The statistics for domestic violence are sad. 1 in 4 women will “experience severe intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner contact sexual violence, and/or intimate partner stalking with impacts such as injury, fearfulness, post-traumatic stress disorder, use of victim services, contraction of sexually transmitted diseases, etc.”
These women often feel voiceless and powerless to escape their situations. Domestic violence is not something we generally feel comfortable talking about as a society.
And yet, even a more hidden and shameful subject are male victims of domestic violence.
1 in 9 men will experience domestic violence by the same definition above. Men who are victimized in this way can have an even harder time gaining the support they need to get out of these situations.
Here are some common barriers:
-Men feel (and are often right) that others will not believe them.
-Men feel that others will blame them for their situation.
-Services meant to protect victims of domestic violence are usually geared toward females and are most often referred to as “Womens’ shelters.”
There is a common sentiment that a man should be strong enough physically, emotionally and financially to leave an abusive relationship. However this line of thought ignores the relational, social and psychological needs that men and women share regardless of gender.
If you are a man that is suffering in a domestic violence situation, please know that there are people who will believe you and help you. Below are some tips and suggestions if you find yourself in this unfortunate circumstance.
Never retaliate. If you find yourself in a situation where your safety is compromised, it is better to get away than to fight back. You don’t want to be accused of domestic violence yourself. If at all possible, leave the home or whatever environment the abuse is happening in. Try to document abuse with whatever means necessary- taking pictures, using a recording device or keeping a log of specific incidents. Call a domestic violence shelter or reach out to family and/or friends who can support you. There is no shame in admitting that you are in danger. Contact a lawyer about a possible protective order or temporary custody of your children.
Reach out to the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition. They can help connect you to resources. Their number is 1-800-897-LINK (5465) and is available for use 24/7. If you or your children are in immediate danger call 911.
Remember, being a man does not make you immune to these kinds of challenges and relationships. Never put up with abuse because you are afraid of speaking up. If your first effort to get help doesn’t work, then keep reaching out for help until you find someone who is willing and educated about the seriousness of male domestic violence.