Women stand side by side looking into the sunset over the water.

Aren’t women abusive too?

Aren’t men just “too ashamed” to report abuse? Some people think that abuse happens to men at the same rate as women but they are “too ashamed” to report it. Here’s the thing, women are ashamed to report it too. The women we work with are extremely reluctant to call abuse abuse. Women are silenced for many reasons including embarrassment. At the same time, men who are abusive are very quick to accuse their partners of being abusive.  This is a common tactic. A man who is abusive will go to family, friends and the wider community and say, “she is abusive”. So how can we make sense of this? Come back tomorrow and we will start to explore the difference between “abuse” and “bad behaviour”.

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  1. From this statement I feel you are doing to men what we are so often accused of doing to women. We take it lightly. It sounds like when a man is abused it is due o the woman’s “bad” behavior but reverse it and it’s a use.

    I know a person personally that was being BEATEN by his wife for 16 years until one day she ended up shooting him. He was hospitalized, stabbed etc. he did not go to family or everyone else because of shame and the belief that no one would believe him because he was the man an could have protected himself.

    I agree with almost all of the things you post but I often find that when the question s come up about these things happening g to men there is a huge resistance to call the same actions the same thing.

    Just my observation which may not be accurate.

  2. Thank you for your comments Henry and I agree with you completely. The problem is that I am trying to send out my thoughts in small bite size pieces on a topic that is in fact very complex. I know that some men are abused by their partners. I have worked personally worked with some men who have had this experience and one of the ways I know a man is telling the truth is that he is not broadcasting it from the roof tops. Women do not broadcast it from the roof tops either because if you are afraid of someone you are quiet.

  3. When some one, man, women or youth… is being abused, or beaten, by another person, married or not, it is a big shame if they do not call for help… fortunately, today, there is help and advocacy for ‘everyone’. Often it is ‘pride’ that,keeps us from getting the help we need. It takes a great deal of humility to say “I need help I am being abused (no matter what gender you are). Getting passed the denial and minimizing can take some time, for me it did. I could not except the truth that the person whom I ‘choose’ to love, to give my heart to and make a life long covenant with (before all my friends and family)… that this person would abuse me!! I did not see it coming and was convinced that “no one would believe me, how could it be that my “gentle Christian” parter could behave like that?! I could hardly believe it myself, I lived in a place of shock and denial when the abuse started and even when it escalated and I was kicked and hit I still tried to find a way to ‘fix it”. Maybe “we could get help”. Yes ‘we’, I took responsibility for my spouses bad behavior. When I embraced the truth, that I had married a person who was abusive, I discovered that I could only get help for me, and find a safe place for myself. I put a safety plan in place and then found the courage to face my family, close friends and my Spiritual community, it was then that I discovered there was help and healing for me. I was exhausted, and very frightened but humbling myself and reaching out for help was the only way to freedom and safety. I am at peace but I have been left with the question “Why would he do that”?
    And one last thing We know that often when someone is accused of a crime they point at the victim and call them the perpetrator. If the abuser says he or she is the victim how then does one know which one is telling the truth? Is there a litmus test? Something like King Solomon did to help us to know?

  4. Thanks Maralee for sharing some of your story (and your heart). The next few days of blogging are my attempt to answer the question of how we can tell who really is the victim and who is the perpetrator.

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