ANALYSIS: SHIKANDA KAWANGA
IF YOUâ€™RE a man in an abusive relationship, itâ€™s important to know that youâ€™re not alone. It happens to men from all cultures and all walks of life.
Therefore, hiding the abuse that you may be going through may not be the best option especially with the escalating numbers of men being killed by their spouses.
Though a majority of domestic violence victims are women, abuse of men happens far more often than anyone would probably expect.
The recent reports of male abuse has been in the limelight mainly because deaths occurred. Infact, there are a lot of men that are in abusive relationships, but could never disclose even to their closest relative or best friend.
Some men have been battered, clobbered and have undergone all forms of abuse but non-of-them has the guts to come out in the open and report to the relevant authorities or even just their relatives.
For instance, the recent male victims were just publicised because the worst happened.
Many men feel great shame that theyâ€™ve been beaten down by a woman or failed in their role as protector and provider for the family.
Families have reported the cases to police after loosing a loved one, a situation that is sad because that is a permanent loss that probably could have been avoided if men report abuse at an infant stage.
Typically, men are physically stronger than women but that doesnâ€™t necessarily make it easier to escape the violence inflicted by their partners in the relationships.
Some studies show that globally, more than 830,000 men fall victim to domestic violence every year and in America it is estimated that every 37.8 seconds, a man is the victim of domestic abuse.
Further studies also suggest that as many as one in three victims of domestic violence are male.
However, men are often reluctant to report abuse by women because they feel embarrassed, or they fear they wonâ€™t be believed, or worse still that police will assume theyâ€™re are the perpetrators of the violence and not the woman.
When the roles are reversed, and the man is the victim of the abuse, people are even more bemused.
However, anyone whoâ€™s been in an abusive relationship knows that itâ€™s never that simple ending a relationship even if itâ€™s an abusive one.
Denying that there is a problem in your relationship will only prolong the abuse. You may believe that you can help your abuser or she may have promised to change. But change can only happen once your abuser takes full responsibility for her behaviour and seeks professional treatment.
Domestic violence and abuse can have a serious physical and psychological impact on both you and your children.
The first step to stopping the abuse is to reach out. Talk to a friend, family member, or someone else you trust, or call a domestic violence helpline.
Admitting that there is a problem and seeking help doesnâ€™t mean you have failed as a man or as a husband. You are not to blame, and you are not weak. Sharing details of your abuse can also be the first step in building a case against your abuser.
Precautions are also important in preventing possible abuse when dealing with an abusive partner. Men must be aware of any signs that may trigger a violent response from the spouse or partner and be ready to leave quickly.
Abused men must never retaliate to avoid legal implications. An abusive woman or partner will often try to provoke you into retaliating. If you retaliate, youâ€™ll be the one to be arrested.
One may feel that they have to stay in the relationship because they want to protect the children. The abused worry that if they leave, the spouse will harm their children or prevent them from having access to them.
It is important to know that domestic abuse is not limited to violence. A spouse or partner may also verbally abuse you, belittle you, or humiliate you in front of friends, colleagues, or family, or on social media.
Be possessive, act jealous, or harass you with accusations of being unfaithful.
Even if an abused man faces skepticism from police, and major legal obstacles, No matter the age, occupation, or sexual orientation, you can escape the abuse.
The police have an obligation to protect men, just as they do to female victims.
The same protocols that are used to address domestic violence against women are used to handle domestic violence against men.
Research also shows that the same abusive behaviours and tactics demonstrated by men (physical, verbal and emotional threats and intimidation) are also demonstrated by women.
The fear and shame that is felt as a result of being abused, as well as the excuses made to cover up the abuse, are not gender-specific.
The author is a Livingstone-based Zambia Daily Mail correspondent.
Abuse of men happens far more often
ANALYSIS: SHIKANDA KAWANGA