Sunday 24 September 2017

Abused men 'forced by partners to live on €30'

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

THE hidden agony of men whose abusive partners demand their wages and demean them with an 'allowance of €20 to €30' a week is revealed in a new report.

They are among thousands of men seeking help for physical, emotional, psychological, financial and even sexual abuse perpetrated by their female partners or wives.

Some are having to wear make-up to cover bruises and feel humiliated and demoralised, the annual report of Amen, the support service for men revealed.

The organisation is reporting a strong demand for its services with more than 5,225 contacts last year, a rise of 18pc.

These contacts include helpline calls, one-to-one meetings, court accompaniments, emails, text messages and letters.

One in four men who is contacting the support service say they are being physically abused by their partner or wife. Three-quarters are suffering a combination of verbal, psychological and financial abuse. And about 1pc of men who are seeking help are being sexually abused by their partners, according to the figures.

"Many men have expressed that they 'envy' males who have physical scars because the scars from emotional or verbal and psychological abuse are far more damaging," the report said.

"The constant criticism and belittling have a long-lasting, damaging effect on a victim of domestic abuse," it said.

Since the service started in 1997, support staff have heard accounts from men who have experienced severe and at times life-threatening physical abuse.

"These men have recounted incidents of stabbings and severe beatings. They can have their limbs broken as a result of their abusive partner trapping their arms in the door.

"Men have spoken of feeling powerless and afraid. On several occasions men have had to lock their bedrooms due to the fear that their abusive partner may attack them during the night."

One man spoke about an attempt by his violent wife to set the carpet alight in an attempt to lure him from his locked bedroom.

DETERMINATION

"We admire the strength and determination of male victims of domestic abuse who contact us. Picking up the phone and asking for help is the first step on the road to getting their lives back and to trying to end the cycle of violence," said Finola O' Sullivan, director of Amen's executive committee.

The report said financial abuse was contributing to men's reluctance to contact Amen by phone.

The report said the majority of men who contact the service were between 40 and 50 years of age and a very small minority were aged 18-30.

Overall, about 139 contacts were received from people aged 18-30 years of age. There were 25 contacts from men over 75 years old.

Irish Independent

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