A couple are arguing. Their voices are raised. Someone’s being accused of flirting with a member of the opposite sex. The accusation is denied, but the argument only gets more heated. The aggressor demands their partner hands over their phone, so that that they can check their text messages. When their demands are refused, the hostile partner snatches the phone away and delivers a nasty slap to the face.
If a woman was treated like this, she would be told to leave immediately for her own safety. Would it be any more acceptable if a man was on the receiving end of abusive behaviour like this?
Obviously the answer is no, but male victims of domestic abuse often feel marginalised and have nowhere to turn to. There’s a huge stigma attached to being a male victim of domestic violence. After all, being physically or verbally assaulted by a woman (or a male partner) isn’t “manly”. Some people might even find it amusing, but it’s no laughing matter for those on the receiving end.
Most men are brought up with a strong sense of what’s right and wrong. They have been told that it’s never acceptable to hit or insult a woman, and rightly so. However, this means that a lot of men don’t know how to handle themselves if a woman is abusive or violent towards them. They simply allow the attack to take place, often trying to laugh it off.
If you think that situations like these are few and far between, you might be shocked to learn that around one in three victims of domestic violence are male. The One in Three Campaign has been set up to highlight this serious issue. The organisation aims to raise public awareness of the existence and needs of male victims of family violence and abuse; to work with government and non-government services alike to provide assistance to male victims; and to reduce the incidence and impacts of family violence on Australian men, women and children.
Whilst it’s true that more women find themselves at the receiving end of domestic abuse, it’s just as serious when the victim is male. And the effects on children are just as damaging when the violence is perpetrated by a woman.
If you are in a relationship and are suffering from emotional, physical or sexual abuse – seek help. Whether you are female or male, domestic abuse is never okay.