a man sitting on the floor covering his face

Abuse Isn’t Gender-Bound

Men Can Suffer From Abusive Relationships Too

Mental health and wellbeingSafety and crimeSocial Issues
By VoiceBox ·

Rahul Gulati

Rahul Gulati is the founder of an ecommerce web development company DevignTech. He helps entrepreneurs realize their digital dream and make professional websites and does coaching sessions to develop marketing strategies. https://devigntech.com/

Abuse Isn’t Gender Bound: Men Can Suffer From Abusive Relationships Too

Please note: this article includes sensitive topics that some people might find difficult. Please visit our Resources Page for help.

Men. Over the years, they’ve been portrayed as strong, confident individuals who have little to no emotions. They’re the fighters. Another narrative that many believe in is they are the abusers and never the victims. But, is it true? 

As per the report by ManKind Initiative, one in three abuse victims is male. This clearly shows that they’re also at the receiving end of abuse, yet we never talk about it. All the advertisements, protests and campaigns are directed toward women, and not men. While this is understandable because the majority of domestic abuse victims are women, we must not ignore the fact that there are male victims that need support as well. Whilst it is difficult for any victim to report it, men often find it particularly hard to speak about it. Talking about their abuse will make people question their strength and dignity, and it is likely that no one will believe it at first. 

There have been many instances of women misusing the law and power, that was once created for their safety, to keep their men powerless. The Amber Heard, Johnny Depp trial is a recent and high-profile example of this. Here are a few more examples:

Once my cousin and I were talking about the abuse women face in their lives. To contradict this, she mentioned a guy in her office. He’s a kind person and great to be around. Apparently, his wife is the complete opposite. Their first few years of marriage went peacefully until the wife wanted him to cut all connections with his parents. He resisted, and fights became prominent. Eventually, she filed for a divorce, and after a short battle, she won. She also got custody of their son, giving him only one day a week of visitation. To add to the pain, she would only let him see his son for two hours on those days. He loved his son immensely, so this crushed him. Being a man, he feels he can’t break down in front of others and express his pain, but instead accepts it and lives by it. Everyone who knows him closely can feel his pain. 

A similar incident happened in my country. A woman used her husband as a sponsor for her lavish lifestyle. She would force him to spend an enormous amount of money on her, and when he refused, she would threaten him with a police complaint of domestic violence and dowry cases. She would even physically abuse him. When one fine day he went to the police station with his complaint, no one believed him. He had to bring CCTV footage along with him the next time.

Many such incidents are happening all around the world where men are suppressed either by the superficial image we have of them or are threatened with lawsuits that were once made to protect vulnerable women. Times have changed, and people have changed. 

When men are in an abusive relationship and are faced with constant suppression, they can face serious mental health issues. They struggle to pretend to be strong and hide their weakness in their everyday life. 

In 2020, men died by suicide 3.88x more than women in the US alone. Speaking about the worldwide figure, men’s suicide rates are twice as high compared to women's.  A significant reason for this is that we have forced them to fit into a superficial, strong, confident, image created over the years. “Men don’t cry.” “Men don’t have emotions.” “Men can’t have moments of weakness or vulnerability.” These are all harmful and false statements. Men are human and feel pain as much as women can. 

So, it’s time we start to acknowledge the presence of male victims and support them in every way possible. Help them stand up and speak up about the abuse they face in their lives, and believe them when they share their struggles. Offer them our support. Remember, abuse is not gender-bound.

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