since 1982. When the children became old enough she also started to be abusive towards them.
Throughout the run of the relationship, and it's still sort of running, I have sought help anywhere that I could get it.
At first I was a full time producer at a local TV station with very unusual and unpredictable hours. It was a very challenging yet stressful job. My wife first started to show that she was abusive and cruel quite early on while I worked at the tV station. Often she would call and say strange or mean things to me at work. Other times her intense verbal and sometimes physical attacks on me, stayed with me and I would carry that with me to work. I often had to direct live television programs that are very demanding psychologically and could cause a great deal of tension and anticipation on the set. Sometimes her attacks on me coincided with these live shows and the combined pressure would cause me to wretch my guts in the washroom on several occasions.
In those early years I would try to get her to tell me what I'd done wrong so that I could avoid doing it next time. She eventually told me that I hadn't done anything wrong to deserve the kind of punishment that she was dishing out and then she'd apologise. I asked her to get help but she insisted that I not tell anyone, particularly our doctor or her family. The abuse became so cruel and I lost so much sleep that it definitely affected me at work at the television station. One day it was so bad I had to talk to someone. Rather than break my promise to her, I talked to a fellow employee. She listened sympathetically and said she had heard of violent women. I felt a little better talking to her but I also felt a little bad about stepping over an employee/employee boundary and that I also broke my promise to my wife not to tell anyone. This was one of my first calls for help.
I also started to talk to my family often, in the early years of the marriage, about the things she would do and say to me. This included my mom, my sister and brother.
During this time period, after my 1st son was born , when he was about 10 months old, my wife called me at work, crying, saying she had been arrested for shoplifting at [xxx], [xxx]. I had given her 2 or 3 hundred dollars for shopping so it didn't make any sense. Eventually she told me how she had become furious at the floor detective for following her around the store so she took him on a wild goose chase around the store. This led her eventually to taunt the man by taking her loaded shopping cart, (with Son) out of the store exit when she was apprehended. When she explained it to me like that, it made perfect sense, that is for her, because I'd seen her loose her temper in an exaggerated fashion, many, many times before. I saw her through that whole fiasco by going with her to get her mug shots and finger prints as well as attending court. At court, a, I think it's, a John Howard society person, spoke to the judge and a deal was arranged to work things out with [xxx] and she had to stay out of their store for 6 months. I was secretly humiliated by the whole thing.
Pretty close in time to the shoplifting incident, again she called me at work to say that a social services child protection worker had arrived at her door saying that there was a complaint of a child screaming excessively and that they were there to investigate possible child abuse. It turned out that she had been babysitting a neighbour's child, who had been screaming for his mom at the door for an extended period of time. I felt, knowing what I knew about her anger, that she temporarily didn't have the patience to deal with the boy's screams, so she just let him scream until he was out of control enough for a passerby to call the authorities. They also checked my son for signs of physical abuse and found none. But once again I stood by my wife and I was humiliated.
Around the time that my oldest son could just walk, my wife began to attack me with knives on a regular basis. I would usually grab a cushion or pillow to protect myself because she was really trying to kill me. After chasing me around for a while, because she wasn't successful, she'd tell me that she'd wait until I was asleep to stab me. I would sleep in another room at those times, and since there wasn't a door lock, I'd put something noisy like cans up against the door. Often I couldn't sleep, anyways.
This is around the time that I began talking to her aunt, a psychiatrist in Ontario. She also spoke to my wife and wrote her and us a few helpful letters. It got so that I could often recognise the signs that her personality was changing . Her eyes would widen and glaze over, she was edgy and abrupt and picked fights, so at that point I would hide all the knives and sharp scissors, pointed screw drivers, anything that she could use to stab me.
During these extremely tense times I learned that the worse thing I could do was to confront her on her behaviour. This almost always caused her to get worse. There was no reasoning with her at all. It, simply, (whatever it was), had to run it's course. Sometimes, however, in those early years, I would make the mistake of arguing back at her. Given the right set of circumstances and I'm still not quite sure what that is, she would completely fall to pieces emotionally and behave as though I was attacking her. This often resulted in her calling out the window, "he's beating me", or she'd call the police. They would arrive assuming that I must have done something pretty awful to have her so upset.
It was almost always impossible to break through that first impression and bias that the police would arrive with and over time I just sort of threw my hands up in despair. The police came and went a few times with my wife and the kids and took them away to a women's shelter. They simply were not open to what actually happened . She had no signs of physical abuse because I always refused to hurt her no matter what she said or did to me. But sometimes the police officers would listen, and appeared to realise that I hadn't actually hurt her. I held out a lot of hope that one day I'd find out what on earth was going on and I'd watch the media for anything.
Mostly there were just shows and books or articles on husbands who abused their wives. But occasionally there would be something that made me believe there might be help.
Around the middle 1980's, she began investigating her problem herself and came up with many articles and books on PMS, Premenstrual Syndrome. The way she described it, it all seemed to make sense and sure enough most of her abusive behaviour was just before her periods and she would usually turn back to "normal" when her periods arrived. She educated me on this, and she began changing her diet and exercise. She still asked me not to tell our doctor because they had developed quite a doctor/patient relationship and she didn't want him to think less of her. Once, around this time, I called a woman's shelter to see if they could help me in any way and the lady I was talking to just got mad at me for even suggesting that a woman could abuse a man.
At Christmas 1988, we were returning by car from my home town, and what I thought was an unusually good Christmas. In previous years, she often became angry around Christmas and this could also include the usual knife attacks, and full blown cruelty. This also would occur on other special occasions such as anniversaries, birthdays and holidays. Absolutely nothing was sacred.
On the way home she sat in the passenger seat up front, the 3 kids in back and commenced to yell at me, telling me how awful my family was and what a terrible person I was - her typical cruelty. Because it was so unexpected and because I was trapped in the car with her for 3 hours, it hurt me deeply. So deeply in fact that when I returned to work a few days later, I decided that I'd had enough and the pact was ended. I would no longer keep her problem a secret from anyone and I was going to seek help anyway I could. Fortuitously, there was a pamphlet on my desk when I arrived back at work and it contained information on getting counselling sponsored by my employer.
I arranged to meet a counsellor, who after describing my situation to him, strongly recommended getting my wife to our family doctor and if she refused then I should go and tell him myself. She agreed to go and we poured out (I certainly did) about 6 years of pent up pain. He prescribed something for her and made arrangements for her to see a psychiatrist.
Before much time passed, just a few weeks after seeing the counsellor and our doctor, she attacked both me and my daughter, who was 3 years old at the time. The police ended up removing all the children from the home, and my wife, then came back later that night to arrest me. They refused to hear my side of the story until after I was arrested. I spent the night in jail, and the matter went to trial in 3 days. I testified and included a letter from our doctor that explained the situation and I was found not guilty.
Following the trial, the prosecutor apologised to me and said that he would put a letter on file at the police station telling the situation and not to arrest me in matters to do with my wife. I took him at his word and whenever the police did come to our home after that I always started by saying "The prosecutor in a 1989 trial said that you are supposed to have it on file not to arrest me on matters to do with my wife. She abuses me and she abuses the children." This is exactly what I said to the police when they arrived to remove me from my home, Oct. 23, 1995. Not swearing as the police had said I did.
I dedicate myself to helping my wife get to the bottom of whatever was causing these attacks and she went through a time of confusion and suicidal tendencies around March of 1989. I made a promise to her that I'd do what ever it takes to help her find happiness and peace of mind. She came to me with a plan for her to attend university in Ontario. It ended up that I would stay behind and work because it was such an excellent job and she would go on ahead with the children by train. I would either quit my job or vacation with them at Christmas time and her family would be co-operative and helpful. Quite a few of them lived in Ontario.
In fact, they were so angry at her that she would arrive in their town without a husband, that they didn't even pick them up right away. My wife and the 3 children, ages 1, 3 and 4 , were kept waiting at a McDonald's for hours waiting for a ride. After many phone calls from her and the children, it became clear to me that they weren't being treated very well by most of the relatives and the kids were particularly upset about how their grandmother, her mom, would force them to stay down in the basement because they were guests in her sister's home. I couldn't get out there soon enough, and I quit my job and joined them in Ontario.
While I was there, my wife really hadn't changed in any major way although I could definitely see her love of university once again. She continued to be abusive and a few times I took the children to her aunt's house to get away from her. Her family became down on me because I was an unemployed man and even worse that I looked after the children. Once I swore in front of her mom, who would often come over to our place and invite herself in only to immediately start cleaning and cooking. The problem was, she never would talk to me, have a conversation or anything. I tried several times but with no luck. I swore about it to my wife. Her mother, who was in another room, overheard. Thereafter she shunned me. Then her two sisters shunned me, and then it snowballed so that I was personae non grata amongst most of her family. This definitely did not ease the pressure I felt being unemployed and being abused by my wife on a regular basis.
So much so that I went to see a lawyer. I just wanted to get out of there and I wanted to know if there was some kind of document that I could file to make my intentions clear legally - that I wasn't abandoning my kids, I was just trying to escape from the abuse and the cruelty. The lawyer said there was nothing I could do but if I wanted to commence a divorce all I had to do was give him a $1,500 retainer. That from a lawyer I'd approached for legal aide.
We however did see a marriage counsellor who I thought would have been suitable for us if there wasn't ongoing abuse. Her philosophy didn't allow for discussing the past, so I didn't have an outlet to discuss the pain that had built up over the years. I finally didn't want to see the counsellor anymore. My wife liked the approach because it let her off the hook completely for anything she ever did to me or the kids. Before we quit the counsellor, I did discuss the rift that was going on between me and her relatives. The counsellor said that she had experienced a similar problem in her marriage and that there was nothing that could be done about it and that we should move away from the relatives. She said that a counsellor that she was seeing at the university also suggested that we move away so we arranged heading back west by August 1990.
When we moved back, we had nothing. Not being able to get a good paying job soon enough, we went on social assistance. A very humiliating experience that she would use on a regular basis to be cruel. Depression, began to set in. We had no furniture and our car was falling apart and we were on social assistance.
I began seeing our doctor every now and then about her abuse and the effect it was having on me. I tried a few different antidepressants but with not much luck.
I had begun an intensive cross-country job search in Ontario and continued it in here in desperation. There were quite a few jobs advertised that I was suited for yet I could never get to the interview stage. Social Services had me see a job counsellor in 1992, who thought I was doing a pretty good job search and also made some suggestions such as volunteering. When she asked me if I thought anything might be hindering me in my search, I poured out the problems that I'd had over the years with my wife being cruel and that it was having a negative effect on me.
In about Sept 1992, she tried to stab my son (who was about 8 at the time) and me with a knife. I called 9-1-1 and experienced the usual police reaction of skepticism but after they talked to the children, who were now old enough to speak for themselves, they believed me. One officer asked me if I wished to speak to Mobile Crisis Services and he recommended that they were pretty good in these sorts of situations. I said OK. When Mobile Crisis Services arrived she immediately manipulated them to the point that they asked me if I could leave for the night. They were sour to me and treated me like I was at fault. I told them there was no way I'd leave her with the children unprotected and Mobile Crisis's solution was that we stay at opposite ends of the house for a day or so. I couldn't believe it, and this after a knife attack.
My wife was particularly abusive to me and my youngest boy on a weekend in Sept. 1993 so I called several different agencies. I was skeptical about getting help so I asked social services on the phone if things had changed yet and would they believe me if I told them that my wife abuses me and the children. I told them that I wasn't reporting her then but just wanted to know if they would be receptive to me if I called for help. The lady on the phone said that things had indeed changed and they recognised that woman sometimes abuse men and that I should call for help. I called mobile crisis and talked a bit and they recommended that I see a counsellor at The community clinic. I got in to see him in just 3 days. I explained my situation and he made suggestions and kept the door open to come see him again if I needed to talk. One thing that he asked me, kept me from seeing him again. He asked me if it was possible that I like being abused.
In 1994 I heard that a victims of domestic abuse act was being proposed. After hearing and reading how it was going to be used, I wrote a letter to the Minister of Justice as well as several MPs, MLAs and media outlets. I expressed my concern that the police act inappropriately now and that I hoped that the new law wouldn't make things even worse for me. I wanted the assurance that men like me who are abused, wouldn't be removed from our homes when in fact the wife is the abuser. The Minister of justice wrote back assuring me that there would be no gender bias in the act and that the police etc, were being trained to recognise the abuser no matter what their gender. He also appeared on a CBC phone-in show at about the same time on the subject of the proposed victims of domestic violence act and stated that he had never heard of any case of wives abusing husbands so I wondered what kind of training those agencies would really get.
My wife has never let up. She still goes through the same cycle.
It is no coincidence that both times I was arrested happened to fall on the 23rd of the month. Also Christmas, falling close to that date is ruined more often than not. Because she has a problem being violent, that is what happened the weekend that she called 9-1-1 last October 22, 1995.
She had been particularly abusive towards me all day Saturday October 21, 1995. I had recently run out of money after paying a phone bill on Friday. I had actually made more than her last year and even paid her income taxes of $3000, bought a brand new family car and gave her $4000 cash to furnish our home.
I didn't want to tell her that I was broke because I knew that she would probably start in on me again about not working. Unfortunately, a tooth was causing me a lot of pain for several days and I couldn't take it any more so I asked her if she could pay for an emergency appointment with our dentist. She yelled and screamed at me for hours and pointed to several jobs in the want adds. She kept telling me to get a job and pay for my own teeth. This was amazing considering how I'd contributed to the family financially in the past 2 years or more. Eventually she said that if I put our new car in her name, she'd pay up to $100 for the dentist.
I went to the dentist that day and he saw me for free. He prescribed antibiotics and painkillers for the tooth infection and told me to see him in a few weeks for root canal on the abscessed tooth. It turned out that the dentist only cost $8 for the medicine.
She now knew that I was vulnerable - that I was in pain and that I had no money left. She was extremely mean to me all day Saturday and right through to late afternoon Sunday, October 22, 1995. Because I wouldn't respond to her cruelty, I just sat and took it, she began to abuse our son. She had recently bought him some new jogging pants that he didn't like. She ordered him to wear them so he "wouldn't look like white trash like his dad". She often called me White trash and a looser in front of the kids. My son was wearing his favourite pants that were a bit worn at the knee. My wife screamed and yelled at him until he was crying and physically ill. My daughter, yelled at her in defence of her brother. My kids still don't realise that the most dangerous thing they can do is confront her when she's like that.
My wife went upstairs and I assumed that things were settling down. My son went up to his room and discovered her rifling through his things, searching for the new pants that she assumed he had hidden or thrown away. She knew that one of the cruelest things she could do to him was to dig around in his stuff because he kept his belongings well organised and stored just the way he liked them.
My son came back downstairs and was crying. My daughter went upstairs and began yelling at her mom for badgering her brother. She often takes the role of protector and sometimes suffers the consequences with her mom hitting her with hangers etc.
I stayed with my son to comfort him. He was extremely upset and sick to his stomach. My daughter remained upstairs. She spoke to 9-1-1 briefly and then I talked to them until my wife interrupted. Later my son heard his sister starting to scream some more so he went up thinking that his mom was back in his room. The children discovered that she was on the telephone with mobile crisis and started to yell things so that they could be heard by the person at the other end. They were denying all sorts of allegations of abuse and calling their mother a liar. Following all this, the children talked to my mother on the phone to explain what had happened and she was going to look into calling Social Services the next day. When she got through to them they said they couldn't speak to her because they were already handling my wife's case.
She calmed down for the evening but I kept expecting that the police or mobile crisis would show up and then, maybe I could explain what happened, expecting, of course not to be believed .They never came that evening.
The following day, October 23, 1995, the day I was arrested, I returned home from a trip across town and made lunch for the kids. My wife wasn't home. The kids never showed up. I called the school and they weren't sure what had happened. I drove around a bit then returned home and waited. My oldest boy and my wife got home about 12:45. He was very tense and sick in the stomach. The other 2 children had gone back to school. He told me how a lady in a van and their mom had taken them to MacDonalds and said that they would be staying with mom, and dad would be leaving. He said that this made him sick to hear and wanted to run away. Then he told me that he didn't want to stay with mom - he wanted to stay with me. I assured him that he would stay with me.
The other 2 children came home after school and each in turn said what the lady had said about staying with their mother and that I would be leaving. Both of them said they wanted to stay with me. I also told them not to worry and that they would stay with me. They had all told me that the lady had told them - that a counsellor would be speaking to me that day. That never happened but I hung around waiting to explain the situation - about my wife.
At about 3:45 several police cars started cruising around our neighbourhood so I sensed something bizarre was up. Then the the police came to my door asking for me. My son had answered the door and I called out from the living room for him to come-in. The only officer to speak to me, started to tell me about an order in his hand. I interrupted him before he could get a sentence out, and told him I wasn't leaving. He asked, "you're not going to leave?" I said that the police are supposed to have it on file from the prosecutor in an' 89 trial, not to arrest me in matters to do with my wife because she abuses me and the children." He said he was just doing his job and that I was under arrest. As he spoke, Constable C. was already pointing his spray at me and Cst. W. was on her walky-talky. I picked up a chair to protect myself from the the spray but was hit by it and was blinded. I panicked and let go of the chair, in a soft throw, but not at anyone. Breathing became difficult and in a panic I felt for another chair during which I was being clubbed, punched, choked and sprayed. I had no awareness of having hurt anyone and hadn't intended to - I was simply panicking in much the same way a drowning person panics. I couldn't breath, I was blind and I was being beaten. I was merely reacting to that.
The police made sure that they beat me quite thoroughly while still in the house in front of all 3 of my kids and when they finally had me face down on the living room floor, they placed nylon straps on my wrists so tight I could feel the pain exploding up my arms. When they got me outside, Cst. C. stopped me at the edge of our trampoline and paused a moment. Then he calmly took my left hand and bent it back as far as it would go and simultaneously pulled the left hand strap as hard as he could. I yelled that he had broken my hand. The pain was unbearable and I went in and out of consciousness several times until the straps were removed at the police station.
He held me bent over and walked me over to near the police car in my socks, where I was ready to pass out from the pain. Several police officers had gathered in a circle beside the car. Corporal M. stood in front of me to my right and ordered Cst. C. to throw me to the ground. Cst. C. placed a choke -hold on me and threw me face first on the ground and simultaneously kneed me as I fell which made me hit the ground with not only my body weight but some of Cst C. weight. This is when a tooth was broken. Cst. C. choked me until I almost passed out and he yelled "You Cunt!" Then I felt several blows from clubs and fists up and down my back and head. I was then thrown in the police car on my hands. I went in and out of consciousness on the way down to the police station. I could hardly breath and actually thought I was dying. When we arrived, corporal M. angrily greeted me and as he tried to pull me out by my feet he told me that, "he was so mad at me that I can expect a visit in my cell that night." The visit never took place but I was worried since they had beaten me already and I thought Cst C. had broken my hand.
I was taken to a water fountain and with the straps still on behind my back, I was told to wash my face to remove the pepper spray. One of the officers left to get some scissors to cut off the straps and returned in a minute or so and removed them. Then I saw how damaged my hand was. I told the officer in charge, that I had fallen on my hand and that it might be broken. I told him this to appease the officers who had beaten me because they were gathered around. I didn't want them to visit me in my cell so I didn't tell him what had really happened. I was taken to the hospital where I was Xrayed and found that nothing was broken. Dr S. looked at my hand and wrist that was black and blue and told me that the police shouldn't have put the cuffs on so tight. He saw me in handcuffs at the hospital, so he thought they had previously tightened them too much. I didn't discuss with him that I had been wearing straps. Dr S. also told me that there was probably nerve damage.
In fact that nerve damage lasted for 6 months.
While I was in the hospital, I overheard Cst. T. W.'s radio over which someone was stating something about police officers that had been hurt were at the hospital. Cst W. explained to me that it was to do with the incident at my house. That was the first that I'd heard about police officers being hurt in the incident. Up to then, I thought I was the only person hurt. Csts W. and his partner took me back to the police station where Cst. W. was very kind to me and located a mattress and a pillow for me to use in the cell. This was in complete contrast to how I'd been treated by Corporal M. and Cst. C. 2 days later I was placed under another order in addition to the Emergency Intervention Order which gave the same severe restrictions but open ended with no end date. The orders stated that I was to have no contact with my children and wife and stay away from my home and the children's school.
I sold my 2 month old, new family car, back to the dealer who sold it to me and hired a lawyer, who turned out to be biased in favour of the police and made several errors in legal documents etc. So after spending thousands of dollars on him, I fired him. In particular, his attitude that the police were just doing their job only seemed to change months later after he looked at the disclosure materials re: the criminal charges.
I eventually filed a Law Suit, on my own behalf, against Mobile Crisis Services and the Government of Saskatchewan. I cancelled it because of my lack of legal expertise.
The police came to my home October 23, 1995, beat me and arrested me for failure to leave on an emergency intervention order. This order is under the Victims of Domestic Violence Act. I was charged with assaulting 2 police officers and the failure to leave. After a year of emotional "hell" I was finally able to represent myself in court on the criminal charges and the outcome was that I was able to prove that the police used excessive force and I was found not guilty of both assault charges. I had always admitted that I wouldn't leave on the emergency intervention order because I feared for the safety of my children so I was found guilty on that charge. The judge gave me an absolute discharge after hearing the circumstances behind my actions.
The Saskatchewan provincial government said that the Victims of Domestic Violence Act would be applied fairly and that the various agencies involved would be properly trained to recognise the victim and the abuser with no biased against men. What came out in my trial was that the representative for Mobile Crisis Services stated that she was trained to make no attempt to hear both sides of the story and in addition she ignored the protests of my children and chose to ignore her own files on situations at my home. Essentially, Mobile Crisis Services has become an agency where women can simply walk in and ask for an Emergency Intervention Order and Mobile Crisis Services arranges it for them. In my case, as you see from reading my story, the abuser, my wife, was left with her victims and the main victim, (me) was forcibly removed from my home.
I have approached Human Rights, the Provincial Ombudsman and the Police Investigators office but the outcome in each case was less than satisfactory.
My situation has not changed and I dread the day when something even worse will happen to me and/or my children.
Please do not publish my Email address at this time.