Domestic violence and men
Although over the years we have worked only with women who have experienced domestic violence, at Louisa we acknowledge that men too can be victims of domestic violence. Part of our remit as a community organization is to work with men who are escaping violent relationships, whether they are escaping a female or male partner. Many of the characteristics of domestic violence are the same, whether they are experienced by a man or a woman; physical, psychological, financial or social abuse leading to distress and trauma, a lack of self-esteem, fear for one’s safety, and a sense of hopelessness.
But there are also differences between the ways that men and women experience domestic violence, and how it affects them. And differences between men whose abusers are women, and those whose abusers are other men with whom they live in a gay relationship. Men are less likely to be subject to abuse after leaving a relationship than women, and less likely to be seriously injured than women. But as many who experience violence in the home know, psychological and emotional abuse can be just as debilitating.
Both men and women under-report experiencing abuse in the home, but for somewhat different reasons. Many men feel that they will not be taken seriously, and will be the brunt of jokes if they approach the police or community service organisations about the abuse they are suffering. If you are a man in a gay relationship, you may fear homophobic responses. And if you are a man whose abuser is a woman, you may feel that others will judge you for not being ‘man enough’ to handle the situation on your own. Stereotypes about men and women might stop you from seeking advice, because there is an attitude out there that men don’t want to or need to discuss their feelings. And indeed, you may feel uncomfortable talking about intimate matters with a stranger.
At Louisa, we will tailor our support and advice to your situation, and provide you with resources that are specifically for men escaping domestic violence. We are here to listen to your experience if you would like to share it, to help you take practical steps to safeguard your future and that of your children, and provide you with support and advice. You don’t need to stay in a violent relationship because of fear or lack of options – we can help you to make the break and be safe, and we can link you in with services that are specifically for men. If you have a look at our links page, you’ll see that we have listed some of those services.