Within the last year, the plight of domestic abuse victims across Australia has received much needed attention and care with new government initiatives directed to providing support and relief. However such services have tended to segment those who are affected by focusing the majority of efforts on women and children and overlooking male victims of abuse as well as other minorities.
When we think about domestic violence it is generally a women’s issue, while most high profile awareness drives, such as The White Ribbon Campaign, are aimed at reducing male violence against women.The lack of recognition within mainstream media and by government agencies of the legitimacy of male experiences of domestic violence, ultimately fuels the social shame surrounding being a male victim. A simple Google of such keywords will allow you to see for yourself, a plethora of articles dedicated to raising awareness to this issue, each including a case study to reinforce how often this shame affects men.
The issue of domestic violence against men is undoubtedly controversial. Academics have previously accused men’s rights groups of using it to derail feminism whilst men’s groups address the double standards within society by stressing how their experiences are not taken with the same seriousness by the public as well as those dealing with these issues on the front line e.g. police, judges and refuges. Current culture stereotypes men as brooding heroes where it would be emasculating to admit to experiencing fear or harm, let alone from a woman.
In order to eradicate the shame felt by male victims we must first deconstruct gender roles and perceptions held by the wider public. We’d like to acknowledge that domestic violence is not a gender issue but a humanistic one where each story deserves to be treated with the respect of sufficient support.
We encourage all those who wish to share their experience with our organisation and we’d love to feature case studies on our blog.
For further assistance regarding domestic abuse, contact Mensline 1300 789 978.