The psycho girlfriend.
She’ll refuse to let you hang out with your best friends for fear you might cheat on her.
She’ll check your phone at least five times a day to see if you’ve ‘liked’ any other’s girl’s Instagram page.
She’ll phone you at least five times a day just to ‘check up on you’.
The truth is she’s the butt of a lot of jokes between both men and woman.
But the truth is, she really does exist.
If a male counterpart portrayed this behaviour, it would be far from a joke. Some would call it possessive. Other’s controlling and aggressive. And some may even refer to it as domestic abuse.
Yet, because the abuser in this example is female, nobody wants to take it as seriously.
Two in five of all victims who suffer domestic are men. For years, the image of an abusive relationship was played out with the female victim and a male abuser. We’ve seen it in films and TV shows. It’s an idea that society has implanted in our minds, warping the way we see and speak about Domestic Violence.
The truth is that men, who are facing domestic violence at the hand of their partner’s day in day out, are suffering in silence. Their fear and worry is shrouded by stigma. They feel they can’t speak out because of the backlash they may receive from other men and women.
If women speak up against domestic violence in social media, we applaud them. We tell them how strong they are. How wrong it is that they have been through such torture at the hands of the person they should have trusted most and rightly so.
But why is it that when a man comes forward to speak about his own experiences of domestic violence, he is referred to as ‘a pussy’. He’s told he needs to ‘get some balls’ or stand up for himself. It’s wrong. And it needs to change.
Male victims of domestic abuse continue to be overlooked. They are not portrayed in wider society. There are very few voices that represent them in the media. Did you know that the number of refugee places for men in England and Wales only stands at 60 compared to the 7,500 places for women?
It’s true that men are much less likely to come forward about domestic abuse than women. They often fear that law enforcers will be more likely to take the side of the female. They fear that their family and friends will see them as ‘weak’ and so they will often stay in abusive relationships for years, living in misery and fear. Society needs to change the way it sees domestic abuse and it needs to change now.
So what’s classed as Domestic Abuse?
Domestic abuse can come in various forms. It’s not just a physical act, which can make it even harder for men to recognise when they are in an abusive relationship.
It is classed as…
‘An incident or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (physiological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or are family members, regardless of gender of sexuality’
If you find your female partner controls or manipulates who you are friends with, this is classed as domestic abuse.
If you feel your partner emotionally blackmails you into doing things you are uncomfortable with or buying items for them you don’t want to buy, this is domestic abuse.
If your partner checks your phone regularly, this is domestic abuse!
You may not realise it because of the way society portrays domestic abuse. But if this is classed as controlling and abuse when a man does it to his female partner, then why not vice versa?
What can I do if my partner is abusing me?
Speak to someone you trust.
Speak to a family member or a close friend about your partner behaviour. Make them aware that you feel uncomfortable or worried. Not only will this trusted individual listen to your concerns, they may also support you in taking legal action against your partner.
Call a helpline
The NHS website recommends that if you don’t have anyone in your personal life to speak to, you should contact the Men’s Advice Line for help and support.
They spoke to over 800 male victims of domestic abuse in 2010. This helpline can refer you to local places in your area that can help you even further such as health services and voluntary organisations set up for people in similar situations, assisting and supporting you.
Speak to your doctor
If you feel unsure or concerned about calling a helpline or letting your friends know about your situation, speak to your doctor. Everything will be confidential and you won’t be judged by anyone. This will also mean you can speak without fear of your partner finding out if that is a concern.
It’s not always as easy as just walking away from the relationship. You will often have strong feelings for this person or may be terrified to leave for fear of further attack.
Forms of Domestic Abuse;
Where the person abusing you makes you feel…
To blame for the abuse
They may also…
Deny they are abusing you
Isolate you from friends and family members
Makes unreasonable demands for attention
Threats and Intimidation
Where the person abusing you may…
Make threats against your life or hurt you
Threaten to harm themselves and blame you
Read your emails, texts or letters
Harass or follow you
Where the person abusing you…
Physically attacks or harms you in any way by invading your private space and causing you distress
Where the person abusing you…
Touches you or forces you to do things you are not comfortable with.
Just know that you are not alone. There is support and help out there for you. You are not ‘weak’. You are strong and brave. You will get through this. Never give up hope.