Friday, 11 March 2016

Men Get Hurt Too

I've been reading a lot of articles, and news stories recently about rape and domestic violence, and I've noticed something quite disturbing. They all seem to talk exclusively about the vulnerability and victimization of women. What about men?

It has been estimated  (National Institute of Justice & Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women Survey. 1998.)  that almost 3 million men in the US have suffered rape or serious sexual assault. That's 1 in 33 men.

According to An Overview of Sexual Offending in England and Wales, the first ever joint official statistics bulletin on sexual violence released by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), Office for National Statistics (ONS) and Home Office in January 2013. over 12,000 men are raped in England and Wales every year.

Domestic violence is even more prevalent. In the UK alone, government statistics show that 1 in 6 men will suffer from domestic abuse at some point in their lives.

In a report in The Guardian from September 2010 it is suggested that over 40% of victims of domestic violence are men.

For a whole host of information about domestic violence against men, including individual stories, studies and statistics see this useful link.

Have you noticed something a little odd about anything I've said above? No? Take a look at the title of the study that provided my first piece of information. The estimation of the number of men who have suffered rape in the UK came from a study about violence against women.

Most of the resources aimed at victims of domestic violence are aimed or only available to women.

For example in the UK Women's Aid is a huge advocate for abused women, involved in a wide variety of fundraising and providing support from counselling to advocacy and safe houses. Refuges and safe houses are not open to men. They are out there, but they have to be searched for and the help is not as comprehensive as for women.

Bear in mind also that a woman is many times more likely to report rape/domestic violence than men. Reasons for this include social pressure, attitude of the police, expectations and so much more. This tends to indicate that the statistics are actually even higher.

As LGBT writers we write about the hidden victims; the rent boys, the kids thrown out of their homes because of their gender/sexuality, the men hiding black eyes and bruised ribs, and moving on from abusive relationship. If we ever think the work we do isn't important, that it's just for fun, think about this - if we don't write about it, who will? Who will will write about it at all? How much male abuse/rape/domestic violence appears in mainstream books?

Something to think about.

Some resources that might be helpful

Elder Abuse
Broken Rainbow (specifically for LGBT)
Mankind Initiative (who also have a refuge)
Men's advice line

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