For the sake of enabling men to open up about being victims of abuse, as well as for the strengthening of the #MeToo movement, more men need to start coming forward. Whether it be as victims of sexual harassment, rape or abuse, becoming involved with the movement could help change the stigma around victims of abuse. As it becomes more commonplace to address the abuse of men, also the act of coming forward can become normalized culturally. Maybe then men can open up about their experiences without being ridiculed.
I still remember one of the first times I opened up to someone about my past as a victim of domestic abuse. The idea of my girlfriend, who was much smaller than me, abusing me was ludicrous to my friend. I will never forget the experience of being laughed at about my abuse by someone who I considered to be a friend. I felt completely humiliated. It was that day when I realized that the stigma surrounding the abuse of men in America was unforgiving.
Now that we are in the midst of the #MeToo movement, issues of abuse and sexual misconduct are being dragged out of the shadows and into the light. Despite this, issues of men suffering abuse at the hands of their partners is largely overlooked. While violence towards women is far more prevalent, and is protected systemically, violence towards men is largely hidden due to social norms and conceptions of masculinity. Men are expected to be strong physically and emotionally at all times, so physical abuse at the hands of a female partner is considered shameful.
As people are pushing for normative changes in the way women are treated societally, a shift in how we view masculinity is a necessity as well. While many traditional ideas of masculinity — such as excluding the rights of women — lead to the abuse and sexual misconduct against women, they also lead to an inability for men to express their own experiences when they themselves are abused. Men do not currently have a proper platform for those types of discussions. Without healthy outlets to discuss these issues and bring them to light, it’s hard for them to move past the abuse.
If you are a victim of abuse, visit UW
Tacoma’s Counseling Center located in
MAT 354, open 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
Monday through Friday.