The Invisible Victims: Men and abusive relationships

October 29, 2017
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If we asked you to picture a domestic abuser, what do they look like? And, more importantly, what gender are they? Society still follows an outdated narrative of domestic abuse, based on pejorative terms like ‘wife beater’ and ‘battered wife’.

There are two main things wrong with these phrases – they assume that all abuse is violent, and that all victims are women. The dangerous hidden secret that shows how real homophobia still is Because of these regressive ideas about what abuse looks like, male victims of domestic abuse find it harder to access help. Many fear they will be ridiculed or won’t be believed – particularly if they are being abused by a female partner.

If you’re a man in an abusive relationship, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. It happens to men from all cultures and all walks of life. Figures suggest that as many as one in three victims of domestic violence are male. However, men are often reluctant to report abuse by women because they feel embarrassed, or they fear they won’t be believed, or worse, that police will assume that since they’re male they are the perpetrator of the violence and not the victim.

An abusive wife or partner may hit, kick, bite, punch, spit, throw things, or destroy your possessions. To make up for any difference in strength, she may attack you while you’re asleep or otherwise catch you by surprise. She may also use a weapon, such as a gun or knife, or strike you with an object, abuse or threaten your children, or harm your pets. Of course, domestic abuse is not limited to violence.

Your spouse or partner may also:

  • Verbally abuse you, belittle you, or humiliate you in front of friends, colleagues, or family, or on social media sites.
  • Be possessive, act jealous, or harass you with accusations of being unfaithful.
  • Take away your car keys or medications, try to control where you go and who you see.
  • Try to control how you spend money or deliberately default on joint financial obligations.
  • Make false allegations about you to your friends, employer, or the police, or find other ways to manipulate and isolate you.
  • Threaten to leave you and prevent you from seeing your kids if you report the abuse.

 

Many people have trouble understanding why a woman who is being abused by her husband or boyfriend doesn’t simply just leave him. When the roles are reversed, and the man is the victim of the abuse, people are even more bemused. However, anyone who’s been in an abusive relationship knows that it’s never that simple. Ending a relationship, even an abusive one, is rarely easy.

 

Have you experienced this before? Do you know any man who has been in an emotionally abusive relationship? Please tell us what went down in the comment section below.

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