DOMESTIC ABUSE AGAINST MEN
Domestic violence against men is a topic that is topic that is easily ignored by most people. In society, the role of men is classically that of the provider, the enforcer, the protection of their women and families. There are however, many men who suffer in silence. 40 of every 100 men face abuse from female abusers. Most of them are too ashamed to seek help. Today we will explore various dynamics of domestic violence against men and how they can begin to rise above the stigma of living as a victimized man. Although this article focuses heavily on abuse by females against males, it is intended to provide help for all couple sets. These tips and resources will teach you how to “respond responsibly, not react recklessly.” At the end of this article you will find a listing of helpful international resources to help both partners of the abusive relationship.
RECOGNIZING THE SIGNS OF ABUSE
Most abuse in relationships sneaks in as isolated occurrences after which the offender emphatically apologizes. You may be showered with extra attention, surprise gifts and more frequent or improved sex for a short span of time and then WHAM! it happens again. This is the beginning of a pattern that worsens the longer you tell yourself it was just a mistake. If these behaviors occur in 6 months or less into a relationship, GET OUT! you can do bad…all by yourself!
Verbal Abuse and Mental Abuse
This form of abuse may begin in isolated incidents. Yelling, name calling each other bad names, and heavy use of profanity is common during an argument, right? No! While arguing can raise emotions to a boiling pitch, it does not give either of you the right to purposefully try to degrade the emotional esteem of your loved one. Terms like “stupid” “ugly” “dumb” “worthless” “broke” and “fat” are aimed by your abuser to lower your levels of self-esteem. Being yelled at in public is an act of humiliation where your abuser seeks to draw attention from by-standers in the hopes that they will laugh or join in the abuse. It is the abusers attempt to show that they control you and gives the appearance that you cannot function, or conduct yourself properly without them thinking or acting on your behalf.
Controlling Or Dominant Partners
A partner who seems eager to do everything for you may not be honest in doing so. They may have control issues or anger management issues, and the more they “take care of you”,… the more they establish feelings that you “belong” to them or “owe” them for their attention. See how the person reacts when you want to do something on your own. It may be going out socially, or simply spending time with family or friends. An controlling, abusive personality will say things to discourage you from these things or insist that they go with you. They may accuse you of cheating or not appreciating that they want to spend time with you. They may say your friends, family or co-workers are jealous of your relationship and want to turn you against them. If you cannot get your partner to understand that a happy you makes for a happy relationship, then tell them at the first signs of this behavior that you will have to reexamine the dynamics of your relationship. Your loving understands that while you are happy to have them as an important part of your life, these are things you enjoyed before the relationship and that your happiness plays a big role in the positive growth of a relationship
What It Does
This type of behavior is an attack on your mentality. It is meant to embarrass you and make you feel that you are constantly doing the wrong thing. Your abuser wants you to feel that you are not able to satisfy them or that they deserve better. It leads to questioning of yourself as a good person. It leads to depression and self-hatred. In extreme cases, it leads to drug abuse, the abuse of others around you, and at its worst, attempts at suicide.
What To Do About It
In situations, whether in public or not, it is a good idea to diffuse the situation by remaining calm. If in public, you can simply shake your head in disapproval and walk away. This draws public focus to the poor behavior of the abuser. You may even find a few people that will speak up on your behalf and chastise your abuser.
Don’t be afraid to respond in level tones. Tell your partner that they look silly throwing childish tantrums. In private, find a peaceful place to retreat to. Listening to music with head phones is a great distraction and shows the abuser that you have no further interest in their tirade. Tell them you’ll be taking a short walk. This gives both of you a chance to center yourselves and opens room for better conducted discussions.
Call the person (texting does not convey human emotion well) to get a sense of their emotional state. If they begin yelling, tell them you will hang up and call them back in 10 minutes. Repeat this, increasing 5 more minutes between callbacks each time until your abuser understands that you won’t budge. In your brief conversation, firmly refuse to speak with them again until they have calmed down. Let them know that if they cannot speak without yelling, cursing or name calling that you will ignore them or walk out until they have stabilized themselves.
When together, sit at a reasonable distance for discussion. For example, at opposite sides of a table. If the person begins to yell point out that they are close enough for regular conversation, or firmly and calmly remind them you are getting ready to walk away. Ask open ended questions like “You yell, curse, call me names because…?” Ask “If a stranger treated you this way you would…?” This should get your abuser to talking and more importantly thinking of how unfair and unwelcome their behavior is and why they do these things.
If communication can’t be established seek local support. Share with a religious leader, friends or family that your abuser respects. This will not only shame them but open the door for them to receive help.
You are physically abused if you have ever experienced any of the following:
- If your partner has ever, punched, choked, slapped, kicked, pinched or bitten you, twisted your arm, bent your fingers back
- If they have ever thrown hot food or liquids, burned you with lit cigarettes, cigars, heated metal objects, placed or forced you to place any part of your body close to an open flame or any source of intense heat
- If they have forced you to consume or drink anything until you vomit or prevented you from eating regularly
- If you are not allowed to bathe, forced to sit in water of extreme temperatures, or use the bathroom as necessary
- If objects are forced into your skin or any body cavity
- If things have been thrown to hit you, or you have been beaten with bats, sticks or objects
- If you have been tied up, gagged or restrained from free movement against your will
- If you are forced to have sex or perform sex acts on others involuntarily
- If you have been cut, stabbed, been forced to hold your breath under water, burned, or pierced with objects
- If you ever required medical treatment and was prevented or denied help
These are just a few examples of abuse with an immediate need for help to save your life or that of someone you know.
What It Does
These type of attacks are usually spawned by anger or control issues on behalf of the aggressor. It affects your health on all levels. Mentally, you become frightened, nervous, withdrawn and depressed. Physically you may lose sleep, have irregular weight, and may live in constant pain from the bruises of your abuse. Your hair may fall out, You may severely need medical care. You can find focusing on simple tasks very difficult as you take extra care not to draw attention to yourself. It makes you isolate yourself from fear that someone will see your bruises or find out whats going on at home. It tears down who you really are as a person and lends feelings of hopelessness. It can lead to abuse of others around you, abuse of drugs and alcohol and in severe cases suicide attempts.
What To Do About It
If you feel afraid try to initiate the help of a trusted neighbor who will agree to contact the authorities if the hear or see signs of violence. Talk to a respected spiritual leader, your physician, trusted family, friends or even co-workers. Many employers will try to help you, especially if you have been in their employ for some time.
When Privacy Is An Issue
This next part is very crucial to the success of receiving help, especially for men or those whose partners come off as the very best of citizens to the public eye
Keep a hidden diary of events, perhaps even in a password protected computer file or hide-able flash drive that can hold your password protected file. Add pictures of bruises or signs of other abuse as often as you can . If your abuser has access to the computer, or controls internet access, it is safer to use a friend’s or go to your local library to use one. This is the safest way to avoid any spy software that could have been installed on personal computers. Clear your web browser history whenever possible, but only if it is something you’ve done before from time to time. Changes in your normal pattern of behavior will send alerts to your abuser. Here is more detailed internet safety information from NNEDV, I conclude this article with links to this information and other resources from them.
- If you think your activities are being monitored, they probably are. Abusive people are often controlling and want to know your every move. You don’t need to be a computer programmer or have special skills to monitor someone’s computer and Internet activities – anyone can do it and there are many ways to monitor with programs like Spyware, keystroke loggers and hacking tools.
- It is not possible to delete or clear all the “footprints” of your computer or online activities. If you are being monitored, it may be dangerous to change your computer behaviors such as suddenly deleting your entire Internet history if that is not your regular habit.
- If you think you may be monitored on your home computer, be careful how you use your computer since an abuser might become suspicious. You may want to keep using the monitored computer for innocuous activities, like looking up the weather. Use a safer computer to research an escape plan, look for new jobs or apartments, bus tickets, or ask for help.
- Email and Instant/Text Messaging (IM) are not safe or confidential ways to talk to someone about the danger or abuse in your life. If possible, please call a hotline instead. If you use email or IM, please use a safer computer and an account your abuser does not know about.
- Computers can store a lot of private information about what you look at via the Internet, the emails and instant messages you send, internet-based phone and IP-TTY calls you make, web-based purchases and banking, and many other activities.
- It might be safer to use a computer in a public library, at a trusted friend’s house, or an Internet Café.
If you have at least 3 dated incidences, law enforcement will have a smoother time verifying your story against the other person’s who will no doubt claim they were acting in self defense. Many times a man is ignored in his complaint as he is stronger, or physically larger than his female abuser. The more evidence of the abuse you have the stronger your resulting help will be.
If You Fear Extreme Harm From Your Abuser
You may be forced to leave as quickly as possible. You may want to keep a “ready bag” at a friend or relatives house. Pack your “ready-bag” with:
- Your personal documents and a spare key so you can return with help to retrieve additional property when the abuser is not present
- At least 2 full sets of clothing
- Pack 1 set for warm days (short sleeve shirt, zippered hoodie jacket, Jeans, 2 sets of underwear)
- Pack a set for cooler weather (long sleeve shirt, jeans 2 pair of socks, underwear) 1 set of athletic shoes can function for both temperatures
- Add a few basic grooming supplies; deodorant, toothpaste and toothbrush, comb or brush, small pack of wet wipes, a few packs of pocket tissues and for ladies of course, feminine supplies.
Leave as quickly or quietly as you can and get to a trusted relative, friend or neighbors house. Do not worry over any material things you will have to leave behind, no matter how sentimental their value to you. Material items can be replaced while there is only ONE you!
Call law enforcement immediately if you can not get there. This does not make you a punk! It proves that you are a survivor! Your tormentor will most likely attempt to call or come to where they believe you may have gone. DO NOT speak to or be seen by your abuser at all no matter how many times they beg, threaten or apolo-lie . That is not a typo, Your abuser will apolo-lie to set you at ease knowing that you are dependent on,or have a strong emotional attachment to them. They may continue to berate you, threaten you or even the safety of someone you care for. Call and alert the person and report the threat to law enforcement.
Above all, know that you are safer in a new environment as it is unfamiliar ground for your abuser as well. Don’t be afraid to accept all forms of help including relocation and counseling. This is all part of the process of saving your life and opening the door to a more stable and peaceful existence.
The video below shows brief examples of various types of abuse
MENWEB – listing of international help resources for both partners of all sexual orientations
DAHMW.org – a national hotline resource for men and women victims of abuse in the USA
National Network to End Domestic Violence – Additional NNEDV Resources NNEDV is an advisor to FaceBook on internet security. NNEDV offers advice and resources for help. I have included their internet safety tips in this article
Finally, this article was put together from
the survivor experiences
and wisdom of the Goddess Shay