St Albans Crown Court heard Collins had demanded explicit details of all his girlfriend's former lovers and sexual encounters which he documented in a notebook. His controlling behaviour apparently also took form in forcing her to sleep facing him in bed and causing her to close down all her social network accounts.
Naturally, considering the accused's celebrity(ish) status and the nature of the case this has been covered in nearly all UK news sites. The Daily Mail has even been so kind as to provide a busty photo of Anna Larke. For context.
When a woman abuses her male partner (I am aware abuse sadly exists outside the media's usually heteronormative world but for the purposes of this I am only dealing with hetero cases) does the media and general public attribute the same respect to an abused husband or boyfriend? In a recent interview Bond actor Roger Moore revealed 2 of his wives had been physically abusive to him; resulting in a DM headline: “James Bond wouldn't have that!” and opening with: “He may have played a top spy and a ladies man in the James Bond films, but in real life it seems Roger Moore is less in control.”
Oh DM, never confuse the actor with their character, I dread to think what a marriage would be like if it was conducted using the mantra 'What Would Bond Do?' (WWBD?). Oh DM, are relationships about control? Oh DM.
Herein lies one of the many problems when it comes to reporting abuse. If you are even able to identify it as abuse. When I wrote about the addition of Coercive Control in the definition of domestic abuse many of the experts brought in to comment on the change mentioned the problem with men and boys being able to report issues within their relationships. We think men being abused is both absurd (I can't believe BOND got hit by a girl!) and funny (Bond got hit by a girl!).
We have such a curious idea of relationships, what they should be, what's acceptable. It is quite acceptable – reported or not – for women to be victims. It is equally quite acceptable for men to be in control of the relationships. However it is equally acceptable to casually use such terms as 'Under her thumb', 'pussy-whipped', 'henpecked', 'she wears the trousers' and laugh them off.
A woman says to her friends that her partner demands her passwords or checks her mobile phone messages and looks might be exchanged, late night chats had about concerns over this woman's controlling relationship. A man reports the same and amused comments of 'whipped!' will be the only acknowledgement that something is wrong in the relationship.
This is because it is socially acceptable for a woman to be insecure. By acting on her insecurities she is still acting as a victim, consumed with jealousy and fuelled by the fear her partner will find someone else. It appears what drove Justin Lee Collins to such (alleged) behaviour was jealousy. Jealousy is not gender specific.
More than 40% of domestic violence victims are male. In 2010 the Men's Advice Line reported an increase of 35% of calls and e-mails received from men suffering domestic abuse.
It is still important to remember Murray Straus's study of marital violence: 'women may throw the first coffee pot, but men tend to throw the last punch.' So why I am writing about men who have abusive partners? Why am I getting myself into the unexpected position of defending Roger Moore? Because just as abuse doesn't have an age limit, nor does it have gender restrictions. All women, men, girls, boys need to be given the confidence to both realise if they are being abused and to take themselves out of the abusive situation.