Thursday 19 October 2017

Don't forget male victims of violence

Eilish O'Regan's article, 'Domestic abuse -- the effects on women's health' Irish Independent, December 10) left male victims of domestic violence totally invisible as usual. That was very unfair to male victims. I'm sure she would say "men and women" when referring to soldiers or firefighters. Don't domestic violence victims deserve the same dignity?

I work with men who have been stabbed, cut with glass or had their teeth knocked out with ashtrays by wives or girlfriends. They and their children deserve the same dignity as female victims, but instead they're stigmatised, ignored and downplayed. Men are less likely to report it, which makes crime data unreliable, but sociological research consistently shows women initiate domestic violence at least as often as men and that men suffer one-third of injuries.

For example, a recent 32-nation study by the University of New Hampshire, which included the UK, found women are as violent and controlling as men in relationships worldwide. No matter what the percentage of male victims is in Ireland, there is no excuse for ignoring them. When male victims don't get help, their children suffer long-term damage by the exposure and are more likely to commit the same violence as adults. We can't end this cycle by ignoring half of it. That's why a global coalition of concerned experts has formed to combat this politically driven problem. Their website is www.nfvlrc.org/.

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