The Other Side of the Fist

October 6, 2013 9:42 pm

A hurtful comment… a threatening gesture… a shove… a slap in the face… a punch in the stomach… a trip down the stairs… a knife in the throat. Who is the perpetrator? A stranger…an associate… the local thug… your husband… No it’s your wife!

Domestic abuse against men is a prominent issue within our society today, but why is it being continuously overlooked, ignored and even sneered at.
It is clear that more should be done to raise the profile of the problem. Much has been done for the profile of male upon female domestic violence since the dreary days of legal marital rape and the misogynist mind-set that husband’s home is his castle and his wives place is to clean it. Many people are now familiar with the statistics that one in four women will become a victim at some point in their lifetime. Many workers are sent on ‘safeguarding’ courses to spot the signs, and let’s face it we all hover a little closer to the phone every time the wife next door burns the roast… just in case. But how seriously do we really take it when it’s the husband getting a torrent of abuse for forgetting to pick up his socks and do we really apply those same safeguarding lessons to the men we come across as we do the women. Most people would be surprised to hear the statistics for male victims is almost as high as females, that being one in six men WILL become the victim of domestic abuse. Male victims

According to the government website ‘Mankind’ the definition of domestic abuse is: “Any incident or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (physical, physiological, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or are family members, regardless of gender or sexuality. So if one in every six males in Britain will face this kind of abuse why is more not being done about it? One issue could be the way it’s portrayed by today’s media, male victims just are not taken seriously and are often the subject of cartoons and jokes about hen-pecked husbands. And that isn’t the only issue, we think it is perfectly acceptable for a woman to slap a man around the face and this kind of scene is shown again and again in television and film. Everybody loves a fiery woman don’t they?

What makes this situation so much worse is that, not only are the men in our society being let down by the media, but if they do find the courage to make a stand and report their abuse, they are, more often than not, finding a lack of acceptable support. Men who make contact with domestic violence helplines can find themselves being referred to services aimed at perpetrators simply because there are so few services providing for male victims.
So what is the answer? While the support out there is limited, there is some. Mankind website offers lots of advice on what to do and there are also helplines such as DVIRP and The Adam Project. But, the most important weapon we have available to us is to keep on trying to make people understand the gravity of the situation. It was the awareness campaigns of the 70s regarding domestic violence against women that has led to so much support being available to them today. So in turn it stands to reason that it might be hoped raising awareness about male victims could also go some way to reducing the problem.

This weeks see’s the return of the Peace One Day campaign so let’s all take a step closer to peace at home and make it our aim to listen a little bit more, open our eyes a little wider and most of all understand that it may not be just the wife next-door that we need to worry about.

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