"The police turned up. An allegation of family violence had been made. I had to go to the police station. I was bundled into a paddy wagon in front of my neighbours. I’d gone from earning a big salary to nothing overnight. That wasn’t acceptable to her. Her allegations became increasingly ridiculous. She would say I’d been stalking her when I was in a different state. I was alienated from my children. I had to pay for supervised visits with my own children. Sexual Crimes Detectives arrived at school to investigate. I hit rock bottom. I tried to take my own life. It’s still very raw, hard to talk about. My life was ruined."
Scott is a dad in his 50's living in ACT. The following is a true story in Scotts own words. Identifying details have been altered/removed.
“I met my wife in [removed]. It was young love and it was great.
I had a high profile corporate, well-paid job at that time. She came from a very wealthy family.
I didn’t think about it then, but she was certainly accustomed to a certain lifestyle.
We moved in together, married and had two children, one daughter and one son.
While we were holidaying there was a shuffle in management and, although initially promoted, I ultimately lost my job.
I was reeling and really struggling at that time.
It was then that my wife alleged I’d mistreated our son. He was only a couple of years old. I adored him.
I’d taken him to the park, when we got home there was a police car parked in our driveway.
I immediately feared the worst and thought something had happened to my wife. I raced into the house. She was vacuuming. I said, “There are police here.”
“They’re here to speak to you,” she replied calmly.
The previous night when I was getting my son ready for bed, he’d kicked me while I was putting on his pyjamas. I tapped him and said, “Hey, don’t do that to Daddy”.
She had visited the police station to allege I’d assaulted our child.
I moved into the guestroom.
The whole experience was so incredibly hurtful.
When she tried to talk to me, I said, “Don’t talk to me, it’s over”.
The following day I started ringing around the very best family lawyers.
When you ring a family law firm, they have to check there’s no conflict of interest and they haven’t dealt with your partner.
She had already spoken to all of the top tier law firms. Not one, not two, but all of them.
For the first time, I realised she’d been planning this for some time.
The following Friday, I was meant to pick up our children from day care.
When I arrived, she had arrived earlier and taken the children. She abducted our children.
I had a message from my child saying they were okay and where they were.
I was emotionally drained by the time I got home and climbed into bed around 6pm.
Shortly afterwards the police turned up. They said an allegation of family violence had been made against me and I had to go to the police station.
I said I’d need to get dressed. They followed. I was bundled into the back of a paddy wagon in front of all of my neighbours.
I’d gone from earning a big corporate salary to nothing overnight. That wasn’t acceptable to her.
Her allegations became increasingly ridiculous. She would say I’d been stalking her when I was in a different state.
I spent everything I had in courts trying to defend claim after claim.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars, it’s all gone.
Once I was gardening at my own home. The police arrived saying they’d had a report of trespassing.
She made complaints that I’d been threatening after she’d heard the children speaking to me on the phone.
It was crazy.
She started trying to backdate physical abuse, which had never happened.
I was served with an interim [DV intervention order] and, on legal advice, foolishly I accepted the terms on an ‘without admissions’ basis.
The female judge made it clear she believed men were abusers and women were victims.
Of course, it was all part of her plan. Keeping these police matters rolling meant they had to be questioned in Family Court too, which was running concurrently.
I was alienated from my children.
I’ve been told by legal professionals and retired senior politicians they’ve seen this happen to men before.
They all know the system is broken.
I had to pay for supervised visits with my own children.
When I took them to the toilet, someone came with me.
The fear and mistrust towards me was being pushed onto my children.
I lived in pain for years.
She even said my daughter had shown “heightened sexualised behaviour”, implying I’d sexually assaulted her.
Sexual Crimes Detectives arrived at her school to investigate.
I was beside myself.
I hit rock bottom.
I tried to take my own life.
It’s still very raw, hard to talk about.
I should never have represented myself in legal matters and I shouldn’t have accepted the terms. But when you’re in it, you are mentally broken. I didn’t have the experience or mental energy to fight. It was horrendous.
My life was ruined.
When I was living it, I was drowning.
This is why peer-support is so important.
There are people out there who’ve been through it, they know what you’re likely to face and they can help you through it.”