Abuse: A male perspective

In recent times I have become aware of the extent of abuse in our world. The publication of the review

In recent times I have become aware of the extent of abuse in our world.
The publication of the review of Mandy Smith’s memoir “Secrets in Big Sky Country” and the comments it attracted enlightened me as to how widespread this insidious practice is.
As I say in my review I am not a victim of childhood sexual abuse but I am a victim of domestic violence.

As a male this is very difficult to admit to. I was brought up at a time when we were told that boys don’t cry and that being male was taking on the world and whatever happened you accepted and got on with life, you didn’t make a fuss about anything as you didn’t want to besmirch your own opinion or that of your parents of being male.

I remember a day in Primary School when I fell over and badly grazed my knee and as I sat nursing my knee and the pain was overwhelming and I was fighting like crazy to hold back the tears the voice of my father was echoing in my head “Boys don’t cry”.

In making a declaration such as “I am a victim of domestic violence” you have the immediate feeling that you are putting yourself at risk by coming out with such a statement.

What are people going to think?

You feel as though you should go into the back room, lock the door and wait till everyone outside has gone away and hopefully forgotten what you just said. In that way you can re-enter the world and carry on living in conscious denial.

For a male admitting to being a victim of domestic violence plays at the very source of his ego.

Most men want people to think of them as ok sorts of guys who can climb mountains, build their own Tag Mahal and be the perfect or near to one father to their children.

When you have children who witness the violence then there is the added humiliation of them seeing their father treated in this way.

In my case my children have stuck by me all these years. They have been and are my greatest supporters. I made every effort despite what they saw happen to me to be their father, protect them whenever I could from their tormentor and in later life support them in every way possible.

In my case I refused to have my spirit broken despite every effort of my perpetrators. Something inside me always told me what I was going through was not right and that I would never stoop to their level.

At the time I never saw myself as a victim of domestic violence. I think I would have been in denial of such a term preferring to think that my life was what it was and that for the most part I was to blame for much that was happening to me.

It’s so easy in any domestic situation to believe everything you are told. If I had been a better husband, a better provider, a better man then none of this would ever have happened. I used to wake up of a morning thinking of what to do to placate the beast I lived with.

Of course that was the problem. Placating only leads to more grief, more disruption more pain and tears.

It took me more than twenty years to finally say enough is enough and leave and never look back.

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  1. Pamela  

    I was a victim of domestic violence, but I personally know 3 men who were also DV victims, so in my social group it is a case of 75% male/25% female victims.

    I’m sure this plays out in others situations as well, but is generally ignored.

    http://www.oneinthree.com.au/ AT LEAST ONE IN THREE VICTIMS IS MALE

    Contrary to common beliefs, up to One in Three victims of sexual assault and at least One in Three victims of family violence and abuse is male1 (perhaps as many as one in two… )

      • Robert  

        The non-reported is likely to be predominantly male victims. DV is usually bi-directional and there are different dynamics in terms of victims being violence-prone or battered.

  2. Joan  

    Both women and men should be advocating to stop domestic violence. Unfortunately, most of the focus is on the victims, not the perpetrators. Teach all our children, boys and girls, that violence is not acceptable and is criminal. And, please, let’s stop calling it ‘domestic’ violence. The fact that it happens at home between partners makes it worse, not lesser. Let’s call is assault, in all it’s variations, which is what it is.

    • Good point Joan, I guess the term domestic violence simply gives the assault a context…..thanks for your comment.

  3. Frank  

    hmmm – you grew up with domestic violence ? – but the only specific example in your story is ‘I fell over and badly grazed my knee … the pain was overwhelming … the voice of my father was echoing in my head “Boys don’t cry”.

    It’s a pretty long bow to call that domestic violence – maybe try again with some actual evidence – like one girlfriend I had – she grew up being bashed by her father and younger brother in tandem – when she got angry she would grab me by the family jewels and as she was a champion athlete it would take all my strength to wrestle her away from those !

    another time she threw a whole cabbage at my head so hard it probably would have broken my neck except luckily it glanced off leaving me with only a severe pain in the neck – after we broke up she told me I had taught her something – that men can actually be nice !

    • Thank you Frank shame you need the evidence of knives being thrown and vacuum cleaner wands used to bash as evidence I am making a legitimate statement about violence in my home. The bit about falling as a child was an illustration of the environment I was brought up in….sorry you received such treatment too….thanks for for comment.

  4. Anne Wolski  

    I am aware of a family who have a culture of women bashing the men. Apparently it is seen to be okay for the women in this particular family to physically, mentally and emotionally abuse their partners. However, if the male ever retaliates, he is the worst person in the world. I confronted one of these women one day after she had stabbed her partner with a screwdriver and he had hit her back. Her response was that it doesn’t matter what a woman does to a man, he has no right to raise his hand to a woman.

    • Thank you Anne we live in a diverse world that is for sure but I think families with that attitude have a strange bent view of the world. It suggests a lack of respect not just for men but for the men who make up their lives. One wonders if the men involved are aware of their attitude before they marry or get involved.

  5. Michelle  

    Frank I think you’re comparing your adult experience, but Michael was saying as a child he was was taught to grin and bear it, which meant he put up with domestic violence as an adult for too long. I believe for men, it’s very difficult for their situation to sound credible, but I’ve seen a wisp of a girl, during an intoxicated temper, tear a gauze door off its hinges, break a bottle over a strong young man’s head, scratch and punch him and all he could do was try to keep her at arm’s length to protect himself. That’s the physical abuse, the emotional abuse was more harmful. It’s time people acknowledged women can be serious perpetrators of domestic violence and men put up with a lot without the ability to protect themselves.

    • Thank you Michelle I appreciate your comments and you are correct in what you say about my situation. I thank you for your contribution to the discussion.

  6. Thank you to the women who have spoken up – because more often than not it is women who tear down men who raise awareness of male dv victims. Hence, your affirmation is a validation, something sickeningly lacking for many male victims.

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