I know, that’s a super cheerful title, huh? Sarcasm aside, I really do think this is an important topic. Well, I guess you can kind of tell that, the whole crux of the plot of my first book was a daughter dealing with parents that involved a female abuser married to her male victim. Because of that, I ended up doing a lot of research on adult men in abusive relationships like the character suffered through, and I found that it’s actually a very common (though silent) problem.
It’s not a very fun thing to think about, but sometimes I like to read about things that are important too, and I think my readers feel the same way.
According to the CDC (as reported by Huffington Post), one male is the victim of domestic abuse every 37.8 seconds. And they aren’t the only ones who think it’s a problem. So if it’s one in four American men being abused at least once in their lifetime, what about the rest of the world? The Guardian reports that 40% of all domestic abuse victims in the UK are men- and that’s not including underage boys in their teens, just full grown being abused by their spouse, partner, or other person they are living with. The Toronto Sun goes so far to say that “Domestic violence against men is frequent and significant, and a rarely acknowledged fact.” And there’s Australia, where the campaign One in Three for male abuse victims claims as many as one in three Aussie men are victims of abuse.
Probably the most disturbing reality of male abuse victims is that most of us haven’t heard of them. You probably can’t name a male abuse victim safe house in your state, or even your whole country, while shelters and safehouses abound for women who have suffered the same life threatening fear and abuse. Male abuse victims can be maimed by revenge acid attacks, and beatings, and castrations, and even rape or murder- all of it not because they have done any crime or wrongdoing but because they started a relationship with an abusive terrible human and now that they’ve become a target. It’s not so easy for any abuse victim to leave their abuser.
If you follow discussion boards online set up for abuse victims you may hear stories of men wanting to leave, but their girlfriend or wife or stalker threatened to call the police and claim the abused victim was actually the one doing the same things, and when faced with the chance of going to jail for something they are innocent of doing they have another incentive to stay and continue to be a punching bag.
It’s also easy for anyone to say that if a man is getting beaten up or otherwise hurt by their partner then they should defend themselves. If you think about it though, if the victim can be charged for assault for just standing there and taking the abuse and attacks, they definitely can be charged for protecting themselves or fighting back.
It’s a hard topic to talk about. I’ll leave out links to more graphic resources, but if it’s a topic that’s of interest to you there’s plenty more material you can dive into to learn more about male domestic abuse victims. In the meantime though, if I can leave you with only one sentence on the topic it would be this, “When we talk about domestic abuse, please remember to categorize abusers as abusers and victims as victims instead of painting it as men are always the abusers and women are only ever the victims.”
Now if you or someone you know is suffering from abuse, keep in mind that there are resources out there for any gender or sexuality of victim: emotional support, and even financial support, is out there for you.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go watch puppies and kittens online now. I’ve had enough of reading and writing about abusive situations for now.