Male Victims of Domestic Violence
Men can be victims too!
Male victims of domestic violence can and are frequently victims of abuse in the home, either at the hands of their female or, in the case of same-sex relationships, their male partner. Abuse is a control issue - abusers believe they have the right to manipulate, control and humilate another person, and this belief is not only held by some men but also by some women.
This page is not questioning statistics, or asking whether more male vicitms of domestic violence than women victims or vice versa. At the end of the day the question is almost inconsequential. We know that there are many men who DO experience Domestic Abuse at some stage in their lives, and whether there are 1000 or 100,000 per year in the UK alone doesn't make any difference to the individual suffering and fear and pain experienced by any one man in an abusive relationship. What is important, is that their suffering is taken seriously, and that support and help is available when needed, regardless of gender.
Many of the effects of abuse for the male victim of domestic violence are the same as for women. They are likely to feel deeply shamed, frightened, experience a loss of self-worth and confidence, feel isolated, guilty and confused about the situation.
A lot of male victims of abuse however, have great difficulty defining it as such. This is partially due to the image our western society generally has of Man. Men are often thought of as strong, domineering and macho. Boys, even at a young age, are taught that it is unmanly to cry ("big boys don't cry"). To many, the idea of a grown man being frightened or vulnerable is a taboo, the idea of a man - usually physically the stronger - of being battered, ludicrous. Hence many male victims of abuse may feel "less of a man" for suffering abuse, feel as though they are in some way not manly enough and ought to have the ability to prevent the abuse.
The reality though is that even if a man is physically attacked by their wives or partners, many men will take a beating rather than hitting back to defend themselves and risk harming their attacker, and even if they do, they are aware that they then risk being accused of being an abuser themselves. But abuse is not always physical, and a lot of men, in common with many women, face daily emotional, verbal and psychological abuse in silence for years, their self-esteem being slowly eroded away, more and more isolated from those around them.
Men can also be victims of sexual abuse. A gay victim may be raped by their partner, suffering all the agonies any other rape victim would. Many men in abusive relationships do not feel in control of their own sex life, their partners may demand or coerce intercourse, may make derisory comments about their manhood or ridicule them in public. Any form of sexual contact which is knowingly without consent can be experienced as sexual abuse - regardless of gender! Many men also experience "sex as a reward for good behaviour" and the opposite of being denied any intimacy if they have (knowingly or not) done something to displease their partners, as being an abusive use of sexuality. In an abusive relationship, sex is often used as another form of manipulating and controlling the other person, whether male or female, and that is abusive.
"I had had sexual intercourse against my will. ... One can say that men cannot be raped due to the probable inability to gain an erection when undergoing that kind of ugly abuse. Whatever the speculative thought process may reveal, I cannot get passed the fact that I did not want to have sex. I think that I have been raped." (Mark)
Quite apart from any other of the myriad of reasons for not leaving (see Why We Stay), many men with children feel trapped in an abusive relationship because they fear that if they leave, they will lose contact with their children. They may also be afraid that their abusive partner will continue to abuse the children if they are gone (especially if this is already the case). They are aware that in most cases, residency is given to the mother, and they are afraid that even if they do disclose the abuse they have suffered in Court, that they will either simply not be believed, or, worse, that their abusive partner will somehow 'turn the tables' on them, and they will be condemned as abusive and have an even harder time gaining any adequate contact, let alone residency of their children.
If you are being abused
If you are a man and are being abused or have recently escaped an abusive relationship, please know that you are not alone. There are many of you out there, and many, like you, feel as though you are the only one to experience this sort of abuse. It is okay to be frightened, confused and hurt. Someone you love, care about and trust has broken that trust, turned against you and hurt you.
You don't have to suffer in silence, there are agencies and people who do care and can offer you help, support and advice. Check out the helplines and links at the bottom of this page which are specifically designed with you in mind. They are there to help you. Just because you are a man does not mean you are impervious to pain!
If you are no longer in the abusive relationship, know that you can 'get over this', but you may find that it still gives you nightmares and makes it difficult establishing a new relationship, learning to open up and trust someone again. It may help to talk to a counsellor about what happened and how you feel.
Please don't worry if you are disbelieved or ridiculed by some of the people you approach. Sadly many people do not want to or cannot (due to their own insecurities) believe that men can and do suffer abuse, remember that it is their personal problem if they don't believe you, not yours. It does not make your experiences any less painful or devastating or valid. Try to disregard their attitude and try someone else. You will find many people who DO take you seriously and can understand what you have suffered.
If you are frightened that your partner will hurt you further, you have the same rights as any other person, whether man or woman, under the law for protection. The same orders to prevent male on female violence are also there to protect you. Insist on your rights to be free from fear and live in safety. In the same way, the Family Courts have a responsibility to take ALL allegations of Domestic Abuse into account when considering residency and contact orders, whether they are against the father or the mother.
And finally, please realise that it is not your fault. You do not deserve to be hit, to be insulted and ridiculed, to be touched intimately if you have asked not to be, to be treated like a doormat, to be threatened, attacked with a weapon, shamed in front of your mates, told what to do when and with whom. You do not deserve to be abused in any way, shape or form.
Some useful links:
MensAid - A UK-based site for dealing with Domestic Violence and child contact issues with an emphasis on men's issues, though an excellent resource site for all concerned.
Hitting Home - the BBC site on Domestic Violence and Abuse. This link will take you straight to the page on male victims of abuse. Check out the Personal Stories page too.
MenWeb - A site for battered or abused men. Very comprehensive with loads of personal stories and articles.
Male Victims of Domestic Violence - A UK-based Domestic Abuse site specifically for male victims and survirors. Includes information on types and effects of abuse, coping mechanisms & more.
Survivors Swindon - A regionally based, nationally recognised agency, offering a confidential telephone helpline to male survivors of child sexual abuse and adult sexual assaults.
Support Line - offers advice on steps to be taken if you are being abused together with a list of UK agencies which can give further advice, help and a list of counsellors. Tel. 020 8554 9004.
Men's Advice Line and Enquiries - 020
8 644 9914
Survivors (Swindon) - 0845 430 9371
Victim Supportline - 0845 30 30 900
Victim Support's Male Helpline - 0800
Rape and Sexual Violence Project - 0121 233 3818
Sheaf Domestic Violence Project - 0114 249 8881 or 0114
M.A.L.E (Men's Advice Line Enquiries) - 0845 064 6800
Men's Aid - 0871 223 9986
Hidden Hurt Message Forum
Please note that the Hidden Hurt Message Forum is open for both male and female victims and survivors of Domestic Abuse, their friends and family. You are welcome to leave a message or just browse.
© 2011, Hidden Hurt
In This Section:
Personal stories from men suffering abuse:
Mark's Domestic Abuse Story - Elequently and in great detail, Mark looks back on snapshots of his abusive marriage, carefully documenting the abusive relationship in which he found himself trapped, his thoughts and feelings both towards himself and his wife.
Thomas' Domestic Violence Story - "Betty always had an unpredictable and spirited personality, but I and most of our friends thought it was one of her endearing charms. A few months after Derek was born, Betty's endearing spirit started to turn scary."
Domestic violence - but I'm a man! - Bryan was a happy go-lucky comedian with a job and a blossoming artistic career until he met the woman who was to change his life. Read his story told in his own words on BBC Leeds.
Books other Male victims of domestic violence found helpful in the US:
In the UK the following books have proven helpful to women trying to survive domestic abuse:
Click on the donate botton below to support Hidden Hurt. Thanks you.
Hidden Hurt Home | Hidden Hurt Sitemap | Contact Us
Copyright© 2002 - 2015 Hidden Hurt.