Today I was researching Domestic Violence as part of an article I was writing for work. I was shocked to find that statistics about domestic violence aimed at men under-represented among many of the main websites. In addition there was a lack of advertised help for men, such as helplines.
While carrying out my research for my article, I found that very little information and support was offered to men who suffer domestic abuse. I googled ‘domestic violence helpline’, hoping to find a helpline for both men and women. To my surprise, the first 10 results listed were aimed at women. The only result that offered advice for men was the government website which was the bottom result; but that was gender neutral.
Women’s Aid, Refuge and the National Domestic Abuse Helpline dominated the top results. While I don’t seek to discredit the work they do, (they offer great advice for women and children), they made it very clear that they offered no help for men. What most disturbed me was that the helpline that sounded most general, the National DA helpline, was so firmly aimed at women.
Obviously, domestic abuse is an awful circumstance for anybody, regardless of gender or age. The nature of those who abuse their partners/children/relatives do it in such a way that the victims feel alone, are often threatened into not telling anybody, and cut off from their loved ones. Of those victims that do manage to report domestic abuse, it is estimated that they are subject to 30 incidents before they come forward. Citizens Advice have estimated that at least half a million victims are too scared to report domestic abuse.
However, it can be argued that men find it more difficult to come forward because they fear the effects on their masculinity; they may feel they should be stronger; they are embarrassed because it is something that supposedly affects women more. Imagine you were a man who was being abused by a partner or ex-partner, and you searched google for help. Finding so much female related content could easily ostracize you further.
However, many men are abused, in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. It can come in any form, such as psychological and physical abuse. A study in 2010, by Parity, suggested that 40% of victims of Domestic Abuse were men, contrary to popular belief. It really isn't unusual for men to be victims of Domestic Violence.
So I did a bit more research into support for men, and found a whole list of great charities who help men in this position. It is vitally important that victims of abuse seek help, whoever they are. But if facing immediate danger, ring 999.
The Man Kind Initiative: 01823 334244
Men’s Advice Line: 0808 801 0327 (Freephone)
The CALM Zone: 0800 58 58 58 (Freephone)