Many people consider domestic violence an issue that exclusively affects women. However, men can also be victims of abuse from intimate partners and it is often harder for men to seek help due to the stigma surrounding this issue. If you believe you are being abused, it is crucial to receive help. The first step is to understand how domestic abuse affects men and what to look for.
Signs of abuse
Most abusive relationships entail a cycle of events that typically play out in the same manner. First, your abuser threatens violence or behaves in a violent manner towards you. Next, the abuser apologizes for his or her actions and make promises to never do it again. At this point, the abuser may offer gifts or pledge to seek treatment, either behavioral counseling or help for dependency issues. Over time, the abusive behavior returns, only to have the cycle repeat itself again.
Abuse can also entail name-calling, hitting, slapping, kicking, possessiveness and jealousy, sexual violence or coercion, threatening, and financial control. In relationships between two men, the abuser may threaten to reveal the victim’s sexual identity to friends and family in an attempt to maintain control over the relationship.
How abuse affects children
Living in an abusive household causes lifelong effects in children. These children have a higher rate of behavioral and psychiatric problems, as well as experiencing low self-confidence in greater numbers. Children witness to domestic violence are also more likely to behave aggressively, which can lead to issues within their own romantic relationships down the line.
What you can do
The first step is to tell someone else what is going on. Whether it is a friend, counselor, or domestic violence hotline, talking to someone about what you are going through will provide you a better perspective. When communicating with others, make sure you do it away from home. If possible, use a work or library computer to send emails or look for information on leaving.
When you feel ready, make a plan to get out of the home and find alternate lodgings, even on a temporary basis. Pack a bag with some essential items (toothbrush and change of clothes) and important documents, such as birth certificates and banking information. The prospect of leaving your abuser is intimidating, but it’s the only way to break the cycle of violence and get the help you need.