Men also feel pain of emotional and physical abuse

Mbuyiselo Botha Gender Imbizo
Men also feel pain of emotional and physical abuse says the writer.
Men also feel pain of emotional and physical abuse says the writer.

It would be perfidious or disingenuous of us if we do not talk about emotional abuse, perpetrated by women against men.

There are few available scientific data regarding the rates of male emotional abuse in SA, for obvious reasons.

You are probably asking yourself if indeed men are emotionally abused, why is there a lack of data and a lack in reported cases of male emotional abuse.

The reasons are not that complicated to fathom; most men have been raised to believe that they should not embarrass themselves by displaying any type of "weakness" and speaking of abuse, especially emotional abuse, experienced at the hands of a woman as that would be a sign of "weakness".

Remember the nonsensical and archaic teaching that "tigers don't cry". The majority of men have bought into this utter nonsense even to the extent that emotional abuse looks normal.

How many times have you heard a man saying "she told me that I am good for nothing and that I am inadequate sexually, she doesn't know why she is with a man with a low libido or no erection at all".

You probably heard these stories when men are intoxicated, or they have gathered enough courage to speak about such experiences, sometimes pretending that they are narrating an experience of another man, when, in fact, it is their own experience. Men do this because they do not want to be ridiculed. Emotional abuse has no visible scar like physical abuse, where you would easily identity a blue eye or scar.

You have probably come across a man who has gone through a bitter divorce, with minor children involved. Some women go to the extent of using the children to fight their battles with the men they have turned to despise.

One such example, which is usually overlooked and not seen as a form of abuse, is men being denied access to their children, without merit.

Many men have to go through avoidable, lengthy court processes to get access. If the man is deemed capable, has shown to be a fit father to their children prior to the divorce, is willing and desires to be a father to their child, taking that away should indeed be seen as emotional abuse. How else would one characterise such nefarious behaviour?

Children should never be used as bargaining chips in any divorce; doing such is morally repugnant.

On Monday March 11, Eusebius McKaiser of 702, during his show, received an emotionally excruciating call from Terrence, who took the brave step of coming out to tell everyone listening that his wife of 17-19 years, recently took all his clothing to his workplace and dumped it in front of his colleagues. He felt deeply embarrassed, especially as a manager in the workplace. He relayed how he loves her deeply and continually goes back to her even after she had repeatedly behaved this way. In one instance, she threatened to take a bottle and cut off his penis. This is undoubtedly a perfect and painful example of what emotional abuse is all about.

I am convinced that a lot of men can relate to Terrance's hurt, pain and humiliation and that all they can do is throw their hands in the air in despair that noone will believe them or buy their stories because there are no physical scars to confirm their abuse.

I ask myself, for how long will this silent killer devour our society? Women perpetrators of emotional abuse against men have got "the gift of the gab". Sadly, they use this to emotionally batter those they profess to love.

And they know that very few people, if any, would believe a man who comes out as a victim of emotional abuse. Society is not structured in a way that makes it possible for men to be on the other end of abuse - the end of being the victim or survivor of emotional abuse.

If we don't change our thinking or attitude regarding the emotional abuse of men, we will find ourselves seeking answers to this unexplained and extreme rage of violence by men.

I am not for one moment justifying or condoning men's violence towards women. All I am simply saying is that this dismissive attitude towards emotional abuse of men is unhelpful. All forms of abuse must be condemned - from economical, physical to sexual.

If we don't speak out against this form of abuse, we are at risk of creating an unbalanced and skewed society that would seem to look the other way when coming to emotional abuse experienced by men.

Finally, let me nail my colours to the mast. I abhor all forms of abuse and nothing will stop me from pointing out any abuse wherever and whenever I see it. Men, we have a duty to seek help and debunk the myth that we are tigers. We are human beings, we hurt and we go through painful, emotional moments in our life which more often than not make us feel inadequate. Let us seek help.

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