October was Domestic Violence Awareness month, and with it, many stories of survival and awareness became public. Most of these stories were from women explaining the struggle they faced at the hands of their abusers. Although these stories are very harrowing, men seem to be missing from the victims demographic.
On almost all big posts about domestic violence against women, there’s bound to be a few comments from men asking, “what about men who are abused? Why aren’t they taken seriously?” One of the issues with domestic violence against men is that these instances often go unreported. Women are much more likely to report domestic violence and get help, although many women still don’t report these crimes.
Why is it that men don’t report violent crimes committed against them at the hands of their spouses or partners? The answer is simple, really. Male privilege has backfired on men in many ways, but the worst is that there is little support or sympathy for men who are victims of domestic violence. There’s not as many organizations that reach out to men who are victims because men have always been told to “toughen up” and “suck it up” when they’re frightened.
When men report crimes committed against them, they’re often written off and even laughed at. Although I will admit that men have a physical advantage over women, domestic violence towards men is still very possible. Men have been taught that it’s not okay to hit a woman, and in many cases, men are scared to try to defend themselves and be mistaken for the instigator.
Many men would openly laugh at another man if he admitted that his partner hit him. Growing up, we all heard boys laugh at others, saying, “you got hit by a girl!” Inevitably, the boy will hang his head in shame and run away. Boys are taught to be tough and to hide their emotions, especially fear and sadness. This can be a huge disadvantage to men who do try to seek help.
As humans, we need to stand up against violence in any form and take these reports seriously. Violence is never okay, no matter who it’s being committed against. This male-dominant culture we live in which once served men well is no longer helping them. More men need to realize that feminism isn’t trying to tear them down, it’s trying to even the playing fields for both sexes. Men are just as likely to be victims of domestic violence, so it’s time we reach out to male victims and offer the support that is so readily available for women.