Please be aware of the details of the abuse that follows is distressing to read.
Jordan Worth the ex-partner of Alex Skeel is the first woman to be jailed for coercive and controlling behavior in the UK.
The most recent figures from the Crime Survey for England and Wales show that year ending March 2018, an estimated two million adults aged 16-59 years had experienced domestic abuse in the last year – of that number, over one-third were estimated to be men.
It’s also estimated that one in five teenagers have been physically abused by their girlfriend or boyfriend.
It’s happening to men much more than most people are aware of.
Police in England and Wales have recorded almost 150,000 incidents of domestic abuse against men in 2017 – more than double the number reported in 2012.
According to one charity, fewer than 1% of domestic abuse refuge beds in England are allocated to men, with none at all in London.
BBC Three and Century Films worked with Alex to make a show to raise awareness of Domestic Violence against men by their partners, Alex is passionate about fighting the stigma surrounding this.
Alex is a quietly spoken man, he has the look that is all too familiar with those that have survived domestic violence.
I watched the TV show and I will admit that I was sobbing at some scenes as to the horror this man went through at the hands of Jordan.
Alex is the father of two beautiful children and like any parent in the domestic violence situation he feared if he left that the abuse could be turned on his children, so he stayed, he protected his children and suffered such horrific abuse.
Jordan and Alex were both 16 when they met at college, Jordan did well and went on to go to the University of Hertfordshire to study fine art, Jordan planned on becoming a teacher.
Initially, the relationship progressed normally, spending time together, making plans, going to the movies, even a show in London, which was the first indication all was not right with Jordan.
Alex’s parents paid for everyone to go to see the Lion King show, Jordan simply disappeared, and everyone was looking for her, she was finally found in reception and instead of giving a reasonable explanation and apologising for her absence she just laughed, as Alex said; ‘It was her way of making me panic and worry about her.’
Before Alex really knew what was going on Jordan had made moves to completely isolate him from his family and friends, she even took over his Facebook account – a classic tactic of domestic abuse. Alex said in one scene he literally felt he had nobody to turn to.
Jordan stopped Alex from wearing any clothing that was the color gray, changed his hairstyle to what she said it should be. She took away his play station, his phone, she made him give up his job and he had to attend the University with her so she could watch him 24/7.
The mind games worsened. Jordan told Alex his beloved grandad was dead. He spent two hours sobbing before she said that she had lied.
On one occasion, during a trip to Winter Wonderland, Jordan forced Alex to consume an entire pack of sleeping pills — and he has no idea how he got home.
Alex openly admits in the show that there were good times with Jordan when they were happy and laughed together, he really wanted the relationship to work, he loved her, he just wasn’t in any way prepared for the nightmare that was to come.
Alex endured 18 months of mental abuse from Jordan, she was relentless in breaking him down, destroying his self-confidence until there was nothing left, she wasn’t satisfied with that, once the mental abuse could no longer give her satisfaction, the physical abuse began.
Jordan began to sleep with a glass bottle next to her, she would wake up at random times in the night and accuse Alex of messaging girls, talking to them, all lies as she had taken away all his forms of contact, she would then wait for Alex to fall back to sleep and hit him with the bottle.
Alex states; ‘After a while it didn’t hurt anymore, I got used to the pain.’
Once Jordan realized he wasn’t in pain she changed items, the next was a hammer, then a laptop charger wrapped around her wrist with the plug end as the weapon, she took a full swing and hit Alex over the head, blood was pouring from his injuries and as he begged her to help him she turned laughing and walked up the stairs and said; “Why don’t you just go and die? No one cares about you.”
Jordan then moved onto knives, she would slash Alex, one time she narrowly missed a major artery.
When that didn’t give her enough satisfaction, she moved on to boiling water and that was to lead to the turning point in Alex’s life.
The level after boiling water would have been death.
Alex said; ‘I’ll never forget the moment that my girlfriend Jordan, first poured scalding water over me. She’d backed me into the corner of a room in the home we shared in Bedfordshire, holding a boiling kettle. We’d been together for three years, and what had started with small things – her telling me not to wear the colour grey or that she didn’t like my hairstyle – had turned into a nine-month campaign of physical abuse. I was very scared of her.
I can still see that first tiny drop of water falling onto my skin. It all happened in slow motion. Afterwards, my skin was curdling. The pain was like nothing I’d ever experienced. I begged her to let me get in a bath filled with cold water – it was the only thing I could think of that would stop the burning. She allowed me to get in, and the relief was instant. You can’t imagine how incredible it feels to sink your body into freezing water after that. It’s the nicest feeling in the world. Then she told me I had to get out – or she’d do it all over again.
If I started moaning, saying that it hurt, she’d say, “Get back in the bath, then.” Then she’d do exactly the same thing and make me get out. It was all about the mind games with her. She wanted control over all aspects of my life. I remember lying in the bath with no clothes on. It looked like I was in an oven, cooking. My skin was peeling off. It was absolutely horrible.
Alex admits he was scared of Jordan and what she could possibly do next to him. He was sure if he said anything to anyone asking for help, she would kill him.
Alex had numerous visits to the local hospital to be stitched up, burns cleaned and treated, he made up excuses for every injury, doctors and nurses are no fools, but unless you ask for help there is very little they can do, they do keep records and make police aware, but as with everything there is the burden of proof.
Neighbors had at times called the police due to the fights in the family home, Alex would lie to the attending officers and as he says; ‘It wasn’t nice, but I did it to save my life’
When Alex had blackeyes Jordan would put her makeup on him to cover what she had done.
Jordan then began denying Alex food, and with anyone who doesn’t eat weight loss occurs in Alex’s case he lost over 70 pounds in weight.
Alex’s body began to break down, injuries started not to heal.
Things came to a head due to an extra vigilant officer who had been called to the family home. He had arranged for Alex to be taken to hospital for his injuries, Alex needed surgery, Jordan wouldn’t let him have the operation. Despite the doctors begging him to stay, he left and went home with Jordan.
The attending police officer tried to make contact with Alex for 2 days, then a call came through from a neighbor to the police and the officer drove at high speed to the home.
What met him was a bloody sight, Alex absolutely soaked in blood, the bathroom covered in blood and Jordan claiming Alex had self-harmed, on the bathroom floor was a large serrated knife covered in blood.
Alex was taken to a room on his own with the officers and they asked him what had occurred, but Jordan interrupted by claiming she needed to change the baby, so the officer took Alex outside, turned off his bodycam and said; ‘Tell me everything I can help.’
Alex told him everything and Jordan was arrested, Alex was taken to hospital and the doctors stated for the record after examining him and starting emergency treatment that Alex was 10 days away from death.
Alex said in the show; ‘If the police hadn’t intervened at that precise moment, I’d be in the ground. There’s no doubt about it. I was fortunate enough – I say fortunate – that I had so many injuries and the evidence was really strong, so it tied everything together, which helped put her away.
Jordan’s motivation, I think, was pure jealousy. I’d been very close to my family, and had brilliant friends, and she distanced me from all that. She took me away from everything I ever had. I remember once she said to me, “I want to ruin your life.”
Jordan never once apologized for what she had done to Alex, in the show they show you some of her interviews and she is a cold-hearted woman, no emotion, wondering when the interview will be over so she can home.
Jordan pleaded guilty at court thinking she would be given a lighter sentence.
Alex was initially placed in a hotel for safety after leaving the hospital, on route to the hospital the police officer asked if he would like a McDonalds, Alex said it was the first hot food he had eaten in a long time, he said; ‘That McDonald’s was amazing to me.’
Alex finally went home to his parents who had been frantic with worry for him, but due to Jordan isolating him they had not been in contact. The shock seeing Alex broke their hearts, in the show you see his mother sobbing at what Alex had endured.
Alex’s children since Jordan’s arrest had been cared for by Jordan’s parents’ steps were taken and within 5 days the children were with their father and Alex’s parents met their granddaughter for the first time, they had been allowed limited contact with Alex’s son previously until Jordan cut off all contact.
Jordan was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison in April 2018.
Jordan admitted to controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate relationship, wounding with intent and causing grievous bodily harm.
Alex said; ‘He believes justice has been done.’
But when you hear him say; ‘As soon as I knew she was in that van on her way to prison, for the first time in five years, I could look over my shoulder and not have a single worry cross my mind.’ Your heart can’t help but bleed a little for such a strong courageous man.
Abused By My Girlfriend is available to watch on BBC Three iPlayer.