Every thirty-seven seconds, a man is abused.
Most people think of domestic violence as something that only happens to women, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Domestic affects everyone: men, women, and children. Yet, we have we never heard of domestic violence against men. The reality is, most men do not feel comfortable admitting that they are being abused. As a society, we have already taken a huge leap forward by getting women to speak up about domestic violence, yet we do not think about the men who are in the same regrettable situation.
It is estimated that about 40% of all domestic violence victims are men. However, it is rarely ever reported; it would be a disgrace for many men to speak up. People also do not believe that a man can be abused, since, in our society, men are viewed as strong and powerful. Usually, if people see a man with a bruise or black eye, they think that they got into a fight with another man, while if it were a woman, they would be concerned. Domestic violence goes both ways, but it is rarely advertised as such.
Why don’t we ever think of men as victims of domestic violence?
In the first place, it is a huge breakthrough for women who are victims of domestic violence to report their partners. For millennia, it has always been there but ignored.
As well, our society is more equipped to deal with violence towards women. We have specialists who work with abused women to help them overcome their trauma. However, we are not ready at all to deal with men in the same situation, and much more has to be done in order to get to a state where we can help all victims of domestic abuse.
There is also the physical aspect of abuse: men are usually stronger than women. In other words, men can hurt people more severely, even by accident. However, if a woman tries to hurt a man, due to our size and physical strength, it is not likely that we would not leave lasting physical marks. However, women often use psychological abuse in order to hurt men: using public humiliation, or emotional abuse.
We must also be aware that sometimes domestic abuse happens in homosexual relationships. One partner will abuse the other, but the victim won’t seek help due to the shame, or they simply can’t because homophobia that may follow such a report.
In abusive situations, men can be manipulated to limit their contact with friends and family, therefore making them much more lonely, and less likely to feel comfortable with reporting their abuse, as the man’s entire life revolves around the abusive partner and by reporting them they would lose everything they have.
Most of the time, men cannot leave their family, since they fear what might happen to their children if they do. Most people would not leave their children alone with an abusive partner, not only because of the danger that this poses to the children, but they may also be afraid of never being able to see them again, or that the children may feel abandoned.
At the same time, some men feel that they deserve the abuse they are receiving. Sometimes they think that it is okay for their partner to be abusing them, because of various reasons. They take the blame for events that were not their fault, but they rationalize it to be theirs.
Certain men also fear independence, perhaps because they have been with their partner for their entire lives, and could never imagine living without them. As well, some men feel that they need the support, whether it is economic or mental, that their partner brings to them.
No matter the reason, men who are victims of domestic violence should be heard, and helped. We need to find a way to let men speak up about domestic violence, to let people know that everyone can be abused, regardless of gender.
It must be acknowledged that whether it happens to men or women, domestic abuse is wrong. We should live in a society that understands this, one that does not believe in gender boundaries for violence or abuse, because, the truth is, anyone can be a victim.