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The term Domestic violence is inherently linked with abuse of women by men. Men are targeted for their physical prowess and often accused of being women batterers. Is this the case with every man? Well, certainly not. Men are victims of abuse too, that ranges from mental to physical. Any vulnerable person irrespective of gender, can be subjugated to abuse. Men can be, and even are subjected to domestic abuse by their wives, live in partners, or anyone they are romantically involved with.
Men are countered with stereotypical notions of being strong, proverbs such as ‘Men Don’t cry’ are mercilessly used against any man who shouts any vulnerabilities. Men facing Domestic abuse by their partner are scared of speaking out as they will be socially stigmatized for their perceived lack of machismo or other denigrations of their masculinity. BFH explores the issue of ‘Wo-men mishandling’ of men in this article.
Abuse against Men
Abuse in itself is not subjected to any particular gender. Any person who holds power over any individual and exploits that power to such a level that causes mental agony to others is abuse. Any intimidation and control exerted by a partner over the other which makes them feel scared is deemed as abuse.
According to the World Health Organization, Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is any behavior within an intimate relationship that causes physical, psychological or sexual harm to those in the relationship, including acts of physical aggression, sexual coercion, psychological abuse and controlling behaviors.
Hence, if no reports of cases are filed does not mean that if you see a man getting assaulted by his partner or wife cannot be seen as domestic violence.
According to Man’s Advice line, a portal raising awareness about Male domestic violence and offering advice to male victim, men are subjugated to the following types of abuses by their partners:
Coercive control : If an abuser is manipulating and controlling you – either through intimidation, threats, humiliation or isolating you from your support networks – they’re using coercive control.
Financial abuse: If someone is controlling or misusing your money in a way that limits your freedom, they are financially abusing you.
Economic abuse : Economic abuse is broader than financial abuse. An economic abuser might be limiting your access to basic resources like food, shelter, clothing or transport, creating instability and threatening your safety.
Psychological or emotional abuse : Psychological or emotional abuse can range from belittling comments and put downs to accusations. This kind of abuse can lead you to believe they’re imagining things.
Gaslighting: Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse that discredits your memory, perception and sanity. An abuser might use lies, denial, contradiction, false information and manipulation to exert control.
Physical abuse : If an abuser is hitting, punching, kicking, pushing, using a weapon against you or causing you any kind of physical harm, minor or extreme, you’re being physically abused.
Sexual abuse : Sexual abuse can happen in or outside of relationships, including within marriage. Your abuser may be pressuring you to have sex or to engage in sexual acts, hurting you during sex, pressuring you to have unprotected sex and more.
Online and Digital abuse: If your accounts are being monitored, intimate videos or photos have been shared online or someone is using software that monitors what you’re doing or where you’re going, you’re being digitally abused.
The above abuses are often subjected to men as much as women, but voices are unheard of, arising due to the social stigma attached to it . There are situations where men are helpless and it affects their mental well-being.
Men often don’t complain
Men are often subjected to the above mentioned abuses by their spouses or partners and the problem is they are embarrassed and hesitant to speak up as they think people will laugh at them which motivates the abuses to go on. This hesitancy leads them to not report the abuse, and the abuse continues. Patriarchal societies in general, make me believe that coming out with such allegations will make them a subject of humor and mocked which leads to the social stigma that men are never abused.Societies created an image of man which actually subverts any cry for help on his behalf.
Is it right to force men to bear pain and torture without complaining just to protect their masculinity? Why should a man’s strength lie in showing his physical strength only? Well, the answer is any abuse is an abuse, irrespective of the gender, and society should be more open to hear the other side of the story. The voice of the unheard!
Men should speak up with friends and family if they are feeling abused and feeling trapped within the rigid confines of societal expectations. They should take professional help and not let the abuser continue this agony. Your mental health matters first and pride later. Men should be vocal and expose people who are exploiting them mentally and physically. The way we are raising awareness about domestic violence against women, we need to uplift men too who are subjected to this evil. But it all begins at the root cause of changing the mentality of society and bringing about the awareness that men have feelings too! Then only can we hope for a future where we attain true gender equality and that no gender is brought to the limelight form the suppression of another.