Damn the dual standards. I’m a male survivor of a female abuser and abuse is abuse, so how DARE you tell me that men “can’t suffer domestic abuse”? How dare you invalidate my lived experience, and that of millions of other men? How dare you raise the status of your own victimhood by denying that of others?
In all my time meeting dozens – yes, dozens – of men who have suffered physical, mental, emotional, financial and sexual abuse from women, not once have I heard any of them say, “All women.” Not once. You know why? Because we know that men and women aren’t enemies. We know that survivors of abuse should be united. Damn you for pretending that we’re not.
Abusers are the enemy. There is no hierarchy of suffering. We tell each other that, “Just because it wasn’t physical doesn’t mean it wasn’t abuse” to dispel the notion that your suffering is somehow lesser because you experienced it slightly differently from another. Abuse has nothing to do with sex or gender; abuse is about control. Physical, mental, sexual, it is about controlling another person, making them subordinate to you. How entitled do you have to be to claim an entire sex is pure as the driven snow, incapable of evil. Damn you.
My partner came at me with kitchen scissors and cut off my beard. Forget the 10 years of abuse I suffered – abuse so heinous that I have PTSD and still panic if I hear a raised voice, still slip into hypervigilance, terrified I’m in danger, and can’t eat or sleep for DAYS – how dare you tell me such an assault is not abuse because I have a Y chromosome?
Ah, I see. Men are intrinsically abusive because of “patriarchy”. Women can only be victims because of “patriarchy, patriarchy, patriarchy.” Women have suffered, so it’s okay that we suffer, is it? Did I deserve my abuse because I am the same sex as your dad, your boss, the bully boy who made you feel small? Do you feel better that I had water poured on my side of the bed so I couldn’t sleep? That I couldn’t sleep properly for five years? That I woke up every day terrified of what the day might bring? That my sense of selfhood, dignity, value and self-worth were stripped from me to lift up someone else? Because if it makes you feel better that someone else is being abused, if you have zero empathy for the suffering of another victim, you’re no better than an abuser yourself. Damn you to hell.
I don’t normally rant on here. I’m normally calm, trying to approach the subject of abuse in a logical, sensitive, empathetic and considered manner. But I am sick – sick to my stomach – of women mocking men who have suffered abuse. Every time we talk about male victims of abuse, you always get women cropping up in the comments to tell us we’re not really victims. That it’s not possible for a woman to abuse a man. As though we are not allowed to have emotions, we are not allowed to cry out in pain, without some asshole trying to enter the conversation and make it all about them. If you’re the kind of person who thinks they can make a positive change in the world while carrying that kind of hatred in your heart, fuck you.
I’ve heard it so many times lately: if a woman hits a man, you have to ask what the man was doing to provoke it. He was clearly abusing her, and she was so damaged, all she had left was to lash out. Here’s what you’re really saying:
Great thinking. Really smart. Not a double standard at all. In another crime of male on female violence, we’re not allowed to say, “was she asking for it?” Of course we’re not. It’s immoral. The question blames the victim for their own victimhood and shifts the responsibility away from the criminal. How dare you think this is okay to do to men? Damn you.
When I felt so powerless that I shaved my head; when I felt so powerless that I grew my beard as it was the only thing left over which I had any control; when she cut it off to take away my last thin shred of humanity; was I asking for it? Am I to blame for the violence I suffered? If you think I am, then how dare you and damn you to hell.
I’ll say it again: men and women are not enemies. Abuse survivors are abuse survivors. Abusers are abusers, regardless of the skin that surrounds their evil hearts and minds, and they are the enemies. Telling men we cannot be victims of domestic abuse – that women own a particular type of suffering – does a disservice to all victims of domestic abuse. Are you so damaged you have lost your ability to empathise? You have lost your compassion? You have become bitter in your heart, so much so that you have to cut down and attack other victims to compensate for your own sufferings?
This isn’t the path to healing. The hate in your heart isn’t going to make you feel any better. Blame your abuser; scream and shout about what you have gone through and the unfairness of falling into the clutches of an evil man; but don’t you dare minimise what I have been through. And if you’re going to ignore everything I’ve written here, and think this hatred makes you a good person: damn you to hell.