Domestic violence

Men were victims of just over a quarter of incidents of domestic violence in 2010, according to the British Crime Survey. Find out about the signs of domestic violence, and where to get support if it’s happening to you.

Anybody can be affected by domestic abuse, and anyone can be an abuser. It doesn’t just happen to women – men can be victims too, whether their partner is a man or a woman.
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If it’s happening to you, it’s important to tell someone and to remember that you’re not alone.

More men are coming forward than a few years ago, and the services to support them are improving very quickly.

Talking to someone

It can be difficult for men to say they need help, and to know where to go once they’ve decided to talk to someone. “Men can be reluctant to say that they are victims, and they worry that they won’t be believed,” says Ippo.

“What I’d say to these men is: there’s more help out there than you think. The key is to talk to someone. A lot of men who call the helpline have seen our website first or emailed us, and we’ve responded. Some men email and ask us to call them back, which we do.”

Domestic abuse is very serious, whether it happens to men or women. Don’t feel that you have to put up with it.

How do I know if I am experiencing abuse?

There are different kinds of abuse.

Emotional abuse

The person abusing you may:

  • belittle you, or put you down
  • blame you for the abuse or for arguments
  • deny that abuse is happening, or play it down
  • isolate you from your family and friends
  • make unreasonable demands for your attention

Threats and intimidation

The person abusing you may:

  • threaten to hurt you or kill you
  • destroy things that belong to you
  • stand over you, invade your personal space
  • threaten to kill themselves, and/or the children
  • read your emails, texts or letters
  • harass or follow you

Physical abuse

The person abusing you may hurt you in a number of ways. These could include:

  • slapping, hitting or punching
  • pushing or shoving
  • biting, kicking
  • burning you
  • choking you
  • throwing things
  • holding you down

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse can happen to anyone, whether they’re male or female. The person abusing you may:

  • touch you in a way you don’t want to be touched
  • make unwanted sexual demands
  • hurt you during sex
  • pressure you to have sex
  • pressure you to have unsafe sex (for example, not using a condom)

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Your partner may also accuse you of flirting or cheating on them. If you ever feel scared of your partner, or you have changed your behaviour because you’re afraid of what your partner might do, you could be in an abusive relationship.

As well as talking to someone when you realise you’re in an abusive relationship, try to gather evidence about what’s happening. This could include taking photographs of any injuries or bruises, and reporting it to your doctor. You could also keep a diary of what happens, and the story of the abuse will show.

Try not to respond with violence. Violence breeds more violence, and if you retaliate then this can make the abuser’s violence worse.There’s also the risk that they will call the police, and you will be seen as the abuser.

Where you can go for help

You don’t have to wait for an emergency situation to get help. You can:

  • talk to your doctor
  • call Men’s Advice Line free on 0808 801 0327 (Monday-Friday 9am-5pm), or email info@mensadviceline.org.uk
  • call The ManKind Initiative National helpline: 01823 334244 (Monday to Friday 10am – 4pm and 7pm – 9pm). or visit  http://www.mankind.org.uk
  • call Mankind on 01273 911680 or visit http://www.mankindcounselling.org.uk
  • in an emergency, call 999

These organisations provide a confidential helpline for men who have experienced, or are experiencing, domestic abuse from their partners or ex-partners. It’s available to all men in the UK.

The staff are trained to listen and look at ways of helping you. These might include:

  • providing information and practical advice
  • giving you time to talk through what’s happening
  • signposting you to other specialist organisations, such as domestic violence units; mental health organisations; emotional support services; services for gay, bisexual and trans (GBT) men; and organisations providing immigration, housing and legal advice; parenting advice and support; and help with child contact issues

If you decide to leave

The first step in escaping an abusive situation is realising that you’re not alone and it’s not your fault. Try to get advice before you go.

If you’re considering leaving, be careful who you tell. It’s important that your partner doesn’t know where you’re going. Planning is very important. If you decide to leave, it will help to take:

  • documents, including birth certificates for your children, passports, any medical records, benefits books, and mortgage or rent details
  • your address book
  • house keys
  • if you have young children: baby items, some clothes and a special toy for each child

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