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Friday, October 12, 2012

Help For Abused Men

Some time ago I signed up to a "Cause" on the web so as to receive email alerts. Actually I signed up to several, mostly around human rights and the death penalty. This one, though, was entitled "A Real Man Never Hits A Woman", which seemed fair enough as I already link via Facebook to a voluntary organisation working for abused men (run by one of our neighbours, in fact).

Well, ARMNHAW has now changed its name to Humanity Against Abuse, and published this excellent piece on the reason for the change.

Help for Abused Men

ESCAPING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE BY WOMEN OR DOMESTIC PARTNERS

While the majority of domestic violence victims are women, abuse of men happens far more often than you'd probably expect. Typically, men are physically stronger than women but that doesn't necessarily make it easier to escape the violence or the relationship. An abused man faces a shortage of resources, skepticism from police, and major legal obstacles, especially when it comes to gaining custody of his children from an abusive spouse. No matter your age, occupation, or sexual orientation, though, you can overcome these challenges and escape the abuse.

Help for abused men: You're not alone

If you're a man in an abusive relationship, it's important to know that you're not alone. It happens to men from all cultures and all walks of life. Figures suggest that as many as one in three victims of domestic violence are male. However, men are often reluctant to report spousal abuse because they feel embarrassed, or they fear they won't be believed, or worse, that police will assume that since they're male they are the perpetrator of the violence and not the victim.

An abusive wife or partner may hit, kick, bite, punch, spit, throw things, or destroy your possessions. To make up for any difference in strength, she may attack you while you're asleep or otherwise catch you by surprise. She may also use a weapon, such as a gun or knife, or strike you with an object, abuse or threaten your children, or harm your pets. Of course, domestic abuse is not limited to violence. Your spouse or partner may also:
  • Verbally abuse you, belittle you, or humiliate you in front of friends, colleagues, or family, or on social media sites. 
  • Be possessive, act jealous, or harass you with accusations of being unfaithful. Take away your car keys or medications; try to control where you go and who you see. 
  • Try to control how you spend money or deliberately default on joint financial obligations. 
  • Make false allegations about you to your friends, employer, or the police, or find other ways to manipulate and isolate you. 
  • Threaten to leave you and prevent you from seeing your kids if you report the abuse. 
Help for abused men: Why men don't leave

Many people have trouble understanding why a woman who is being abused by her husband or boyfriend doesn't simply just leave him. When the roles are reversed, and the man is the victim of the abuse, people are even more bemused. However, anyone who's been in an abusive relationship knows that it's never that simple. Ending a relationship, even an abusive one, is rarely easy.

You may feel that you have to stay in the relationship because:

  • You want to protect your children. You worry that if you leave your spouse will harm your children or prevent you from having access to them. Obtaining custody of children is always challenging for fathers, but even if you are confident that you can do so, you may still feel overwhelmed at the prospect of raising them alone. 
  • You feel ashamed. Many men feel great shame that they've been beaten down by a woman or failed in their role as protector and provider for the family. 
  • Your religious beliefs dictate that you stay or your self-worth is so low that you feel this relationship is all you deserve. 
  • There's a lack of resources. Many men have difficulty being believed by the authorities, or their abuse is minimized because they're male, and can find few resources to help abused men. 
  • You're in a same sex relationship but haven't come out to family or friends, and are afraid your partner will out you. 
  • Denial. Just as with female domestic violence victims, denying that there is a problem in your relationship will only prolong the abuse. You may believe that you can help your abuser or she may have promised to change. But change can only happen once your abuser takes full responsibility for her behavior and seeks professional treatment.

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