I read with interest the reports of TV chat show host Jeremy Kyle criticising his audience for bursting in to fits of laughter when a male guest on his show recalled events of domestic abuse at the hands of his female ex-partner.
The dad of two told Kyle that he was embarrassed to admit that he had been assaulted by his ex partner and that the violence in their relationship came from her. He spoke of how he had been locked in their flat which resulted in him jumping from a third floor balcony to escape, suffering cuts to his arm and back. Upon hearing this the studio audience started laughing.
Presenter Jeremy Kyle quite rightly stepped in at this stage and reprimanded his audience for laughing, pointing out that if the roles were reversed and a man had locked a woman in a flat they would not be laughing! They would be up in arms saying how disgraceful it was and that the man should be locked up; “just because it has happened to a bloke it is not funny” said Kyle.
It is sadly the case that male victims of domestic abuse do not speak out due to embarrassment and fear of being ridiculed, not being believed or being thought of as weak.
8.5% of women and 4.5% of men were estimated to have experienced domestic abuse in 2013/2014, equivalent to an estimated 1.39 million female victims and 737,000 male victims. For every three victims of domestic abuse, two will be female and one will be male.
The average male victim contacting the ManKind Initiative, a leading charity supporting male victims of abusive, is 43, is 5ft 9in tall and weighs around 13st. The average female perpetrator is 40, is 5ft 4in and weighs 10st 7lb.
There is an apparent lack of support organisations for male victims of domestic violence. Shockingly there are just 12 organisations that offer refuge or safe house provision for male victims in the UK, a total of 63 spaces, of which 17 are dedicated to male victims only (the rest being for victims of either gender). This is compared to nearly 400 specialist domestic violence organisations which provide refuge accommodation for women in the UK with 4000 spaces for over 7000 women and children.
If you are a male victim of domestic abuse, it’s no laughing matter, support and assistance is available. Legal intervention can be a positive step forward and organisations such as Mankind www.mankind.org.uk provide confidential support services that can be life changing.