Husband Abuse: Support and Recovery
Domestic Violence Help for Men
© Karen Stephenson
Jan 25, 2009
Men's rights advocates have come a long way in getting husband abuse recognized as a form of domestic abuse. There is help and resources for men to recover from abuse.
An American sociologist, Suzanne Steinmetz, introduced the term battered husband thirty-two years ago. Battered men may have officially become recognized as victims in abusive relationships in the academic world, however, it took over twenty years before it slowly was accepted in other professional fields.
Some will argue that husband abuse is widespread and will claim that women are equally physically and psychologically abusive as men. In contrast, those who have a feminist perspective will claim the risk of husband abuse is significantly less, if at all. No matter, few can deny that the physical abuse women suffer is much greater as men tend to be stronger. However, some women can be physically aggressive by throwing household items, causing harm to their partner.
As the debate carries on, some agencies and governments have recognized men are victims as well and have responded.
Is Violence the Same as Abuse?
Most abuse definitions include broader concepts of control and power. Although physical abuse is violence, emotional abuse is widespread among men and women. For example, some men control their wives by controlling finances, limiting their activities, telling them who they can or can not have as friends or more to the extreme: sexual assault. Many men have been emotionally abused with verbal put downs. What is more common is the threat of never seeing the kids again if they separate or the threat of a false allegation.
According to researchers Hamby, Poindexter and Gray-Little (1996), they suggest that the frequency of violent acts reflects abuse more accurately than the severity of a single act of violence.
Government of Canada
The Canadian government has written a document titled "Husband Abuse: An overview of Research and Perspective". The document states that community survey studies in both Canada and the United States found that just as many women as men exhibit violent behaviors, although only a small number of either uses serious violence.
The writers of this government document discuss the lack of men coming forward. Many men will not come forward as the image of "being a man" is still embedded deep. Admitting to being emotionally abused or assaulted by the spouse is perceived as shame.
One practitioner who was contacted for this document reported getting a call from a woman asking for counseling as she had beaten her husband to the point he was hospitalized. Notably, this man did not tell medical staff that his wife caused the injuries.
Help for Abused Men
There are many services to help men who are physically or emotionally abused. They may not be geographically available, but there is online or telephone support. Stop Abuse for Everyone can be Googled and is usually comes up as page one number one. They have a comprehensive support guide for not only Canada and the United States, but globally as well.
The Equal Justice Foundation in the United States is another extensive resource that can be Googled and generally is on page one number one. Their website has a comprehensive state-by-state listing of available services.
The Canadian government has the Directory of Services and Programs for Abused Men in Canada. This extensive directory covers every province and territory in Canada. Some of the agencies listed in this guide include support and services for men who are victims of sexual abuse.
In Calgary, Alberta, Family of Men Support Society has a referral service as well as in-house support and a shelter for men called Men's Alternative Safe House, otherwise known as MASH*4077. They can be reached at 403-242-4077. Earl Silverman, founder, received a letter of recognition for the work he has done is the field of family violence from Stephen Harper just before he became the Prime Minister of Canada.
Debating the prevalence or severity of husband abuse is irrelevant. Domestic violence should not be a gender issue: it is a human issue.
Abuse Victims: Help Support a Person in Need
Husband Abuse: Men are Victims Toohttp://abuse-recovery.suite101.com/article.cfm/husband_abuse_support_and_recovery