How can I cope with this violence?

Posted on: 21 January 2008 by

Val says her husband has turned from a loving husband into a violent wife-beater. Why?

Val Writes:

I am English and my husband is Iraqi.  We have been married for more than 20 years and have three children, sons aged 16 and 14 and a daughter of 10.  

For no apparent reason, my husband has suddenly become violent and abusive. He has hit me several times in temper. A few weeks ago, he came home from work drunk and beat me unconscious.  My oldest son found me and called an ambulance.  I was taken to hospital and although I was not admitted, the police charged him and the court banned him from contacting me, or the children, or coming within a mile of our home. 

I cannot understand his behaviour.  It is entirely out of character.  He never used to drink and he condemned any man who hit a woman.  How can he have changed so dramatically?   I love my husband but now I am really scared of him.  I believe he really loves me, too because he has broken the court ruling and written to me saying he is sorry and misses us and wants to come home.   He swears he will never beat me again.   What should I do?

Andy Advises:

When someone suddenly and inexplicably displays such a drastic change in characteristic behaviour, it suggests to me that he is either mentally or physically ill.

I think you should contact your doctor, explain what has happened and ask whether s/he has heard from your husband at all. Has he ever complained of headaches? Or suffered other worrying symptoms before this character change.

You could contact the court and ask whether he has been assigned a social worker or a probation officer, in which case it might be possible to make an appointment to see that person and explain your concerns. I am almost certain that there must be someone in charge of his case to ensure he is not breaking the court order against him.

It might be a good idea to get in touch with your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau who can offer you legal advice on the situation. You will find their number in your local telephone book.

You might also contact MIND (National Association for Mental Health). You will find them at

I would be careful about responding to his letter without first seeking legal advice, because if you do, you might be encouraging him to break the court order, and that in turn could lead to unwelcome consequences for you, Val. Please let me know how you get on?

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