The Second Class Victim

A hand is raised.

Clasped tightly, in a fist.

Impacting with a person.

When you think of it,

it could make any person wince,

And I guess you know the story, its him versus her, one struck given but that is one too many. Attacker and the victim.

Stop.

Imagine it.

What do you see?

Does the scene in your mind change, when it is she who hits him.

She may stand just 5 feet tall, and the fists are small, but they can still make a man bleed.

This is not a hurrah, no appraising remarks will be found on how women can be strong and threatening against their male counter parts. That is for another time and a drastically different context.  This topic will be something that is pushed into a shameful corner, something that gets laughed at, and is allowed to fester as almost socially accepted. I’m talking about male domestic abuse. While male domestic abuse is a rampant issue in the LGBTTQ community, I’ll be discussing more about the female & male domestic abuse category.

Men are always told to never hit women, because they are so much bigger. But it doesn’t make it acceptable for women to hit them because we are so much smaller.  Now before anyone gets on my case, I live in Sweden, I see my fair share of women over 180 cm (approx. 6 foot), so with the prior statement I’m talking about the average global population.  And yes, female domestic abuse is something horrendous,  but while it can never be talked about enough, I feel like male domestic abuse has very little light shed on it.

There is a lot of deep rooted problems with male domestic abuse that are very different from female domestic abuse. While shame and fear is common trends in both forms of survivors of domestic abuse, they seem to derive from different paths. A lot of female survivors are trapped because of financial means, and there is a culture of victim blaming, that the female acted and ”deserved” to be punished. Males feels shame and embarrassment because how can they be overpowered and be impacted by someone that is most likely physically less strong than them? When I dug into a few articles, one survivor said they called domestic abuse help lines, and reported they were abused, they asked how big they were, and how big their female abuser was, soon after the response was laughter and followed shortly with being hung up on.  Other males said when they went to report to the police, they weren’t taken seriously and were also hung up on. This response has a severe repercussion, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, men and boys are less likely to report the violence and seek services due to numerous challenges such as the stigma of being a male victim. Male domestic survivors are put into a disabling box of being second class victims.

It is apparent that male domestic abuse is not taken seriously, on one occasion when I was with a male classmate, (won’t disclose their name for privacy reasons) they said they had broken up with their girlfriend recently. I asked why, the response was ”She was nuts,”  ” Why was she nuts?” ”You’ll laugh at me,”  I assured him I wouldn’t and he went on to recount that his now ex had attacked him, in jealous rages, on a couple of occasions.  He couldn’t take it, so he left the relationship.  Even though he was well over 185 cm with a solid build, and the vision of some pint sized girl attacking him might seem comical, he was right to leave such a toxic situation.  But it was the remark, ”You’ll laugh at me,” that has stuck with me, when would abuse every seem funny?  For a lot of onlookers in this video, you see the stark contrast between attitudes towards male and female domestic abuse. Every bystander who stepped in for the woman was in the right, but males are humans as well, and do not deserve violence. Even if no severe damage is done by a female perpetrator,  no matter what any woman,man, or child does, the only time violence should be used is in necessary cases of self-defence.

Stereotypical attributes of being male is being tough, dominant, and aggressive. Males tend to be taller, wider, stronger, than females, that is a consistent biological aspect that does divide the two sexes. This may factor in why there is such a stigma and disbelief that females can abuse their male spouses/partners. Despite that belief, with the results of a study done in 2001, by the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health the researchers found that of the 18,761 relationships surveyed, 76 percent were non-violent and 24 percent were violent. Of the 24 percent that were violent, half had been reciprocal and half had not — reciprocal meaning there was violence inflicted by both partners. Although more men than women (53 percent versus 49 percent) had experienced nonreciprocal violent relationships, the statistic that was the most striking: in committing acts of domestic violence, more women than men (25 percent versus 11 percent) were the perpetrators. In fact, in the 71 percent of nonreciprocal partner violence instances, the instigator was the woman. This hinders the long-held belief that female aggression in a relationship is most often in the act of self-defence.

Some may say that this is not a feminist article, since right now the finger of blame is being pointed at females, but feminism to me is someone that holds up the standard of equal rights for both genders. Any female should be safe walking in her home, and so should any male.  No fist, no matter how big or small they are, should ever be raised against another.

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