Saturday, September 24, 2005

Why male victims of DV don't come forward.

This handout on domestic violence against men, along with many other such discussions of the problem asks why many male victims do not report what is happening to them. It gives a couple of answers, but leaves out one which I feel is the result of a combination of the factors involved - many victims don't even know it is happening. They simply do not think of it in those terms.

This handout points of that "the idea that men could be victims of domestic abuse and violence is so unthinkable to most people that many men will not even attempt to report the situation", and that "the man begins to believe that there is nothing he can do and that it may be all his fault". For many years he, like any other male in the western world, has been bombarded with the description of domestic violence as a male-on-female issue and, of course, the perpetrators are demonized just like any other criminal. Our world is very "us and them", we're not the bad guys, they are. So who are "they"? Well, those that end up in trouble for their crimes, right? DV doesn't just happen to "other people", it happens to the other sex, it isn't just perpetrated by anyone, it is perpetrated by his own sex. In the face of this, it is very difficult to make the cognitive transition necessary to realize that he, the man, is the victim and she, the woman is the perpetrator.

I like the handout's example of how DV erupts, it is quite typical, including the self-blame of the victim. What it fails to say, however, is that the fears that the man may feel, that he may lose his children or that they may become the victims, are very real. The divorce machine almost guarantees that he will be removed from their lives and an abuser will quite readily turn on the next victim in line if not caught and stopped. It is well documented that the majority of child abuse is perpetrated by the mother.

1 comment:

sue said...

I agree whole-heartedly. When my parents were abusive, my mother was just as violent as my dad - sometimes more so.

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