Violence against an intimate partner or family member is an abhorrent and very real problem in Australia. It has catastrophic, long-term effects on men, women and children. It isn’t confined to just a small demographic either, as it crosses gender, cultural, socio-economic, religious and racial lines as well as sexual preference.
Thankfully, inroads have been made into raising awareness about domestic violence against women and children. It’s important though, to realise that one in three victims of domestic violence is male, and unfortunately, blokes affected by DV have until recently been treated as an anomaly rather than a legitimate group of victims. There is a stigma around male victims who quite often find themselves being told that they should “just man-up” or find that they are not being believed in the first place. In a space where there is little to no support for male victims, the problem is exacerbated by blokes not seeking help for fear of ridicule.
Some of the types of domestic violence that men may find themselves exposed to are almost identical to those experienced by women:
- Physical Abuse: This occurs when someone uses physical force like slapping, kicking or hitting against another person. It can start slowly and inconspicuously and be ignored or fly under the radar for a period of time and then escalate.
- Emotional Abuse: Is a power play by the abuser. They are attempting to destroy the victim’s self-esteem, confidence and independence. Emotional abuse is difficult to pick as it isn’t physical however it may include; name calling; blaming a partner for all the problems in a relationship; unlawfully denying or restricting access to children; embarrassing them publicly and intentionally; constant comparisons to others to undermine self-esteem and self-worth; intimidation and humiliation on-line. Someone who is the victim of emotional abuse may find that their self-esteem is so low that it is nearly impossible to leave the relationship. Emotional abuse is often a result of verbal abuse and can be both in person or online.
- Financial Abuse: Can be both subtle and quite blatant. It can include; taking complete control over all finances; refusal to seek employment or contribute to the household expenditure; providing inadequate funds and constantly monitoring what the partner spends; controlling access to bank accounts; identity theft to gain credit or using credit cards without permission.
As it stands, support agencies and networks are limited and this needs to be addressed as a present and ever-growing public health issue. For a bloke who feels that they are a victim of family violence, keeping channels of communication open with mates and mentors can be a good first step in letting us know that we’re not alone, while creating a support network that understands our current position. If this is difficult or you’re feeling isolated Mensline Australia 24/7 support and advice line (1300 789 978) is a great starting point to have a chat about our relationship.
Glen and the Team
The Regional Men’s Health Initiative
delivered by Wheatbelt Men’s Health (Inc.)
PO Box 768, Northam WA 6401
Phone: 08 9690 2277