In the last few blog entries, I have talked about the less than discriminating nature of abuse. It can take place anywhere, and in all sorts of different settings. There is another factor that abuse does not consider: gender.
Last year we published our very first podcast, in honor of domestic violence awareness month. We decided to talk about the role of gender in domestic abuse. Women Are From Earth, Men Are From Earth, we called it. Because when it comes to dealing with abuse, there is no gender-bias.
Both men and women can be abusers, and both can be victims too. It is so easy to jump to the conclusion that abusers are men, and their targets are women. Men, however, can be the target of abuse too, and it happens more than you may think. I say it so often, abuse is a power play. It is about control and manipulation. It is about making the target question their reality and destroying their sense of self. There are many weapons in the abuser’s arsenal, and toxic people of both genders can be skilled at wielding them. I don’t have the exact numbers in front of me, and at the end of the day does it matter? Should we care what the percentages are? Or should we care that people, human beings, are being targeted and destroyed?
The abuse gender-bias that does worry me, is that men are less likely to receive support. They may be told to “man up”. When they show emotion they are classed as weak. When a woman shows abusive power plays, their male target is laughingly called ‘pussy whipped’ or similar. It is those types of stereotypes that make it harder for men to stand up, speak up, and get out.
Can we do better? Yes, we can!
At SwanWaters we are committed to maintaining a gender-neutral place of recovery. Even when we write from our own experiences as female targets, we acknowledge and respect that our experiences are equally applicable for male survivors too.
How about you? Will you lose the gender-bias too?