The excruciating, deadly silence of domestic abuse in men

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Living with domestic abuse is a lonely place for anyone

We need to think….

Two consecutive posts that could be construed as anti-women, I like to live dangerously!  Seriously though, this one needs to be covered as well, and, of course I’m not anti-women, I live with six and am obviously a woman myself.  I just think the scales may be tipping a little bit in the opposite direction and slightly skew whiff, my take on this subject is designed to get us all thinking, not to make a judgement.

I’ve had the good fortune to have met a huge number of fantastic men in my life, friends, nothing more, but great human beings.  I respect men in the same way I respect women, for our differences, and thank goodness we are different from one another, what a boring world it would be without the two sexes and the hilarious misunderstandings we create!

Stereotypes create barriers 

What concerns me is that men are still being brought up to believe that they have to be the stronger sex, crying isn’t ok and that all abuse consists of men abusing women, never the other way round.  I hate to bust everyone’s bubble, but abuse from women towards men is far more common than anyone could possibly believe, sadly I know far too many men who have suffered all types of abuse at the hands of a woman.

What constitutes abuse?

And let’s just take a moment to clarify the word ‘abuse’, it’s not only physical.  My husband abused me, sometimes physically but most of it was emotional and psychological, it’s now called ‘coercive control’ and is listed legally as being a perfectly valid form of abuse, and as bad, (if not worse) than physical abuse.  I wrote a book called ‘Unravelled’ which is mostly about the coercive control I experienced with Paul and goes a long way towards explaining why I had seven (amazing) children.

So, now you know that I’m referring to all types of abuse, let’s look a little further.  I wonder how much of male abuse is caused by our societal beliefs that ALL men must be control freaks and, because they’re stronger, should be shown that they’re NOT the boss in order to keep them in their place.  Some of this may be down to fear created by childhood experiences, and I recognise that our upbringing will shape who we become, but is it ever right to treat any human being with anything less than the utmost respect?  We’ve all got our own baggage to carry around and, as a race, we need to accept that and be less judgemental of people who don’t fit into our idea of ‘normal’.

Men need to speak out but society makes it so hard

The biggest issue though is that men feel far less able to be open about the abuse they are experiencing, remember, they’ve been brought up to be strong, how can they possibly admit that they’re being abused by a woman?  To make matters worse in some ways, they’ve been brought up to never hit a woman or retaliate, not one of the men I know who have experienced physical abuse have ever struck a woman back, they wouldn’t dream of it.  I know men who have been knocked unconscious, have had their face scarred, broken bones, horrific burns…..the list goes on, but they’ve never fought back.

These men need help in the same way that abused women do, but if they’re too afraid to come forward in the first place, we can’t offer them the help they so badly need.  It’s much the same with a lot of people on the autistic spectrum, especially adults, they daren’t admit their difference for fear of discrimination, our society needs a whole new perspective so that people can come forward and be open about their challenges without the risk of being judged.

It’s a huge ‘Catch 22’

Changing people’s perspectives on so many issues really comes down to awareness, so here’s the ‘catch 22’, people need to come forward and be honest about their status but societal attitudes make them feel unable to do that, we need to break the cycle.  What changes first?  The general attitude towards difficult issues or the courage of those affected to come forward and be honest?  I believe the two need to happen in tandem.

If the people experiencing the challenges feel they are unable to stand up and speak for themselves, the rest of us have to open the subjects up and create the awareness they need in order to feel brave enough to admit what’s going on, and therefore, raise awareness even more.  We need to fight for people who feel or are unable to fight for themselves.

Let all of us that are able to, pick up the sword and fight for those who need help so that they may gain the strength to fight for others.  After all ‘A RISING TIDE RAISES ALL SHIPS’, as we build others, so we build ourselves and the good multiplies.  Just common sense really!

 

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