by Oluseye Igbafe
While relating with a couple recently, I came to appreciate the fact that men are also abused. It sounds almost unbelievable, I mean, there are so many instances of women being victims of domestic violence, verbal abuse and emotional abuse perpetrated by men, that the concept of men being abused seems absurd; and the number of possible victims, negligible.
The truth is, it is not as negligible as we think. The stereotype that the man is stronger and therefore always the initiator of every form of abuse is totally wrong. This prevailing image of “man as aggressor” leads to the common belief that he’s somehow “earned” his abuse by provoking his abuser.
While women can easily share their abuse stories and receive support, love and encouragement, men cannot. Society has set such high standards for men and what defines masculinity that to admit to being abused is akin to admitting to being a weakling, a failure and less of a man. Most men therefore live in denial of the abuse.
The symptoms of emotional abuse are in my previous article (10 Warnings Signs of an Abusive Relationship)
In addition to the above article, other ways in which a woman may perpetrate emotional abuse include:
1. Belittling her man, minimizing his accomplishments and repeatedly telling him that he is worthless or a failure.
2. Constantly accusing him of being unfaithful or requiring him to “prove” he's not cheating.
3. Keeping constant tabs on him, demanding that he check in regularly. She may also monitor where he goes and with whom.
4. Isolating him from his friends and family.
5. Accusing his friends and family of lying in order to “drive them apart”.
6. Using or denying sex and intimacy as a form of control.
7. Snooping through his emails, texts, instant messages, phone calls and social media profiles.
8. Extreme mood swings
9. Name calling
10. Public humiliation
Women rarely inflict physical abuse in the same way as men. However, it can still happen. Examples of the ways a woman may perpetrate physical abuse include:
1. Holding the man by the collar
2. Destroying property
5. Striking out with fists or feet
6. Using weapons such as shoe heels, knives, etc.
Reaction to Abuse
· Some men try to avoid their wives by spending more time at work so they don't have to go home early. Others turn to drinking or use of recreational drugs to escape or numb themselves to the unhappiness of the situation.
· Some even engage in risky behaviors in which their death would be considered “accidental” like reckless driving, riding a bike alone through rough terrain, going into dangerous neighborhoods, or walking into traffic without looking, etc; while some begin to manifest "stress-related" chronic stomach pain, nausea, headaches, digestive problems, insomnia or fatigue.
The feelings of inadequacy overwhelm some men and in order to exert themselves and prove their "manliness", they resort to physically harming their spouses’ i.e. domestic violence. This is not in any way a justification or an excuse for domestic violence. Domestic violence can never be right or justified but really, there is a link between emotional abuse and domestic violence that needs to be mentioned.
Relationships are meant to build people up, provide emotional support and upliftment and not demoralize. Once abuse creeps into a relationship, both parties become miserable and the essence of the relationship becomes defeated. Admittedly, clashes and quarrels are inevitable; the best way to maintain healthy relationships is to find non-abusive ways to communicate and resolve differences.
We would like to hear from you. Do you agree that men can also be victims of abuse? Share your thoughts.