Picture an abuser and there victim. What do they look like? How old are they? How are they related? All though these three questions may make your image different to someone else's, there is probably one similarity. The abuser is male and the victim is female.
I understand why this is the case. The majority of abuse victims in domestic violence are women (81% women and 19% men). However, is this the case? Even in today's day and age there is a stigma around men reporting their abuse. Women are encouraged, and rightfully so, to seek out help and support. On the other hand, men feel pressure against speaking up from fear of society perceiving them as weak and unmanly.
Abuse PSA advertisements usually always depict a man abusing a women. Until today I had never seen one of a woman being abusive towards her husband (the advert). Some argue that adverts depicting the man as the victim are unneeded as the chances are it won't happen to them. However, once again, is this the case? Many countries have no data at all on male abuse victims and no one is really sure how many men have been victims of abuse. A number of researchers believe the number is far greater than law enforcement statistics suggest due to the high number of men who end up not reporting their abuse.
In fact, when a male victim does find the courage to speak up and call the police it can end badly. In the 1985 U.S. National Family Violence Survey, carried out on a nationally representative sample of 41 houses (24 female callers and 17 male callers) , the following data was collected:
• When a woman called,
- The man was ordered to leave the house 41.4% of the time.
- The man was threatened with immediate arrest in 28.2% of cases.
- The man was threatened with arrest at a later date in 10.7% of cases.
- The man was arrested in 15.2% of cases.
• When a man called,
- The woman was ordered out of the house in 0% of cases
- The woman was threatened with immediate arrest in 0% of cases
- The woman was threatened with arrest at a later date in 0% of cases
- The woman was arrested in 0% of cases.
- The man himself was arrested in 12.1% of the cases.
Society today seems to have normalised women's abusive behaviour towards men. Every time I go onto my Instagram, you can guarantee you will see a post about a girl forcing her boyfriend to tell her his phone password. Countless amounts of manipulative and controlling behaviour are now normalised as a simple joke. Some of you may recall the episode of Jeremy Kyle in which a man was laughed at by the audience for jumping out of a three storey building, causing him to be hospitalised because his abusive girlfriend locked him in. Although Jeremy Kyle isn't the most reliable of sources, it is still horrific that people laughed at a man who could've died, all because of his abusers terrible actions.
My English teacher, I'll call him Mr. Q, once told my class a story. His friend, lets call him Bob, once met up with him in a pub. Bob had a big cut on his eyebrow; another random injury that had been appearing over the last few months. Mr Q. questioned him on it, as any friend would who was worried. Bob told him how his wife had been on the train home when she saw a pretty girl sat opposite her. She came home in a rage, shouting and screaming before punching Bob on the temple, gashing his head with her ring. The reason she attacked him was because she believed that, if Bob had been sat on the train with her, he would have thought the girl was attractive. She punched him
for an assumption; for nothing.
All the boys in the class stared in shock whilst the majority of the girls laughed at the story. My friends and I surveyed the class in disbelief. Mr Q ended the story, saying how he did nothing as he didn't want to get involved. My female classmates moved on with their work whereas my male classmates exchanged worried glances.
That is the most recent of my many experiences with seeing violence against men normalised.
Although there aren't many, men need to know that there are places they can go for help. If you believe someone you know is in this predicament, reach out to them. It will be tricky, especially with societies mocking laugh nagging in the back of their mind, but it is a vital step.
Whether it be physical, verbal, emotional, or financial abuse men also need to be helped.
This article has been a PSA, as there seems to be a startling lack of them in the media.
• ManKind Initiative
• Men's Advice Line
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers worldwide with an online platform to share their own experiences to be able to help, inform and educate others on a variety of different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all young people. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.