Forget Me Not: #MaybeSHEdoesnthityouJune 20, 2016
The hashtag #maybehedoesnthityou is lighting up Twitter and was quite the story last week. What an amazing way to bring attention to the realities of domestic violence. I’ve talked about statistics before. 1 in 4 women have been the victim of severe physical violence against them by an intimate partner in their lifetime. It is important to note that these are the ones who report the abuse. Furthermore, these statistics only account for women who have reported an instance of severe physical violence. What about the ones who do not report their abusers? What about the ones who are emotionally, financially, or otherwise abused by their partner? These individuals are not counted. Which begs the question: exactly how many people out there are being abused by their intimate partner?
As I read the stories posted alongside the #maybehedoesnthityou hashtag, it came to mind that many men also suffer at the hands of an abuser. When it comes to severe physical violence, 1 in 7 men have reported abuse by an intimate partner in their lifetime. But how many of them do not report the violence? How many of them are emotionally and verbally abused? Statistics tell us that men are much more likely to be the perpetrators of physical violence, but we often fall short of mentioning just how many men are verbally and emotionally abused by the women in their life. Their cries for help often go unanswered and their comments on abuse are often brushed aside. But what would happen if we added the hashtag #maybeSHEdoesnthityou? What then? Would men stand up and share their stories? Would more see violence against a man, by an intimate partner, in the same light as we see violence against a woman.
Our society tells men that they have to “man up,” “be tough,” and never admit defeat, which often leads to men feeling ashamed or unwilling to seek out help. No one should have to live a life of emotional and verbal abuse, male or female. Emotional abuse of a man is the same as emotional abuse of a woman. Yelling or screaming at your partner, name calling, treating them like a child, stalking, demeaning them, putting them down, forced control of the household and finances (“wearing the pants in the family”), and speaking poorly of them in front of others are all forms of emotional abuse.
#MaybeSHEdoesnthityou, but that does not mean that you are not being abused. Men, share your story and help educate others on this important topic. It is only by helping others to walk in your shoes that they will have a better understanding of the far reaches of domestic violence.