Men Suffering Abuse
It can be especially hard for men experiencing abuse to seek help. You may feel ashamed of the situation and fear that others would not believe you or would consider the situation ridiculous. But experiencing abuse as a man, does not mean that you are weak. It takes a lot of strength and self-control, not to hit back against someone, especially if you are physically stronger than them. You might stay in a harmful relationship to support your wife or girlfriend, hoping she will change, or to protect your children, and endure years of suffering as a result. Living in fear of violence, or with threats and humiliating comments, chips away at your self-esteem, regardless of gender, and can make it harder to see a way out of the situation. As fewer men suffer long-term domestic abuse you may feel especially isolated.
Domestic abuse is about power and control. Unpleasant behaviour can happen in all relationships, especially if they are breaking down, but in an abusive relationship the dominant partner uses violence and abuse to frighten and control the other partner. If this is the case in your relationship, your partner chooses to use bullying or violent behaviour. She may be sorry and promise to change, but she is always responsible for how she behaves and it is not your fault. Domestic abuse is always wrong and usually gets worse over time.
You may feel that there is no support for men in abusive relationships and you have few options. You can ring the Sheffield DACT Helpline on 0808 808 2241 to get support and information and they can refer you to services that may help including the new city-wide Domestic Abuse Outreach Service. There are also other organisations, in Sheffield and nationally, specialising in helping men who are suffering abuse (details below). All the legal options for protection from domestic abuse are available to men as well as women. Professionals will take allegations of abuse seriously and can listen to your story and help you make sense of the situation. Social attitudes are changing and, as people start to understand domestic abuse better, you might be surprised at how supportive friends can be.
If you are a man suffering domestic abuse:
- Don’t Retaliate – using violence, even in self-defence, may make the violence worse and police may confuse you for the perpetrator
- Ring the Police – if you are frightened or in danger call 999. Police will treat allegations of abuse seriously and will record incidents, which may help if you choose legal routes later
- Ring or Email Sheffield DACT Helpline on 0808 808 2241 – they can listen to you, give you advice and tell you about local support options
- Ring Respect’s Men’s Advice Line – they can help you talk through the situation, make sense of it and advise you of your options
- Get Medical Help – visit your doctor for treatment of injuries or for support. Your doctor can also help with any depression or sleeplessness.
- Make a Safety Plan – think about what you would need if you had to leave suddenly.Keep keys, cash, mobile phone and important documents (like passports) in a safe place or with a friend or family member.
Gay men suffering abuse
As well as the other abusive behaviours mentioned above, as a gay man, you may be taunted for your homosexuality. Your partner may threaten to tell family, friends or work colleagues against your will or he might prevent you from being openly gay because he wants to keep his own sexuality secret. You may also be more at risk if your partner is physically strong. There are specialist resources for gay men in abusive relationships (details below) and further information on the LGB Relationships page.
As a gay man, you are entitled to the same confidentiality and support from services and legal protection as anyone else.
- Domestic abuse is never acceptable, regardless of the gender or sexual orientation of those involved.
- Professionals will take the abuse seriously.
- Don’t retaliate.
- Get help and support.
Support Organisations for Men
Sheffield DACT Helpline, Outreach and IDVAS: 0808 808 2241
Samaritans: 276 7277 (24 hours)
Victim Support: 275 8411
Men’s Advice Line: 0808 801 0327
A national confidential helpline for men experiencing abuse in heterosexual or same-sex relationships