When we think of abuse or domestic violence, we don’t often hear or think about the husband being the victim. It’s usually the wife who is the reported sufferer. Yet more and more it’s coming out into the light that many husbands are victims of spousal abuse, as well.
So why don’t we hear about husbands being abused by their wives? David L. Fontes, Psy.D, in the article titled, “Men Don’t Tell” gives insight into several reasons. He writes:
“When a man is a victim of his wife’s physical abuse he is both shamed by the assaults of his wife and shamed by society for not ‘controlling’ her better. Men are considered ‘wimps’ for letting their wives beat them or for complaining about their wives’ attacks. For many men ‘taking it like a man’ means don’t complain and don’t show you are vulnerable or in pain!
“With the prospect of being viewed as ‘wimps’ and/or having the assaults by their wives not believed or minimized by the general public and law enforcement, it’s no wonder few men report their abuse or discuss it openly.”
We, at Marriage Missions, can testify that it’s difficult for men to report their abuse and find help —especially in the Christian community. We’ve received a number of letters from husbands who are dealing with their wives abusive and sometimes very violent behavior. They write that they want to be honorable men and won’t hit or abuse back, but they don’t know what to do to stop their wives from hurting them in these ways.
We’ve tried to find articles —especially Christian articles and web site postings, written on this subject to help them. But there seems to be very, very little help available.
Does that mean that it’s less important to minister to the hurting husband as it is to the hurting wife, even though the numbers “appear” to be less? Should a husband just accept and silently suffer from abusive behavior, if it is directed at him from his wife? No. Abuse is wrong no matter who is victimizing the other, male or female.
Maxine Marz wrote a Metronews.ca article titled, “Husband Abuse Erodes Dignity” where she had the following to say on this issue:
“While it is true that most physical assaults caused by women tend to be less severe when compared to a man’s physical assault on a woman with his fist or a weapon, the abusive woman’s slaps, bites, kicks and/or pulling of her partner’s hair are nevertheless still very hurtful because, in addition to subjecting physical pain, they attack the man’s dignity and erode his sense of self-worth. Many men also encounter emotional abuse when their abusive spouse turns to using their children to assert her control over them and their relationship.
“To add insult to injury, some abusive women not only victimize their spouses by abusing them verbally, emotionally, financially and/or physically, but they also attempt to manipulate the criminal justice system in their favour and against their partner. This unconscionable attempt of some abusive women not only re-victimizes their already abused husbands by denying them equal rights and fair protection under the law, but it simultaneously devalues and undermines the admirable progress women’s groups have achieved over the years in trying to protect the rights of legitimately abused wives and their children in the criminal courts.
“It is evident that our society has made positive strides over the years to bring needed attention to domestic abuse and to better protect women from their abusive husbands or partners. Unfortunately, based on what many abused husbands currently experience, we still have a long way to go to afford them with similar protection of their safety and security and to eliminate the current gender bias in our system that re-victimizes them all over again when they step into the legal arena.”
To help bring this type of victimization out into the open, we will provide several web site links to articles that you can read on this subject. We hope that it will not only give voice to their dilemma, but will also help husbands to better protect themselves and put up proper boundaries in the ways that they should.
The following is a Youtube video that shows a little taste of what some men go through as far as abuse. This is not a marriage situation, but a boyfriend/girlfriend one where she is assaulting him in different ways, with part of it being caught on camera. It’s part 1 of a Tyra Banks television show that featured abusive women. The quality of this video isn’t the best, but the content is enlightening. Please watch and you will see a small part of what some men go through:
You know, what struck me about the story featured here is that if that man would have done that to her, and confessed to that type of abuse, I believe with all my heart that the audience would have been outraged. But the woman was absolutely clueless as to the gravity of it all, and the audience didn’t seem as moved, like they would have been if a woman was getting berated and such by the man. If he was hitting on her and acting as she did to him, the outrage over the whole matter would have been ramped up. But because it’s a woman hitting and berating a man, it’s more palatable. It shouldn’t be, because abuse is wrong no matter who commits it, but that’s the way society views that type of thing. This is so, so wrong.
On a further note, the articles linked below, consist of stories of battered men (some being followers of Christ and others who are not) who share their life experiences of being battered by various women. Please read what they have written. Abused men and husbands need to be heard too:
The following articles and blogs are posted on various web sites that deal with the subject of husband abuse and battered men. These articles are not posted on Christian web sites, so please be aware of that. However, we believe they still give good insights and provide a lot of helpful information. We encourage you to glean what is good —that which lines up with Biblical standards, and throw away that which doesn’t apply to your situation and that which the Lord shows you NOT to use. Let the Lord be your guide.
Please click onto the links provided below to read:
We also want to remind husbands to read other articles that are provided on this web site in the “Abuse in Marriage” section. We recognize that they mostly address wives (sorry about that), but we encourage you to ask God to show you how you can apply the advice that is given to your own situation. God can show you what advice you can, and what you shouldn’t or won’t be able to use.
Ask your “Wonderful Counselor” the Holy Spirit to reveal to you how to adapt different advice given, to apply to your particular situation. We hope you will and we hope you will find the help you need. May He help you as you reach out to Him —that is our prayer for you.
This article is written by Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International.