MEN AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE – LET’S START PAYING ATTENTION
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. YES – IT’S A MEN’S ISSUE.
Yep – we’re talking about men’s health. I hate to disappoint all the people out there who are ready for me take a run at men who hit women – but I’m not going to do that today.
Now, I know some of you read that and felt an instant urge to kick me in the face – calm down.
I don’t think there’s any justification for men to hit women.
I don’t think there’s any justification for anyone to hit anyone.
If any part of me genuinely believed that violence against women was okay – I would totally get behind the idea of you kicking me in the face.
Today though…I’d like to talk to you about an issue that is very close to my heart. Domestic violence experienced by men.
Let’s get one thing straight here though – that is an all-encompassing term.
- Intimate partner violence
- Domestic abuse in LGBTIQA + relationships
- Abuse experienced by the elderly
- Violence against children
So – don’t be coming at me with all that ‘you’re a self-hating anti-feminist’….cause it just ain’t true.
After all, I have four main blog types up in here and this one…this one’s about men’s health.
You want to hear about women’s issues instead – head over to the women’s rights section.
On this page though – we’ll be talking about the issues that men face.
Why? Because men are important too. Period.
So – let’s get it.
IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AN ISSUE FOR MEN’S HEALTH?
It is crazy to me that anyone has to ask this question – but hell yes, it certainly is.
The fact of the matter is that 1 in 4 men are victims of domestic violence.
That’s right, 1 in 4!
I know some people are already raising their fingers to point angrily and say – “But Gitta – 1 in 3 women are victims of domestic violence. That’s more than 1 in 4!”
I know, my loves. I know.
I don’t dispute that statistic and I don’t take that knowledge lightly. To put it mildly – it’s fucking disgusting.
We need to do better and we need to protect women.
But you know what else is disgusting? That 1 in 4 men are victims of domestic violence.
The fact that female victims are more prevalent does not in any way take away from how awful it is that we live in a society where 1 in 4 men are victims of domestic violence.
It does not in any way lessen the pain that these guys go through when the people they love raise a fist to them, or abuse them in any way whatsoever.
Now…I know some of you are reading this blog with raised eyebrows and a little bit of scepticism.
Is it really possible that 1 in 4 men are victims of domestic violence? If the numbers were that high then surely people would know about it.
Oh trust me – it’s possible.
Don’t believe me? It’s a good thing ya girl did her mother fucking research they – aye?
Check out this paper here, this movie here, this fact sheet here and this paper here and what about here – a report on the male victims of child sex abuse in Australia. The info is out there – you just need to look for it.
SO WHY DON’T PEOPLE THINK THESE STATS ARE IMPORTANT?
This is something I’ve struggled with for a long time because I could never wrap my head around why people didn’t care. I mean – it matters. Full stop. Period. End of story. It matters.
I always assumed that people on the other side of the fence just couldn’t hear us when we were trying to tell them – “Guys…it’s 1 in 4.”
It never occurred to me that people thought this statistic wasn’t anything to make a fuss about.
I mean 1 in 4 is a lot. Like…a lot. You can’t argue with that.
And it led me to a couple of sites like this one for example.
Now feel free to go check all this out yourself and let me know if you think I’m interpreting it all wrong.
Honestly – fact check me. Do it. If I’m wrong – let your girl know.
But if I’m reading this correctly, and I think that I am, they’ve got a couple of rebuttals that they’re slapping men down with.
I hate to break it to anyone who doesn’t believe male domestic violence is an issue – but I don’t think any of the arguments hold up to scrutiny.
So – other than the argument that it doesn’t exist…what is the main argument that I keep bumping into?
Men might experience less serious domestic violence or violence as the result of their partners defending themselves against attacks initiated by the man
Do me a favour please…define ‘less serious’. And when you’ve done that – prove to me that it was initiated by the man.
You heard me – I’m gonna need you to back up the claims that you’re making.
You can’t just make unsubstantiated claims and call it fact.
I’m reading through all these stats and all these figures and I have not found one shred of evidence that men experience ‘less serious’ domestic violence.
All I’ve really found is a lack of evidence and research on male victims of domestic violence. Particularly a lack of evidence on male victims of intimate partner violence.
Regardless – on a personal note…I don’t think that I could ever get behind the idea of ‘less serious domestic violence’.
You know why?
Because I want to know what ‘less serious’ domestic violence is.
Was it not serious because it didn’t leave a bruise?
Was it not serious because the children didn’t see it happen?
Was it not serious because it only happened one time?
How do you know the children didn’t see it?
How do you know they didn’t hear it?
How do you know it only happened one time?
And here’s the kicker…the real MVP of follow up questions…
If somebody is willing to raise their hands to their partner and risk causing physical harm even once…do you really think that emotional abuse is outside the realm of things they’re capable of? Do you really believe the first time a man is hit by his partner is the first time he’s been abused by them?
There is one solid and irrefutable fact when it comes to what happens behind the closed doors of someone else’s home.
You can never be 100% sure. If you didn’t experience every second of it yourself – then you have no idea how bad it really is.
Now – if you’re still clicking your tongue at me and shaking your head – answer me this…
Be honest with me – would you ever really refer to ‘less serious violence against women’? I don’t think you would because you understand there’s no such bloody thing.
You understand that a lot of women don’t speak up.
That they’re afraid to come out and talk about the things they’ve been through.
You understand that often women find themselves reliant upon their partner for financial stability. You understand that women don’t want to tear their children away from their fathers.
You understand that all those things can be true for women.
So you must understand that all those things can be true for men.
If gender really didn’t matter to the people who are trying to shut this conversation down – they wouldn’t be shutting it down. They’d be opening it up.
They would want to be 100% positive about whether or not domestic violence was a serious issue for men as well as women.
People aren’t doing that though – they’re labelling people who are trying to talk about it as anti-feminists.
Excuse me – I thought feminism was about equality. Which means making sure we look after everyone equally – men included.
That’s the thing about me – you can call me what you want, but I genuinely believe in gender equality.
And that means fighting for men just as much as I fight for women.
Everyone matters. End of bloody story.
Let’s take a look into the 2016 Royal Commission into Family Violence
Now I’ll be honest – when I first started reading this I was considerably disheartened. There are ALOT of references to female and child victims.
Now – don’t get me wrong. That’s important – I’m glad that the government decided to look into the abuses that women and children suffer.
I was just hoping to see a little more in-depth research into male victims. After all – it’s the Royal-bloody-Commission.
Things like “The most common manifestation of domestic violence is intimate family violence committed by men against their partners” got to me when I first read them
But of course – that’s true.
Quotes like “Family violence can cause terrible physical and psychological harm, particularly to women and children” were really getting me down because of course – I wish people talked more about men.
However – that quote right there ^ – is 100% true. There are more female and children victims of domestic violence and we should in no way forget about them.
What we need to remember is that before men are men…they are boys. Children. The psychological scarring they endured as a child will undoubtedly be carried with them into adulthood.
If you keep reading through the Royal Commission (it’s over 2000 flipping pages) you’ll find they agree with me.
“The Commission concluded that, although resources should not be diverted from women and children, who constitute the majority of victims, the family violence system needs to respond more supportively to male victims of family violence.”
- Australian Royal Commission into Family Violence, 2016
You can’t know the happiness I felt in my heart when I read that.
I had begun to think that nowhere in the 2000 pages would they admit that men can be victims too.
Alas, they came through for us.
In fact, the Royal Commission specifically stated we need to do more to determine the needs of male victims of domestic violence, specifically,
- male children
- elderly men
- gay, bisexual and transgender men
The perception that people like me want to stand up for men in this scenario is because we believe men should dominate women is ridiculous.
If you haven’t met me then let me clue you in – no one tells me to do something I don’t want to do.
Especially not with some stupid rationale for bossing me around – like their gender for example.
Seriously, though…if you can’t wrap your mind around why a straight, white man could be vulnerable to domestic violence (because he could be), then look at those groups of people I just dot pointed.
Now – tell me they’re not vulnerable. You can’t – can you?
The truth is – we need to do more research. And in order to make that happen – we need to talk about it more.
Create a space where men can come out into the open and admit that they have been the victims of domestic violence – and maybe they’ll feel like they can talk about it without being ridiculed.
I PERSONALLY KNOW MALE VICTIMS OF INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE
The fact of the matter is that there are male victims out there, and whether or not you believe the stats – every single one of those victims matters.
Even if I’m 100% wrong and the only men who were ever abused by their partners are the men that I personally know – I am not jumping off this train.
Just like I wouldn’t jump off this train if we were talking about the female victims of domestic violence.
Everyone matters – quite literally all of us. I can’t believe I actually have to type that. As if it’s not obvious!
When someone you care about pulls you aside to tell you about something horrific, and I do mean horrific, your initial reaction is to pick up the phone and dial 000.
Then that friend, the one who’s just told you something awful has happened to them, pulls your arm away from your phone.
“They won’t believe me, Gitta.”
Silence from me in response. A rare occurrence.
“What? A guy like me? Not being able to fight off a girl? They’ll laugh me out of the police station.”
More silence on my end as I realise he’s just as afraid to speak out as any woman would be.
“Besides – they’ll say I did something to provoke it. They’ll say it must have been self-defence if she did this to me.”
Victim shaming. Isn’t that what we call that when someone does the same thing to a girl?
It’s no different for a guy.
You know those gender stereotypes that women still fight so hard not to be controlled by?
The ones that say men are big and tough and all powerful?
They are exactly the reason men don’t say that they’ve been abused.
And I am going to quote a choice phrase of violence against women activists – these stats are only the victims we know about.
That concept is so important to keep in mind when addressing violence against women.
And for the same reasons, it’s so important to keep in mind when addressing violence against men.
If you’ve made it this far into this blog post – I’m grateful. This was a long rant from me. One that’s been coming for a long, long time.
It’s close to my heart – how could it not be after seeing people I love going through it.
I appreciate that you’ve gotten to this point in the article and not clicked away. I imagine a lot of people will – not everyone wants to hear it.
If you’re still reading though – I encourage you to start talking about it. Let the victims that could potentially be around you feel that it is safe to confide in you.
Alert people to the statistics. Create conversation. Not everyone is going to agree with you and not everyone is going to like it. But if you’re talking about it – you’re doing something about it.
That’s the thing though isn’t it – the issues no one’s talking about are the most important ones to speak up about.
As always – be kind, my loves.