Domestic violence is a problem that affects both men and women. Although society and media focus public attention on domestic abuse cases with female victims, there are still thousands of male victims who are also abused, yet are left to suffer silently in the shadows. According to a survey by ManKind Initiative, there is one male victim of domestic abuse for every two female victims. Highlighting these statistics is not meant to downplay in any way domestic violence among women. It is, however, intended to add to the growing conversation that anyone can be the victim of domestic abuse and everyone who needs protection deserves access to it.
The Embarrassing Truth
Victims of domestic violence often do not endure the reporting process. This is true for men as well as women, though the reasons behind the hesitation are different. While many women are afraid for their lives or caught in psychological pathologies that justify their abuse, men are just as often driven by keen feelings of embarrassment.
The portrayals of masculinity in media and advertising would have the world believe that “real men” are incapable of being victims, particularly victims of women. These role portrayals are dangerous because they lead to traumatic worries about what friends, family or neighbors might think if they learned the victim was being “beat up by a woman.”
All abuse is about one partner taking as near to complete power and control over their partner as possible. Fear of public ridicule can force a victim to remain silent and endure their abuse. In addition, abusive women can and do manipulate the system to their advantage. This can forced victimized partners into helpless positions with no foreseeable escape.
How Men Can Be Abused
The forms of abuse men endure are identical to those of women. These attacks can be verbal, emotional, physical, or financial in origin. Specific abusive acts have included threats with weapons, furious scratching, flushed medications, withheld affection, and other actions intended to physically or emotionally compromise the victim. Furthermore, the abusive partner can branch out to include children or pets as tools in their cruelty.
First of all, an awareness of the abuse is important. Oftentimes a victim will make excuses for a partner’s bad behavior. In the end, ending the abuse is critical to a healthy outcome. This can require many steps.
Victims are encouraged to thoroughly document the abusive incidents. If there are doctor visits due to physical injury, documenting that injury’s source is vital. Having arguments in rooms with multiple exits prevents an abusive spouse from blocking the only way out and forcing a physical confrontation. Work with domestic violence program advocates to get legal aid, such as restraining orders or advice for further legal action. Finally, victims should pursue counseling to begin the recovery process as soon as possible.