YOU may know me already.
I am a middle-aged man in the CQ community.
To you I look successful in my career and home life.
I have it all.
If you look deeply in my sad eyes you will see something else.
You will see how I struggle to maintain the facade, to keep my family together and provide a stable upbringing for my children.
My partner is an abusive alcoholic.
Some people suspect this but nobody knows for sure.
I help cover for her.
Help her maintain her dignity and that of the family.
I work a demanding job and then try to keep the home straight and the children cared for.
When I fall into bed I am usually already asleep.
Despite my efforts I am too embarrassed to bring guests to my home.
You never know what you will find.
Fast-food containers to greet you strewn around the floor or maybe the silver inner from a cask wine in a new hiding spot.
Over the years I have been alienated from my family and friends.
A series of faux conflicts that forced me to "take her side" like a good partner should - after all, "a man sticks up for his partner, doesn't he?"
Relationships have been burned - people keep their distance.
This protects her - I have nobody who I feel able to talk to about the neglect of me and our kids, the frequent verbal and emotional abuse.
My sad eyes will tell you that I have been physically assaulted also.
I am a big man, even did a bit of boxing in my youth, but I would never raise a hand to a woman.
I wasn't raised that way.
I think that she would like me to hit her. It would suit her narrative of being a victim.
She told me she would lie to the police and say I was a violent man if I ever tried to leave her.
I fear losing my children and them being in the care of a drunk if the courts were to believe her.
I know she is ruthless as she has prevented the children seeing their grandparents after an argument with her about her being drunk in charge of a small child.
If you look carefully you will find that I make excuses not to attend events, I get panicked if I'm late home, I get strange phone calls and will be in anguish afterwards.
I leave in a hurry to collect stranded children.
I suspect she is drunk and I don't want her to drive with the children in the car.
If you think you recognise me or someone like me ask me if I would like to talk.
Make it safe for me.
Whatever you do don't tell me to "man up".
Her constant criticisms of me over the years have changed my view of myself so that I am not even sure I am a real man anymore.
And only women are domestic violence victims, right?