I Was Living in Fear. of My Own Wife; EXCLUSIVE It's Usually a Crime Committed by Men against Women. but as Many as One in Six Men Are Victims of Domestic Violence. Kieron Bell, Whose Wife Was Jailed Last Week for Attacking Him, Explains Why He Didn't Come Forward until It Was Almost Too Late

The Mirror (London, England), March 11, 2010 | Go to article overview

I Was Living in Fear. of My Own Wife; EXCLUSIVE It's Usually a Crime Committed by Men against Women. but as Many as One in Six Men Are Victims of Domestic Violence. Kieron Bell, Whose Wife Was Jailed Last Week for Attacking Him, Explains Why He Didn't Come Forward until It Was Almost Too Late


Byline: Kelly Strange

Burly bouncer Kieron Bell had no problem at all removing troublesome drunks from the nightclub where he worked.

But he found himself powerless to stand up to the domestic violence meted out by his petite wife - and it almost cost him his life.

Many would find the situation hard to believe. And it was that fear which delayed Kieron reporting the domestic violence he was suffering at the hands of his seemingly loving wife.

She had attacked him regularly since they married in June 2006 but it wasn't until Sarah stabbed him in the chest with a steak knife that Kieron had the courage to stand up to his 24-year-old partner.

Even then she tried to persuade police Kieron had fallen on the knife. But after life-saving heart surgery which has left him with a 10-inch scar, he found the courage to finally expose her.

And now, after she was jailed last week for fourand-a-half years, he's speaking out to encourage other victims to come forward and break the taboo surrounding male domestic violence.

Kieron says: "Domestic violence against men is a big problem. Because women are seen as the vulnerable ones, people don't understand how men can allow themselves to be victims.

"But when I finally found the courage to tell the police what had happened they were brilliant. They didn't judge me and they took me seriously so I want other men to know they can report attacks. If it can happen to me it can happen to anyone."

The British Crime Survey shows that one in six men will suffer domestic abuse in their lifetime, compared to one in four women, or four million victims.

But statistics also show that men are twice as likely as a woman not to tell the police.

In 2008/09, 31 men were murdered by their partner or ex partner and in the same year 98,000 men were the victims of severe force at the hands of their partner or ex.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Victim Support, said: "Many people think domestic violence only affects women. Although statistics show violence against women is more common, men can be, and are, victims of this crime.

"Besides dealing with the consequences, male victims also have the stigma to contend with, which puts many off getting help. It's vital Victim Support exists so these victims don't have to suffer in silence."

Kieron was a strapping nightclub bouncer and although the married father of one was well used to throwing drunks out of nightclubs night after night, in his own home he was the victim.

In fact, Kieron, 34, met Sarah when he was working the door of a Great Yarmouth nightclub.

At 5ft 10ins tall and with a stocky build, Kieron had a reputation as a tough, but gentle, guy.

Sarah was a tiny size eight and 5ft 2ins tall. After a whirlwind romance Sarah got pregnant and the couple married, but afterwards Sarah started showing signs of a ferocious temper. "She would flare up at the smallest thing. I put it down to her pregnancy hormones to start with."

But as Sarah's bump grew she started to become violent. "If we were bickering she would suddenly lash out. I would never in a million years hit a woman so I would go out for a walk to calm down. When I came back she would say sorry and promise not to do it again.

"I was confused and to start with never even considered what was happening as domestic violence because you just don't think it happens to blokes."

According to Mark Brooks, chairman of the ManKind Initiative, while the help male victims receive from the police is improving, it is still patchy.

He said: "The plight of male victims has been swept under the carpet for too long. A victim is a victim, it should not matter whether they are a man or a woman."

Sarah's violence got worse, pushing and shoving became slapping and threatening. Kieron did call police to the flat. "I called them as a way of shocking her into seeing what she was doing. …

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I Was Living in Fear. of My Own Wife; EXCLUSIVE It's Usually a Crime Committed by Men against Women. but as Many as One in Six Men Are Victims of Domestic Violence. Kieron Bell, Whose Wife Was Jailed Last Week for Attacking Him, Explains Why He Didn't Come Forward until It Was Almost Too Late
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