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Rob called the Men’s Advice Line three times. The first time was the day after a serious assault where the police were called by a neighbour. Although Rob was bleeding and bruised and his partner had no signs of violence on him, the officers advised Rob and his abusive boyfriend to sort things out and stop fighting. This caused further insecurity in Rob. Rob’s boyfriend had left that morning telling him that there was going to be trouble when he came back from work in the evening. He was so jealous that he would check Rob’s phone and not allow him to work or to talk to anyone or go out, unless he was with him. He would not give Rob access to any money. If he felt that Rob was trying to talk to his friends or relatives or get money through them, he would beat him up and blame him for it. This caused Rob to become isolated and with very low self-esteem.

The constant emotional and physical abuse and the control that his partner had over him had impacted in Rob’s mental health. When they met, his boyfriend was extremely caring and generous, but things quickly deteriorated. They had been together for only 2 years. During that time Rob had become completely dependent of him, almost unable to do anything without his permission apart from being at home reading or watching TV. Rob was unable to see a way out of his situation and feeling that he was to blame for the abuse he was suffering, like he somehow deserved it. Rob had spoken about his concerns to a friend who recommended the Men’s Advice Line.

Through talking to one of the Men’s Advice Line Advisors, Rob realised that he could access some money, gather his belongings, contact a friend who would put him up, and leave his boyfriend before he returned that evening.

Rob called the Men’s Advice Line again after leaving the relationship. He was struggling emotionally and financially but was determined to not go back. Although Rob was highly scared of a possible retaliation, he still refused to report matters to the police. In this call, he was reassured that his fears and insecurity were normal, that he was in the process of recovering from the abuse, and that there was support for him to solve the practical difficulties, until he could stand on his own feet again.

Rob called again a few weeks later. He was feeling stronger and more confident, but he was still struggling with feelings of guilt about what happened to him. Nevertheless, he was more settled in an independent life after having found a regular income. On this last call Rob was able to explore how the feelings of guilt were caused by the abuse. The Advisor explained to him that the perpetrator will typically avoid taking any responsibility for the harm inflicted on the victim, who will be blamed for their own suffering. Rob started making the connection between his own situation and what the Advisor explained to him. He was glad that, for the first time after many years, he started feeling that he wasn’t to blame.

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