Friday, 19 July 2013

Domestic violence against men

The issue of domestic violence has really been on my mind in the last week, particularly after seeing a horrendous cartoon featured on Genius Football’s Twitter feed. I’ll spell it out in words as we don’t want to republish the image:

(Man and woman in clinch) Woman: “Hey love. I have arranged our honeymoon on August 17th.
(Man hits woman in the face, causing a large flow of blood) Man: “Dafuq? I aint missing the start of Premier League. Go alone.”

Making a joke of a man beating a woman for any reason is enough to make anybody’s stomach turn. The picture has since been taken down from the social media site and I hope the person who posted it is well and truly ashamed.

But it’s actually domestic violence against men I want to talk about. This is partly because our Smart Talk (problem page) panel recently received a letter from a guy who was being hit by his wife, and partly because there is so little focus on this type of violence in the media. Domestic violence against women is certainly a taboo, but we could be forgiven for thinking that violence against men simply doesn’t happen.

Did you know that one-third of domestic violence victims are men? I have to say I was shocked at that statistic, and I actually looked it up to verify it (with the National Centre for Domestic Violence). Because when those two ugly words are spoken, I invariably think of a man standing threatening over a terrified and defenceless woman.

I admit this is ignorance on my part, but I also think that male victims are repeatedly, and wrongly, ignored. According to the same site, one in six men will experience domestic violence during their lifetime and a 999 call is made every three minutes by a male victim.

Perhaps this issue doesn’t get as much ‘air time’ because men find it more difficult to talk about abuse and to ask for help. After all, men are supposed to strong and protective aren’t they? Surely admitting to being hit – not least by a woman – is to admit weakness and defeat? Of course, this isn’t our opinion at Sorted; it’s just the way some men see themselves. Then when violence occurs they blame themselves for not upholding the media-fuelled ‘standard of manhood’. Regardless of gender, any human being can be abusive to another, whether verbally or physically, and this has no bearing on the victim’s physical or emotional strength.

It is important to talk about domestic violence, because silence perpetuates the problem and gives the abuser power. Some find it helpful to speak to a close friend, while others prefer to talk to a stranger, such as a counsellor or a church leader. Doing so helps to release pent-up emotions and can enable victims to see solutions where before there was only hopelessness. Admitting that abuse is taking place isn’t a sign of weakness; it takes immense courage to do this.

Others feel that speaking about domestic abuse is a betrayal of the partner carrying out the abuse. Many blame themselves and feel they deserve to be hit, while others love their partners deeply and want to fix things without stirring the waters. Each case is different and there is no right or wrong way to act, but it’s important to accept that the violence is wrong and that, one way or another, it has to stop.

There are several groups out there to help men experiencing domestic violence, including Men's Advice Line and ManKind Initiative. Men’s Advice Line offers the following advice for male victims:

·         Keep a record of the dates and times of any incidents. If you have been injured, seek medical attention and the doctor will make a note of your injuries
·         Keep your phone charged and on your person at all times in case you need to make an emergency call
·         Tell a trusted friend or family member what's been happening
·         Make sure your passport and important documents are kept in a safe place (preferably with a trusted friend)
·         Report violence or criminal damage to the police
·         Don’t retaliate, it's not safe

If you or someone you know has experienced domestic violence of any kind, get in touch with Men’s Advice Line on 0808 801 0327 or via the website.

Read more on this issue in the upcoming edition of Sorted magazine, out August 19.


  1. Good to see Sorted addressing this issue at last. As a male victim of DV, I contacted Sorted about 18 months ago to generate awareness of the issue, but there wasn't interest then

  2. Hi Ian

    I'm sorry to hear about that - first that you have been a victim and second that we didn't cover it at the time. Often our schedules are booked up months and months in advance so I imagine it dropped off the radar by the time space became available. It's something we are very keen to raise awareness about - perhaps you could contact me at to discuss further?

    Best wishes


  3. I would mention that for some talking to a church leader about such is not an option.

    Without going into details, lthought I had been mistreated I was treated by leadership in th church as someone who had been the one being violent. The reason being given was that men have the power and God deals with the men in the first instance. This particulr leader saying that she was being prophetic in what she was doing, and receving the support of the pastor.

    As a consequence of this and events following, I left the church.

    Healing from both the initial mistreatment and the abuse by leadership in the church has come from sources outide the local church. And having had this expereince, it would be unlikely that I would share of it in a Christian environment, except anonymously which I do here.

    Coming out the other side of it, I have learnt ot be more guarded and reign in what I say, choosing very carefully who I would talk with if there were to be somethign similar happen again.

    1. Hi anonymous (sorry, I don't know your name)

      I'm really disappointed to hear that you didn't have a good experience when you shared your heart with your church leader. Of course, church leaders are only human and make mistakes. I think part of the problem is that domestic violence (especially against men) just isn't talked about enough and people often don't know how to react to it when it is.

      I know several church leaders who I would trust to talk about such issues and several I wouldn't - I don't think it's fair to say that church leaders in general can't help victims of abuse, but some are obviously better equipped to do so than others. It helps if they have had specific training in this area of course.

      Anyway, thanks for engaging with us and for reading the blog. God is a great healer of emotions as well as physical problems and I pray that he will bring healing and comfort to you.