I will admit, I was suspicious when I talked to my first male client however, as the summer went by and more men came in, I realized that men are as affected by domestic violence as women. One of my male clients was a depressed father of a 3 year old girl who was doing all he could to save his marriage and provide a safe and healthy home for his child. His wife was physically, psychologically and emotionally abusive. He was the most broken and defeated client I had all summer. That day I realized that we did not have a lot of male clients not because they don't exist but because due to societal stigma, male victims do not report abuse from fear that they failed to conform to the social macho stereotype, I also learned that male victims usually lack support from friends and family and most of them deny their victim status.
I shared my sentiments with a few friends and one of them told me "it is never okay for a man to hit a women but it is okay for a woman to hit a man". After noting that domestic abuse could be psychological, emotional, sexual and financial. My first question was WHY? Why should we overlook a women hitting a man but persecute a man for hitting a woman? It should never be okay for an individual to hit another. Women hit men in self defense however, there are women out there who get away with physically abusing their male partners on claims of self defense. Men are hardly recognized as victims of domestic violence because they are considered strong but, physical injuries are not the only effects of domestic abuse. They too, feel extremely shamed, frightened, guilty, and experience loss of self worth and confidence.
The most important thing I've learned from Pace is that, anyone could be a victim of domestic violence. Victims span across every sex, race, social status or sexual orientation. As a society we can do our part by getting rid of our narrow perceptions. It takes a lot of courage and strength for victims to admit that they need help and when that happens we need to help them figure out positive ways to move on with their lives. Men might be most common abusers but we should never downplay the seriousness of the abuse experienced by male victims.