Aside from October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
One of my family members was in an abusive relationship for over two years, and she hid it from out entire family. She never said anything until she finally left her boyfriend. If your first reaction is, “what took her so long to leave?” then you’re already perpetuating the violence that she endured. You shouldn’t ask why she didn’t leave. Instead you should ask why he hit her in the first place. Or does the fact that he almost killed not important to you.
Just like with sexual assault, people ask the wrong questions in domestic violence cases. Instead of asking why the attacker committed the crime, they ask how the victim is at fault. As usual, victim-blaming is the reason that many people do not come forward. What happened when my cousin came forward? The men in our family basically got pissed at all of the women. Yeah, fucking riduculous right? Well, that’s what happened. Instead of asking if she was okay, where she was gonna go, were her children okay, and if she needed to talk to a professional….all of us (women) were told that we “need to start making better decisions” as if she went into the relationship knowing that she would be beaten. That by not telling the men what was going on so that they could handle it, she made them look bad. Made them look weak.
I have to admit that I have never been more ashamed and disappointed in my family than I was that night. Disappointed that despite the fact that my cousin took a huge step in recovering from her abuse, she was shamed for it. Somehow their wounded egos mattered more than her bruised and beaten body. Instead of comforting her, they played victim and whined about their fragile masculinity.
This is just a part of the problem surrounding domestic abuse.
Some people (despite how many times we correct them) are still under the impression that men can’t be victims in this situation. Yes, they can and they are. Maybe not as often, but it’s still happens. From research I’ve done, there is still only one shelter for male victims that opened in Arkansas earlier this year. However, I was able to find a few sources specifically for men that I will link below.
Here are some important facts about DV:
- 1 in 4 women will experience severe physical violence from a partner
- 1 in 7 men will experience severe physical violence form a partner
- Alost 11% of women and over 2% of men are stalked by a partner
- Nearly half of all men and women in the U.S. experience psychological aggression from their partner
- National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
- Finding a shelter
- Sources for male victims