Domestic Abuse Against Men: A Hidden Story Under The Red Carpet.
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By Tanya Mtema

Men aren’t machines that don’t have an emotional retention….

Historical societies had their own way of describing real man, an analogy that has silenced men for several decades. Masculine traits have always defined a real man to be strong, invulnerable and not emotional. This doesn’t mean men haven’t also fallen trap of being victimized inside their homes.  Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) being one of the major types of abuses on the rise has raised eyebrows. As we approach the International Men’s Day (IMD) celebrated on the 19th of November let this issue of male abuse be addressed as a cause for concern.

The global socio-economic turmoil has left both male and women in an unstable psychological state and the verge to act without thinking. This has exacerbated the rates of domestic abuse with women being at the fore front. However, the abuse of men is on the rise but unfortunately it has been a matter of discussion with a flared call to action towards;
· Physical violence
· Sexual violence
· Psychological aggression

“Be a man!” such is a common dichotomy in the life of every male in relation to societal expectations. A gendered stereotype of defining women as weak and vulnerable has called for humanitarian action to fight for their empowerment hence forgetting the voice of their male counterparts as possible victims. The fate of declaring women as the property of men has made it very difficult to identify men as victims. Decades before the UN Security Council Resolution 2106 adopted in June 2013 was the first to explicitly mention men and boys as victims of abuse. However there has been lack of action.    

How men are domestically abused?
A Gender Affairs research of 2015 found out that men when asked directly whether they have been abused they were quick to deny the allegations with hysteric sarcasm. However, they agreed to have gone through these traits without knowing that its part of domestic abuse; 
· Slapped, Kicked, Spit and Punched
· Throwing and destruction of property
· Denied custody to see his children.
· Movement monitoring
· Belittled and humiliated
· Verbally and sexually assaulted.

Why they never report?
1. Socialization is the mega factor that deprives the society from noticing men as victims and survivors of domestic abuse. Historically, a man endures pain or hardships without showing his feelings or complaining. According to Griffiths (2015), manhood refers to a social status and aspirational identity that perpetually needs to be proven. It reflects the embodiment of virtuous characteristics and trait performances of social roles and fulfillment of gendered expectations associated with being male. The dichotomy of labeling women as male property and morally submissive has left the abused men to expect society to say, “You are weak, you must have enjoyed it!” This because it is morally unacceptable in African societies for a man to be humiliated by a woman.  
2. International Policy Frameworks have always screamed on the abuse of women as a main humanitarian concern. They have gendered the concept of abuse through their policies that tend to support and assist female victims and survivors whilst forgetting the needs of the man. Gender discussions are mainly women focused thus men have limited space in its dynamics.
3. A result of under-reporting is another massive factor that leads to the prioritization of women over man. Research has shown that abuse of men exists in hidden caves. Men suffer in silence for fear of being judged and neglected within the societies. This has led to the recording of small percentages signaling abuse of men due to Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). Due to under-reporting even donors have not greatly channeled their funds towards the support of male victims and survivors thus IPV remains a matter slipped under the red carpet. 
4. Lack of judicial education and training within the gender friendly sectors is still culturally stereotyped. A friend of mine once confirmed to have been ridiculed by the local police after reporting how he had been battered by his wife. One thing is clear; he is not alone in this trauma. The local authorities including the health sector is also reported to have judged male victims of rape or sexual assault. This is due to lack of diversity and inclusion policies that are not gender biased.
5. Legal obstacles involving the custody of children have always favored women over men. There is always the cliché that it is always a woman’s role to take care of the child. Legal policies say that the father is only entitled to the custody of the child when the child turns 18. This deprives the father from being part of the baby’s early development thus abuse of fundamental needs.
6. Religious dilemma rules the Christian home. Our Christian faith has always taught us to value marriage even when it hurts. Those alter vows like, I promise to stay by your side for better, for worse. In sickness and in health, in riches or in poverty…” have the power to chain men inside toxic relationships. The Christian faith also condones divorce. It even defines men as superior and women as submissive. This challenges the societal expectation of a man who is willing to walk away when the relationship becomes toxic. 

Abuse is a potent weapon of war that has been stereotyped to have been perpetrated by men. This biased analysis is based on the male biological make-up that stereotypically defines men as violent. It is high time, society lets go the barbaric beliefs of  defining men as unemotional human beings. Men are human just like any lady. Hear their voice! Allow them to cry and express their consumed feelings!

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