I’m sorry, Dad. I hope you’re not dead, Dad.
These are the chilling words of Ben, a terrified 11 year old boy who had just witnessed his father being physically and verbally assaulted in a violent attack. His younger sister was nearby and the woman’s biological son was in the adjacent room.
As you listen to the audio of this you will hear a child’s pain and disbelief through the terror that is a breach of every child’s innocence, witnessing a violent act against their parent.
Being a child of technology and with a strong presence of mind, Ben bravely recorded the event on his iPad.
She’s hitting my Dad. She’s hitting my Dad. (sobs) I’ve got evidence.
He hears the slaps again and he feels the pain as if it were inflicted upon him.
What’s she doing? (sobs) Oh my God.
As you hear a loud bang.
She’s punching my Dad. She’s punching my Dad.
Jeff Wharton is trying to calm and stop his partner from physically assaulting him. It’s not the first time it has happened and he is tired of it. His child is terrified, and Jeff has had enough.
As the assault continues, his drunken partner screamed at him to call the Police, undoubtedly because she probably knew that a woman will be believed over a man.
These screenshots are Ben’s plea to his own mother, who undoubtedly provided him as much comfort as she was able at this time. My heart goes out to her as a mother because I can only imagine the horror of receiving such a message from my child.
Jeff Wharton did call the ACT Police this night and after much discussion they assured him that his partner would be charged. Initially however, if Jeff wanted to press charges of assault the Police were going to counter charge him with malicious damage because he had thrown her phone against the wall, well after the violence against him had started. During the violent assault she had tried to strangle him and so scratched and bruised, Police were left with what appeared to be no choice but to lay charges against her.
As the children had been safely removed and because she was drunk, Jeff offered to leave the home and allow Police to do their work. When he returned to the house the next day, he discovered she had not been charged and had driven herself that night to a friends house.
This is the same woman in December, 2014 caught in action in a violent display on security camera (no audio). I will let the content speak for itself.
You can see in a display of this kind just how easy it is for a man defending himself to end up being seen as the aggressor, just as Karen later attempted to do in April. It will not go unnoticed that no one saw fit to come to Jeff’s aid.
In obtaining a DVO the magistrate was scornful and ‘furious’ at Jeff. He was told he had to approach victims of crime for any kind of services. There were no specific men’s services available to him and no court assistance to help him understand the process.
Like many victims of domestic violence, when Jeff and his partner were a week away from the DVO hearing the perpetrator manipulated the victim into not proceeding. This doesn’t happen often to women anymore, because there are appointed services to see that victims remain ‘strong’ and ‘resolute’. Because he is a man there was no such help for Jeff and he believed her when she said she wanted to amicably work out their property and financial settlement. She later went on to manipulate his emotions and then use his kindness against him in derogatory attacks attempting to discredit him and make herself the victim. She was served with notice to cease and desist.
Often I am forced to defend attacks by women’s groups that there are services for men and their children who are victims of women. The only services available to Jeff, his children and his former wife has been through victims of crime.
Jeff’s former partner has still not been formally charged. There is a warrant for her arrest in Queensland, however according to Police it is not serious enough to extradite her. A complaint has been made and the Ombudsman is currently investigating the ACT incident.
The ignorance in Australia (and around the world) concerning plight of men and children who are faced with such extraordinary trauma can no longer go unnoticed.
Don’t let the words of Ben’s chilling cries for help go unheard. We must end violence against women, men and children and we must provide dedicated services to each of them.
If you are able, please support this work so Jasmin can continue to support men and their children who are victims.
Photo Source: By D Sharon Pruitt