Everybody has seen the Jay Z and Solange elevator incident and laughed it off. Yet if it had to be the other way round and Jay Z was the perpetrator the whole incident would have been a massive outcry towards male on female violence. Jay Z would have been arrested, his career ended and his reputation dissolved in a matter of minutes. Society has placed higher importance on women rather than men when it comes to violence especially domestic violence.
Parity, a men’s rights campaign, underwent a study that deterred impressions and contradicted the widespread assumptions that it is always women who are abused in relationships when about two in five of all victims of domestic violence are actually men. What makes it worse is that men have no one to turn to when they suffer at the hands of their wives or girlfriends. Police ignore the assault, they do not take them seriously, brush it aside and the men are laughed at. They are treated as second-class victims. Men are even too afraid at times to go to the authorities because culture has instilled norms throughout history and these men would be seen as weak and unmanly.
In general men are not afraid of women and this is due to their physical size and strength. Women are aware that men do not fear them and some can go through periods in their life of what is termed “slap-happy”. This occurs in either social situations when socializing, to seek attention or when they are drunk. Even if they know they are wrong and stop the abuse they consider themselves under threat and never the threat itself as it has been wired into their DNA. Men do not have the safety of self defense classes in dealing with female attacks be it sexual or otherwise. For example, Zimbabwean men were living in fear due to women who would use snakes as weapons to sexually assault them.
DareLondon set up an experiment to see how strangers react to domestic abuse. Check out the video here. They had a couple act out a fight in public. In the first scenario the man is the attacker and countless strangers, mainly other women, rush to the woman’s aid. But as soon as the roles are reversed the onlookers seem more entertained by the situation and are seen to laugh as she attacks the man. No one helps him. The message conveyed at the end of the video reveals that 40% of domestic violence is suffered by men. A last example is about a 47 year old man, Ian Mcnicholl, who suffered abuse for a year from his fiancée before he had enough, finally spoke out and got her sent to jail. She would punch him, burn him with cigarettes, the whole nine yards. He lost his job, his home and most of all he lost his self-respect.
There was this one time when I spent the afternoon with my friend and his girl at the local pub. His girl is a looney toon, not the cute ACME kind though, and things started taking a turn for the worst. She was a bit drunk and started arguing with him about some random drama – a girls best friend – next thing you know she is hurling pool balls across the bar at him. He managed to usher her out of the pub before any major damage was caused. I followed them home in my car. I could see her screaming and slapping him whilst he tried to drive down Main Road. He had a few close calls. Suddenly he pulled off to the side of the road. I watched her get out of the car, walk around to his side and proceed to attack him through the window. She took the keys in her hand and walked away down the road. My friend hoped into my car and we followed her. When we managed to stop her from marching away with him restraining her futile attempts of doing so things looked like it was over. But she was not. She broke free from his grip and hurled the car keys at him. It struck him on the forehead. She jumped into a taxi and we never saw her after that for some time. It was safe to say their relationship was over. He still has the Harry Potter look-a-like scar permanently etched on his forehead until this day. He never once hit her back.
The end of the day violence towards someone be it male on female, female on male, whatever the case violence to a fellow human being is wrong. Women have always had it rough throughout history and do hold more reason to be physically afraid of violence brandished by men. But they shouldn’t get a disproportionate amount of attention by the world where as men suffer in silence. Their abuse is not news. They remain invisible and ignored by society even when it is a very real situation that can break a man down physically and mentally. Scaring him for life. The ManKind Initiative is dedicated to Support for Male Victims of Domestic Abuse, including running a national violence helpline. To learn more about the charity check out their site