The bruises are fading, the scars are hidden and the excuses are coming thick and fast. “Just tell them that you walked into a door”, “You tripped over one of the kids toys and banged into the wall”.
You can’t pick up a weekly magazine without some ‘true story’ depicting the events of another domestic disturbance where the wife has suffered at the hands of a slap happy husband. So what happens when the tables are turned? When the abuser is the wife and the husband is being beaten regularly? Who does he turn to for support? Not his mates because they’ll laugh at him, being beaten by a woman. Where does he go?
There is great prejudice surrounding Domestic Abuse being just one sided, the media actively supports the stereotype of the abused woman. Every year there is another celebrity backed campaign depicting females as the victims. Although it is true that the abuse of women is more frequent, in a world where we claim equality is everything, are we really so naïve to believe that males can’t be victims to?
Celebrities such as Rihanna and Danielle Lloyd have opened up to the press about the abuse they suffered at the hands of their respective partners, but what about Phil Hartman who was famously killed by his wife after a history of abuse.
Ian McNihall is one such victim. He bravely spoke out about his own suffering and the abuse he suffered at the hands of his wife.
“SCALDED with a steam iron, BOILING WATER poured over his genitals, cigarettes thrust up his NOSE and stubbed on his CHEST, and a gin bottle SMASHED in his mouth – on top of numerous PUNCHES and BEATINGS.” (http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/woman/real_life/article2411968.ece)
MensAid is a support group similar to WomensAid aimed purely at men; they provide shelter, therapy and record all complaints of violence. This organisation is one of the few that are available to helping male sufferers.
Stephen Henn, head of Mensaid in Brighton. I was lucky enough to be able to interview him last year when he discussed his campaign with me.
Stephen has been trying for the last ten years to get Government funding and support but to no avail. From the moment we started talking it was evident that Stephen is passionate about his support for male domestic abuse victims. He shocked me with the following statement “The Government says the average woman is victimised 30 times before she has the courage to come forward whilst the average man gets victimised 300 times before coming forward.”
It is statements such as this that make you think about the statistics available to the public, in 2001 there were over 100,000 complaints reluctantly made to the police by male victims. This may seem shocking, but if you think of how many incidents remain unreported, you will see that this is minimal.
With more articles being publicised showing the abuse that males suffer at the hands of their partners, it won’t be long until MensAid becomes as well known as its counter part (WomensAid).