Husband Abuse – Definition
The ultimate goal of any abuser is to assert their power and maintain control over their partner. Unfortunately, very little attention has been paid to the issue of domestic abuse and violence against men. The idea that men could be victims of domestic abuse and violence is so unthinkable that many men will not even attempt to report the situation. To help protect the rights and safety of abused husbands, greater social awareness and understanding is needed.
One study by the renowned University of Calgary researcher Eugen Lupri, reported that while 17.8% of husbands had admitted to abusing their female partners, 23.3% of the wives admitted to abusing their male partners.(Sources: Eugen Lupri, Why Does Family Violence Occur, in Everyday Life, Lorne Tepperman and James Curtis, editors. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1992)
When many of us hear the words “domestic violence,” we automatically assume the victim would be a female and the attacker would be a male, we don’t often hear or think about the husband being the victim. After all, men are traditionally viewed as the more aggressive of the two sexes, and the victims of most domestic abuse situations are indeed women. But a surprising number of domestic violence episodes do involve women as the aggressors, creating a new category of victim known as the battered husband. A battered husband suffers the same emotional, verbal and physical abuse as a battered wife, but is less likely to report these crimes to authorities. A battered husband often employs the same defensive tactics as a battered wife, including denial, withdrawal and disconnection.
The shame, embarrassment and fear abused husbands and men feel about being laughed at, criticized and ridiculed by society, police and the court system must feel unbearable. Mentally and emotionally abused men are routinely put down, criticized and ridiculed by their own wives and girlfriends, only to be victimized again by society and those in uniform whose job it is to serve and protect law-abiding citizens. This vision of men, who have been abused by their female partner, has not changed throughout history. In the article, “Riding the Donkey Backwards: Men as the Unacceptable Victims of Marital Violence”, by Malcolm J. George (Source: The Journal of Men’s Studies, Volume 3, Number 2, November 1994, p. 137-159,) Malcolm tells that in the post-Renaissance France and England era, society ridiculed and humiliated husbands thought to be battered and/or dominated by their wives. In France, for instance, a “battered” husband was trotted around town riding a donkey backwards while holding its tail. In England, “abused” husbands were strapped to a cart and paraded around town, all the while subjected to the people’s derision and contempt. Today, men are not made to ride backward on donkeys, but they are still considered ‘wimps’ for letting their wives beat them or for complaining about their wives’ attacks