Domestic Violence Can Happen to Men Too
Did you know that more than 1 in 4 men in the US will experience rape, violence, and/or stalking by a partner?
It is time that we break the stigma surrounding men and domestic violence.
Millions of men experience abuse at the hands of an intimate partner. However, very few report it as they fear that they will not be taken seriously. They do not speak up as they know that society, as well as friends and family, might mock them or make them feel ashamed. Sociologist Elizabeth Bates explains that society does not recognize that there are men who are victims, not perpetrators. Commenting on men’s hesitation to speak up, Bates claimed:
The way that violence against men is sometimes portrayed on TV or in comedy programs is in the context of humor. So we might laugh at women’s violence towards men, and that does really have an impact. There are a number of things that stop men from seeking help, like the fear that no-one will believe them or take them seriously. And the way it’s portrayed in the media and the way we talk about it can add to that fear.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, speak up.
1. Acknowledge the abuse.
The most important step is to understand that you are being mistreated and abused. Acknowledge that domestic abuse is not limited to physical violence. Taking this further, there are seven major types of abuse: physical, verbal, emotional, mental, sexual, financial and spiritual. Abuse can take any shape or form. If your partner gaslights, bullies, manipulates, controls, or mocks you, they are harmful to your wellbeing. When you are with someone who is toxic, you might feel afraid or threatened by them. If this is the case, acknowledge that you are being abused.
2. Do not retaliate.
When you understand that you are being abused, it is normal to feel angry and betrayed. However, it is important that you do not retaliate. If you retaliate, you put yourself at risk. It is important to note that abusers often provoke their partners with the hopes of eliciting strong and violent reactions from them. If you react violently, they can paint you out to be the abuser and make themselves the victim.
3. Get evidence.
According to Help Guide, it may be helpful to keep a journal of the abuse you have experienced alongside dates, times, and witnesses. More importantly, you must report all incidents of domestic violence to the police. Furthermore, Help Guide notes that “medical personnel aren’t likely to ask if a man is a victim of domestic violence, so it’s up to you to ensure that the cause of your injuries are documented.”
4. Confide in someone.
If you can, confide in a trusted friend or family member. You need to understand that you are not alone and that there are people who love you. In addition to this, your friends and family can help protect you by letting you stay at their house when you do not feel safe at home.
Leaving an abusive relationship can often seem impossible. This is especially true when your partner threatens to harm you (or your children) if you were to leave. In these cases, it can be helpful to keep an escape bag packed with a phone, evidence of abuse, and other important documents. To be safe, this should be kept outside of your home. In addition to this, consider seeking advice from a domestic violence program that can help protect you from your partner.