Abused men: an unknown and silenced reality
"My boyfriend has committed suicide," he said when he told the police, the 37-year-old woman. A short time later, based on the data collected in the results of the autopsy and the repeated contradictions, the woman was arrested for homicide.
It happened in Valencia last year, and this is one of the few cases of violence by women towards a man with whom she had a romantic relationship. The cases of men mistreated by their partner are relatively unusual , and yet those who suffer from it are also victims who need protection.
The mistreatment of men in numbers
According to the report on domestic violence of General Council of the Judiciary from Spain, the number of men killed at the hands of their partner or ex-partner would be approximately and:
|Murders of men||2||6||10||7||7|
The aggressors were five women and, in the case of homosexual couples, two men, according to the 2011 data.
Comparison with gender violence
The number of homicides of men at the hands of their partners or ex-partners, however, is not comparable to the number of victims of gender violence in quantitative terms.
For example, according to data from 2009, the number of men killed was 10, while the number of women murdered by men went up to 55 . The statistical difference is so substantial that it could be a more than probable explanation of why there are no specific studies on male victims.
The concept of domestic violence
The mistreatment by the woman towards the man is included in what is known as domestic violence. In addition, the data provided by the Statistics National Institute from Spain indicate that a quarter of the complaints of domestic violence correspond to aggressions by the woman towards her partner .
It is also known that a large number of women who mistreat their partners have suffered violence during their childhood or by one of their partners on previous occasions. The percentage of women who assault their partners without having previously been subjected to violence is much lower than that of men.
A silent and hidden violence
According to the data of the report on domestic violence of the General Council of the Judiciary, The average age of men killed by their partners or ex-partners was 45 years , and his nationality is usually Spanish. Only five of them maintained the coexistence with their aggressor at the time of his death. But the most significant thing is that none of the men killed by their partners had filed a complaint.
This type of violence in which it reproduces in the mistreatment of men is rare, but more invisible and silent compared to other forms of abuse.
Family and friends lend their help
The abused have a greater difficulty in recognizing that they are the object of these aggressions , they are not able to denounce it and it is often their environment that helps them to file charges. Men victims of domestic violence tend not to take legal action because of shame.
Thus, the majority of complaints are calls for help from relatives in the same environment. However, many of the abused men continue to deny having any such problem , do not assume the situation and believe that what happens to them falls within normality.
Abused men and the lack of social visibility
The fact that there are few cases of mistreatment towards men by their partners means that society does not have as much knowledge of this phenomenon compared to the opposite case, that is, the tragedy of sexist violence that leaves so many victims, as Unfortunately we are used to seeing in the news. Likewise, it also happens that the lack of attention from the media, the unfavorable treatment as public aid and the blow to their self-esteem, make many of the victims desist at the moment of going to the authorities.
The fact is that, culturally, man must be a model of strength . This is a social cliché as real as it is in the opposite case; Women must have a passive role and take care of their children. Thus, the man assaulted by his partner interprets what is happening to him as a sign of his own weakness, and this leads to the fact that instead of being aware of his role as a violated party, his masculinity and masculinity are questioned. It is for all of this that the victims do not tell their story and it is their lawyers who expose the facts before the authorities.
Examples of mistreatment and vexations towards man
This trivialization of mistreatment by male victims is easy to see in most cases.
A particular case is that of a man who, when he arrived from work, his wife slapped him and threw objects. He justified it by claiming that his wife had a mental illness and that it was not an everyday occurrence. It is, without any nuance, the same justification as in the case of women victims of sexist violence; the genre here lacks relevance, there is an aggressor and a victim who, out of shame, dependence and / or fear, rationalize their situation according to any mitigating factor.
On one occasion there was the case of a woman sentenced for mistreatment of her spouse, currently awaiting entry into prison. He was attacked on a daily basis, ironically he was a corpulent man who worked in security . He never defended himself from the aggressions of his wife, he feared that defending himself would mean violence on his part, given his social role as a man. Finally he denounced.
An unprecedented case is that of a man of normal stature and his girlfriend, a very stout foreign woman and athlete, as well as very violent. He said he had arrived in Spain fleeing the authorities in his country for killing two former couples. With the passage of time and events, he ended up believing it. He suffered aggressions constantly and even broke a foot . The last time she was arrested was when in the middle of the street she began to hit him with her fist in the face.
After a long time, he finally assumed that he should denounce, which terrified him since he believed that he would end up going after him. After several attacks he had to flee his own home and requested a restraining order after going to the doctor, who processed a part of injuries. But nevertheless, The order for removal was denied by the judge, since the victim's story was unlikely because he was a man . Four months later, he got a divorce; nevertheless the sequels remained. He is currently on sick leave and in psychiatric treatment for an acute anxious-depressive disorder.
Legal and cultural factors that play against
It is the case that there are innumerable legal differences when the victim is a male. In Spain, gender violence is substantially heavier than domestic violence, which also includes violence against women and violence against minors. For example, threats in the case that the woman is the victim are considered a criminal offense, while if the victim is a man it is typified as a lack . Of course, this does not serve to justify gender violence, but shows a lack of legislation.
This is one of the reasons why the problem is not addressed: the lack of visibility makes it not easy to devote time and resources to changing the legal framework and to build support platforms for abused men. Awareness is, in this aspect, a fundamental key for this to change.
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- The helplessness learned in the victims of mistreatment