When we think of domestic abuse, often we think of violence, more so men as perpetrators and women as victims. Abuse can come in several forms including physical, psychological, financial and emotional and as highlighted in the above case, men are not always the aggressors. Trying to ascertain reasons behind people committing domestic abuse can be difficult. It may be frustration, it may be fear, it may be insecurity or it could be a compulsion to control. It may also be a learned behaviour from something seen or experienced at an early age.
I have heard some people ask why an individual would stay and be subjected to abusive behaviour, and my answer to them is this. There are many reasons, and unless you have been in that situation you cannot grasp the emotions involved (and I include myself in that). Some people stay out of love, some people stay out of guilt, some people stay out of fear and some may be unaware that they are being subjected to abuse due to it being done so subtly. Remember not all abuse is physical, and not all effects are tangible.
On average between 2012-2017, approximately 23% of all reported domestic abuse, involved male victims. It is important to keep in mind these are official police statistics and will only comprise of actual reported abuse. It is worth noting therefore, considering the stigma attached to male victims, this figure could be significantly higher.
The question to be asked of course, would be is this something which has only just begun to happen or is it something which has just begun to be reported? Whether it is controlling what somebody wears, controlling their finances, repeatedly distributing disparaging remarks about the way a person looks, convincing somebody they are inadequate or physically assaulting a person, this all constitutes abuse. It is also something which can happen to men as well as women and does so more than you may think.
This is a topic I am passionate about and there are some wonderful charities who are raising awareness of male domestic abuse in hope of encouraging more victims to come forward. A colleague of mine and I have commenced penning a book around this very topic, and part of our aim is to help victims become more aware of the signs of abuse as some forms can be very surreptitious. If you feel like you may be in an abusive relationship, please reach out to the authorities or seek some advice from one of the amazing charities set up to help men and women. Remember you don’t have to accept your situation and there are people on hand who can support, from charities to therapists.