Male domestic abuse, it is time to listen!
Male domestic abuse is rarely discussed openly, and it is still perceived as somewhat of a taboo topic today. There may be a temporary uproar about domestic abuse when a current case hits the news however, once that case becomes old news so does the short-lived advocacy that was sparked amongst the public.
However, this serious crime continues regardless of public interest with an estimated 20 people per minute being abused by an intimate partner, with 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced some form of physical abuse by an intimate partner in their lifetime (Ncadv.Org, 2020).
The impact of domestic abuse on victims can be severe with emotional and psychological trauma such as depression, PTSD and anxiety being common amongst survivors in addition to physical illness, substance abuse and death.
Does male domestic abuse really exist?
Although domestic abuse has historically been regarded as a crime committed against women a recent increase in statistics has resulted in a push on awareness of domestic abuse against men with recent figures showing the following;
- 576,000 men (2.5% men) were victims of partner abuse in 2018/19
- In 2017/18, 11% of male victims have considered taking their life due to partner abuse.
- In 2017/18, nearly half of male victims failed to tell anyone about the domestic abuse they were receiving (only 51% tell anyone).
- Male victims are in actual fact three times less likely to seek help than female victims (49% of men fail to tell anyone as opposed to 19% of women) which has worsened since 2015/16 where 61% of men sought help
- In 2018/19 – 16 men were killed at the hands of their current or ex-partner.
(Mankind Org, 2020).
As these statistics show domestic abuse towards males happens far more often than one might expect—in both heterosexual and same-sex relationships – and it happens to men from all walks of life regardless of age or occupation.
However, due to the stigma that surrounds these sensitive issues, men are often more reluctant to report abuse because they feel embarrassed or fear they may not be believed. As a result, men may find that they face a shortage of resources, a lack of understanding or may even feel that they have more legal obstacles in their way.
The most important thing to remember if you are a man suffering from domestic abuse is that you are not alone and there is help out there.
What is classed as domestic abuse?
Many people often do not realise that male domestic abuse does not have to be purely physical, it can take on many other forms such as verbal and emotional abuse too.
As a male partner suffering from abuse, you may be experiencing the following;
- Intentionally belittling or humiliating you in front of friends, colleagues, or family, or on social media.
- Being possessive or jealous, or harassing you with accusations of infidelity.
- Trying to control where you go, who you see and what time you need to be back
- Trying to control your finances and joint bank accounts.
- Making false allegations about you to your friends, employer, or the police. Creating a smear campaign as a way to further manipulate and isolate you.
- Threaten to leave you and prevent you from seeing your kids if you report the abuse. Or threatening to harm themselves if you do try to leave.
What can you do to get help?
The first step to getting help and stopping the abuse is to reach out to someone. Talking to a trusted friend or family member or calling a domestic abuse helpline is always a great way to get the help and support that you may need.
When dealing with an abusive partner it is also helpful to;
- Never retaliate. An abusive partner may try to provoke you into retaliating so staying calm in a domestic abuse situation will help to diffuse the conflict
- Get evidence of the abuse. Keeping a journal of all abuse with a record of times, dates and potential witnesses can help you to build a case against your abuser.
- Keep a mobile phone containing all evidence of the abuse and other documents close at hand in the event that you need to escape the abuse at short notice.
Obtain advice from the following male domestic violence programmes:
We hope that you found this article useful. If you feel you or someone close to you may be experiencing any of the issues discussed, then please get in touch with My Family Psychologist.
We have support tailor-made for adults, teenagers, children, families, and couples so do not hesitate to get in touch to see how we can support you.
Mankind Initiative. Available at https://www.mankind.org.uk/. [Accessed 15th November 2020]
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Available at https://ncadv.org/STATISTICS. [Accessed 15th November 2020]