Abused Men: a Silenced Reality

Abused men are an obvious reality although very little visible. There is almost no data or information about this type of situation. What happens when the man is mistreated?

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In 2004, the Organic Law of Integral Protection Measures against Gender Violence in Spain was approved. This law marked a before and after in the justice of our country: from this moment, the term gender violence began to be used as a type of aggression by men towards women. But does this law reflect all possible realities? How does it relate to cases of abused men?

According to current legislation, mistreatment of women is punished much more severely than mistreatment of men. This is because there are certain social norms in our country that make women susceptible to physical and psychological damage just because they are women.

However, what happens then to battered men? The cases that exist hardly have visibility and, in addition, the penalties are less severe against those who attack them. Therefore, many people believe that we are in a situation of injustice at the legal level. In this article we will see some of the most important keys regarding this matter.

But are there really abused men?

Many people believe that maltreatment in a couple occurs only in a one-way fashion against women. However, in Spain there are numerous associations that are responsible for visualizing a very different reality: abused men.

In fact, these associations defend the idea that the use of physical and emotional violence occurs almost equally between the two sexes, regardless of the direction of the abuse.

According to the sources we consult, between 25% and 40% of complaints about abuse are made by men; The difference in the number of complaints based on sex, therefore, is not as great as one might think. However, we constantly hear about situations in which women are mistreated.

The term domestic violence is the one that encompasses this type of abuse, which is exercised through physical aggression, insults and continuous disqualifications towards men.

Why there is lack of visibility

There is a clear lack of information on the problems of abused men. This is due to a set of factors, among which are:

  • Lack of credibility. Many men who propose to report abuse are met with disbelief by the authorities.
  • Shame. Some men tend to think that asking for help makes them weaker. In addition, others may feel ashamed and hurt in their manhood by the fact of being mistreated.
  • Shock against the current narrative. Even when complaints are lodged and cases of abuse against man are recorded, most of public opinion is largely unaware of this reality.
  • This is due to the psychological phenomenon known as cognitive dissonance. Because we believe that only women can be abused, we simply refuse to see the contradictory evidence that this may not always be the case.
  • Legal differences. The Law of Gender Violence blames men for being men. Therefore, just by registering a complaint, abused men directly enter the lists of crimes with violence. There is no separate category that covers this problematic reality.
  • Lack of support. There are many resources to assist battered women; however, battered men have hardly any associations or bodies to turn to.

Consequences of mistreatment towards men

Most of the time, domestic violence towards men does not usually result in fatalities. However, there can be many serious problems in abused man, such as an increased chance of developing a mental disorder.

Among other ailments, these men often end up suffering from psychological problems such as depression or anxiety.

In less severe cases, men who suffer violence at the hands of their partners suffer a great impairment in their self-esteem. This, in addition to making them develop a negative state of mind, affects their way of living from that moment.

As mentioned, psychological abuse does not usually cause fatalities, but it can cause a significant social, academic or work impairment in the person affected. This results in a serious deterioration in the quality of life.

At the opposite extreme, the most serious cases of battered men can end in suicide; in fact, suicide has a higher incidence rate in battered men than in battered women.

Domestic violence, no doubt, can precipitate situations that lead to possible suicide. And this does nothing but add gravity to the need to effectively address this problem.

Protecting women is fundamental in any civilized society. However, doing so should not be to the detriment of protecting the male sex as well. Although their suffering is different, men also have the right to be seen and worked for the eradication of mistreatment towards them.