October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and I have a few thoughts about this. When people talk about domestic violence, people usually think of abusive husbands or boyfriends abusing the ones they proclaim to love. People never really discuss things when it’s the other way around, though. When the woman is the abuser against a man, people just don’t take it as seriously for some reason. Whenever it’s discussed, it’s framed more as a joke instead of the serious problem it is.
Just look at how the media treats domestic abusers. Male abusers are rightfully vilified, having the title of abuser follow them around. When you heard the name of boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr., you remember that he went to jail for hitting a woman. What is unfortunate about today’s society is that when someone committed a wrong like this, if they have a talent, they can continue to find work. That is what keeps Mayweather in business, his ability to take a punch. Still, it does not erase the memory people have of what he did, and it’s a stigma that will follow him well after his boxing career is over.
But when you take an athlete who is equally as talented but switch the genders, how that athlete is discussed seems to change. Just take the case of Hope Solo, the goalkeeper for the U.S. National Soccer Team. Solo was arrested for domestic abuse committed against her half sister and her nephew. Even though the charges were initially dismissed, an appeals court in Washington state overruled the dismissal and Solo will be facing charges once more.
The difference between how these two figures were treated is that Mayweather’s abusive nature was rightly pointed out while Solo’s was not. Never during any of Fox’s Women’s World Cup coverage did they mention Solo’s charges, at least not while I was watching. There is a double standard in how male abusers are treated and women abusers.
It gets even worse when the victim of a female abuser just happens to be an adult male. That’s when the subject turns into something of a joke in people’s minds. People just don’t view men being beaten by women as seriously as the other way around. According to Edward Rhymes, writing for Mint Press News, there are more than 830,000 men who fall victim to domestic abuse. Rhymes also said that in 71 percent of instances where “nonreciprocal violence” occurred, the instigator was a woman.
There are ways for men to get help, but it is more difficult for them to reach out because of various societal pressures. According to the Help for Abused Men page on HelpGuide.org, reasons include wanting to protect children from being abused by their spouse, feeling ashamed for being beaten by a woman, afraid of being outed if in a gay relationship, or are in denial about the abuse. The most insidious reason given by this guide, in my opinion, is a lack of resources for the abuse victim. Men abused by women tend to not believed by authorities, or the abuse in minimized.
We live in a society where there is hardly any sympathy for male victims of abuse. There are no Lifetime movies about the husband abused by his spouse. Whenever something like this is shown in the media, the man is the butt of the joke. If you do not believe it, check out this video literally titled:
Here is the link to the video:
Finally, no victim deserves the abuse they receive. Everyone who finds themselves in the hands of an abuser needs a lifeline to pull them out. It doesn’t matter if it’s a man or a woman, victims need our help and support.
HelpGuide.org gives links on their page on how to get help if you are in an abusive relationship. Please check out the link below.