November is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and Men’s Health Month. In memory of my dear grandfather who passed away from this illness, I will publish one post every Tuesday on the topic of prostate cancer and other men’s health issues.
People of all genders can fall victim to domestic abuse: men, women and non-binary people alike. When the media bring attention to this issue, they almost always talk about female victims. Of course, there is nothing wrong about wanting to help women in this situation and women do still make up the majority of victims of reported domestic abuse. But those who make up about 33% of victims – that’s men – are often ignored altogether.
One major reason is that many people just can’t imagine a man being abused by a woman. ‘Men are stronger than women’, they say, ‘so he’s only got himself to blame’. This argument ignores a number of factors. Firstly: not all men are stronger than all women. Secondly: the man may be disabled or older than his partner. Thirdly: if he does defend himself, he runs the risk of being himself accused of domestic abuse.
If a man is physically abused by his female partner then he has only two options: walking away or continue to suffer the abuse.
Ending the relationship would seem like the best solution but like all domestic violence, it often involves mental and financial abuse that makes it difficult for a person to just pack up and leave. There might also be children in the picture and the father could risk losing custody or leaving the children in a situation where they themselves might end up being abused.
Then, there are of course men who are in relationships with other men. These men are perhaps more likely to be believed because their abuser is male, but there are still very few resources available for men seeking to leave an abusive male partner.
So, this Movember month when we take extra time to think about the physical and mental health issues facing men, I’d like to bring attention to this often ignored issue and to 6 different organisations who work to help men suffering from domestic violence, whether it be emotional, physical or sexual:
Men’s Advice Line : An UK helpline for men facing domestic abuse.
Mankind Initiative: An UK based organisation helping male victims of domestic abuse.
LGBT Foundation: An UK organisation helping people in the LGBT community who are facing domestic abuse.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: US hotline for all victims of domestic abuse regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
MensLine Australia: Australian hotline for men.
Male Survivor: An organisation helping male sexual abuse survivors in over 200 countries.
If you are male and suffer violence from your partner, know that you are not alone and that there are resources out there for you. Do not hesitate to reach out to the above or other organisations or to people in your life. Seeking help is not a sign of weakness but of courage.