Coming Out of The Shadows
This article is dedicated to my father and all the men who are current victims or have been survivors of domestic violence and abusive relationships.
Silence. Embarrassment. Fear. Love. Hurt. Commitment. Feeling sorry.
It is ok to feel. You are not alone. I am here for you. Yes I am a women and I understand that I may not fully understand your feelings but please take a moment and listen.
Male Victims of Domestic Violence
My father has been a victim of domestic violence and a abusive relationship for 23 years. He has been beat, discouraged, taken away from his own finances, cheated on, manipulated, and other things that he has probably been silence about due to the safety of my sister and I. The worst part is that his perpetrator is my mother. My father is a good and patient man but he goes through the faces of fear, embarrassment, silence, not knowing what to do for himself or his daughter, and feeling sorry for my mother. I know that my father is not the only man who is going through this or that feels this way but patriarchal violence has been so engraved in our society that many over look males as survivors or victims of violence.
After going through advocacy training on sexual assault and domestic violence I realized that we continue to fail to expand our education and services to male survivors and victims. I want to refer to a question my professor Tanya Rawal asked during the course of Gender Theory, “Is epistemology a new hegemony theory in the humanity?” Through much thought and research, I have come to the conclusion that in the case of male survivors of domestic violence and abusive relationships we fail to acknowledge men due to the fact that for centuries we have highly focused on violence against women. I am not saying that violence against women should be oppressed but what I am trying to say is that violence against men needs to be brought to the table in order to influence and enrich our thoughts towards advocacy work that will help both genders effectively.
The Importance of Knowledge
“ This masculinizing process happens through a transformation of bodies, the assertion of racial privilege, and a shoring up of heterosexuality.” -C.J. Pascoe
Our society today is so focused on the knowledge of feminism and understanding the root of the problem, that we forget that there are minorities that continue to remain in the shadows. As a natural instinct, when we talk about domestic violence we tend to gravitate to women due to the fact that 1 in 4 women will be victims of severe violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime, but what if I told you that 1 in 7 men will be victims as well. We might not put so much thought into this trend but it is true and it should be talked about. Male survivors and victims deserve to be talked about in order to address the support systems and resources they need. When looking for statistics on domestic violence alone, the first five articles I came across solemnly focused on women as victims of domestic violence.
The fact that we continue to leave male victims and survivors in the shadows is allowing sexist thinking to flourish. We must begin addressing this issue by acknowledging that men are survivors and victims, teaching them since a young age that domestic violence in general is not right, and allowing men to get in touch with their feelings. I want to encourage men to break the silence and come out of the shadows. Even if it means supporting a male friend they may know who is a survivor of domestic violence or a abusive relationships.