Intimate partner violence is a form of domestic abuse that can include physical, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse. It can happen to anyone regardless of gender, race, class, or sexual orientation and is a complex issue with many factors at play. One of the contributing factors is the socialization of men; from a young age, boys are taught to be tough, to hide their emotions, and to be the breadwinner of the family. This socialization makes it harder for them to cope with being the victim of intimate partner violence. Societal beliefs have tied men to be superior, and in case of any abuse, it becomes a challenge to handle due to the fear of appearing weak or embarrassed.
Intimate Partner Violence
Men are socialized to be strong and not show vulnerability. This can make it difficult for them to reach out for help or to acknowledge that they are being abused (Walker et al., 2020). They may feel like they have to accept the abuse and deal with the abuse silently because that is what “real men” do. Some men may similarly blame themselves for not being able to stop the abuse or protect their partner (Walker et al., 2020). Finally, they may be reluctant to seek help because men are expected to be protectors and providers, and they do not want to appear weak or to admit to being abused by their partners.
Many men get embarrassed about the abuse, believing that it makes them look weak or unmanly. For some men, there is a sense of shame and humiliation associated with being a victim of Abuse (Gosselin, 2018). They may feel that they are not supposed to be victimized or that they should be able to “handle” the situation on their own. Some men worry that people will think less of them on revealing that they have been abused; still, other men stay silent about abuse because they are afraid of retaliation from the abuser (Gosselin, 2018). Others fear that people will not believe them or will blame them for the abuse or think of themselves to be the cause of the abuse.
The societal biasness nature of favoring women at the expense of men. Society is unfair in favor of women, especially given the growing number of female activists. This bias can make it difficult for men to speak out about their experiences with abuse, as they may not be taken seriously or be disbelieved altogether (Koya & Hanson-Harding, 2017). Similarly, society often perceives women as being too weak to abuse men; the stereotype is that only men can be abusers. This can make it difficult for men to recognize that they are being abused and even harder for them to reach out for help; whenever a man reports abuse, they are thought to be pretenders.
In conclusion, societal beliefs and notions make it hard for men to handle intimate partner violence. Society perceives men to be strong, and the head of families and expects nothing like being intimidated by a woman. Therefore, if any abuse occurs against the man, it becomes hard for men to report it due to the fear of embarrassment and appearing weak. Encouragement from friends that things may change with time worsens the abuse, thus overwhelming men. Handling intimate partner violence similarly becomes a challenge for men to handle since some of them fear that the abuser may threaten to hurt even more.
Gosselin, D. (2018). Family and intimate partner violence: Heavy hands (6th ed.). Pearson.
Koya, L., & Hanson-Harding, A. (2017). Female activists. The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc.
Walker, A., Lyall, K., Silva, D., Craigie, G., Mayshak, R., Costa, B.,… & Bentley, A. (2020). Male victims of female-perpetrated intimate partner violence, help-seeking, and reporting behaviors: A qualitative study. Psychology of Men & Masculinities, 21(2), 213.