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Munir Bello: When Men are Victims of Domestic Abuse

Munir Bello

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I was conversing with a friend who mentioned that a relative of hers had just gotten out of a relationship with a girl that used to hit him regularly. My friend was shocked about this as she said that he had never told her anything whilst he was still with the partner, she was also surprised as she said that it was alien for her to hear about a woman hitting a man. I told her that it wasn’t that uncommon, just less talked about than domestic abuse suffered by women. At that moment I realised that there was an article to be written on the matter as I had been in that sort of situation with two different women.

We hear about or even see a woman slapping a man in the face but very rarely do we hear about an attack behind closed doors. The first time it happened to me was very surprising. An ex who had moved on with another man asked to meet with me. After learning that I had also moved on, she spat in my face and slapped me repeatedly before reaching for a glass, her intention was to smash the glass over my head but I managed to restrain her.
I never told anyone about it because I found it all very confusing and didn’t know where to start.

The second time that it happened was with another ex who had a drinking problem. She tended to be an aggressive drunk. She got very drunk one night and for no reason just pounced on me, repeatedly punching me in the face, clawing at my neck and punching my ribs (she actually cracked one of them). She threw many glasses at me (what is it with women and glasses?) and I finally managed to restrain her. I told two female friends about it who wanted me to notify the police. I was reluctant because I wanted to put it behind me without prolonging what I thought was unnecessary drama and also because I didn’t want more of my loved ones finding out and more unpleasantness taking place. At the time I wanted to protect my girlfriend from the repercussions of her actions.

In both cases I was calm because it didn’t hurt physically as it was happening. It was the thought of someone who supposedly cared for me doing that to me that hurt. I was in a state of disbelief and surprise. It didn’t really feel like it was happening to me as I imagined that this is the kind of thing that only happens in movies. There was no long lasting damage physically or mentally as I’m no longer involved with either of them.

After the conversation that I had with my friend I decided to speak with some other men who had been in a similar situation to understand why they hadn’t spoken about it to anyone. The first guy I spoke to said that he was married to a lady who used to start kicking him in his sleep until he restrained her. It was a big surprise to me as this guy was 6 foot 3 and very well built. He said that he never did fight back, he also mentioned that although they are not together he still cannot sleep right as the fear of waking up to the abuse still haunts him. He also said that he never told anyone about it as he felt that he wouldn’t have a sympathetic ear.

He referred to a story that was on the internet once about a woman who bit off her partners penis while he was asleep. That story caused a lot of laughter and went viral but then we thought about it. What this woman did was to munch through muscle and cartilage, potentially causing a man to bleed to death but this was considered funny.

The theme continued with more of the men that I spoke to, some felt that they would be belittled for being beaten up by a woman, others felt that the authorities wouldn’t take the situation seriously and most just wanted to move on from it without having to revisit the situation. What was an eye opener in this situation was that all of these men were all far bigger than their partners physically and yet the partner showed no fear in continuously attacking them.

Sadly none of the women wanted to speak with me as I was interested in finding out a few things about them to help shed some light on the matter. It goes without saying that abuse in all its forms is wrong and there’s no shame in a man speaking about it happening to him. But is society aware of the regularity with which it happens?

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Oscar Williams

22 Comments

  1. tunmi

    February 10, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    It happens. I would never doubt it. The more people come forward, the more we can be aware of it and try to change it. Let’s look at how rape is addressed in Nigeria. It wasn’t too long ago that the victim was bashed and attacked with questions insinuating it was her fault. A lot of work has been done online and on the ground to educate people about rape, sex, and consent. Basket mouth made a joke about it, NoRubber also did and they were consequently educated.

    So please keep talking about without demeaning or belittling the fact the face of domestic violence is women. They have been the one to speak on theirs so please speak on yours, and we can work to educate and hopefully eradicate it

    • magh

      February 10, 2015 at 3:33 pm

      the no rubber show can be very annoying sometimes! supposed grown men acting childish, they have their good days but sometimes, their views on certain issues can be shocking.

      and yes this must be an issue of discussion. thing is, most men who are victims don’t say anything because they don’t want to be seen as weak.

    • Munir Bello

      Munir Bello

      February 14, 2015 at 10:23 pm

      Wise words Tunmi

  2. IslandGirl

    February 10, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    Sadly, not only is society unaware of how often this happens, accepting that it is a possibility is another hurdle. Just as some people cannot understand why a woman would repeatedly go back to someone who kicks and bruises her, the same way some people won’t understand how a man would let a woman abuse him. It’s sad, because these are the same people that will call foul if the men in the cases you mentioned (yourself included) responded with violence to their attackers.
    Just like we are still educating people that rape is NEVER the victims fault, we need to be educated that men also are victims of domestic violence and that in no way makes them any less of a man.
    I just hope that we continue this conversation and that for these men, and women alike, that they have more people to listen to them, help them and more importantly, have the law on their side.

    • Munir Bello

      Munir Bello

      February 14, 2015 at 10:24 pm

      IslandGirl, very well put

  3. Jinmi

    February 10, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    Many ladies will shrug this off, to them its a lie and conspiracy, what about single dads no one talks about them. Its women’s time abeg let them talk. and have there say and way male concept and power is falling and and die soon nothing will stop it. Bear in mind the RAPE is defined as UNCONSENTED PENETRATION no one ever says UNCONSENTED PENILE ENVILOPE is rape infact many belive as far as the man enjoys it no problem, have heard lot of that here in europe . Our women never really care about our sufferings its all about them me,me, me all they need here is the power of the ring to control you. Most times we feel we are needed as a tool to get something not loved.

    • cindy

      February 13, 2015 at 8:25 am

      I’m not trying to undermine what you just said but I find it funny. You understand how women feel not after more than a thousand years of suppression? You get the gist now?

    • Munir Bello

      Munir Bello

      February 14, 2015 at 10:25 pm

      I doubt many women will shrug it off, I just think it’s not something that’s spoken about for multiple reasons. Time will tell as more people come forward.

  4. Tru

    February 10, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    Violence both ways is completely unacceptable.

  5. Fuckpatriachy

    February 10, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    This is once again where patriarchy hurts us all.. Most men who suffer domestic violence will not even come forward for fear of looking weak. So they die in silence. They aren’t allowed to show emotion because well they are men. Patraichy has made a shell of us. We need to let go of all these social and gender hierarchical constructs that has stifled out humanity, both male and female.

    • Jinmi

      February 11, 2015 at 12:23 am

      No you are wrong ma. Feminism was never for equal right it was a movement for women’s right only, its history is also clear. The american fed wants to tax women and get a bigger workforce after the blacks slaves are no more available in other to bolster the manpower strength of a rich northern part of the union. The American black community is paying a big price for accepting feminism rather than tame its alpha male concept that stayed with it during the great period of pain of slavery which knows no gender except your skin colour. Today more that 70% of black american homes are headed by women with more that 1. 5 million black men in jail. In records there are more eligible black women than free black men to marry them. Also the present situation where women train boys on what it means to be a man means the future of black americans is worse than present realities. Patriarchy is not perfect but it fought for its women within it own political space. Feminism heralds men demonisation and subjugation. Many feminist today are angry and bitter set women you can offend them just because you have a dxxk. Patriarchy came as a result of right derived by virtue of gender roles gained from defending in time of war/dangers/provision as humans evolves this got interwind with religious and cultural biases which itself is not generic across racial planes. With your tag name you ma are a typical; example of an angry woman and deceitful with facts. I will prefer a tamed patriarchy in which there is gender mutual respect and equality rather than feminism.

  6. concerned

    February 10, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    Here’s my view on the whole thing: I am a feminist. Proudly so. However, society has been miseducated (if there’s such a word) about the meaning of feminism. Now the meaning of feminist seems to be stereotyped as an angry woman, probably lesbian, who thinks women are cheated by men all the time and that men are evil and “what men can do, women can do and do better”. Yet when men think this way they are accused of being chauvinist. That is not my idea of feminism. My idea of feminism is simple: men and women are of equal value but in different capacities. We are equal, nobody is of more importance than the other. We bring different things to the table but men can’t live without women and women can’t live without men in this society. I believe that if you call yourself a feminist, it means that you acknowledge the fact that we cannot all do the same things, but it does not make us any less important because men can’t do what we do and therefore, we should be given equal opportunities, equal prerogatives, etc. People talk all the time about how women suffer from abuse. For example, on talkshows whenever a woman tells her story as a victim of abuse, people are sympathetic but when a woman finds that her man has been unfaithful and she hits him with her purse, people cheer. What if the man had found her cheating and hit her with her purse? There would have been an outcry! When it comes to domestic abuse be it physical, verbal or psychological, it shouldn’t be tolerated by a man and it shouldn’t be tolerated by a woman. Whether you are a man, woman, hermaphrodite, transgender or transsexual, you should leave an abusive relationship immediately. Period. I don’t believe that because the man is the “man”, he’s supposed to endure and be a “man”, whatever society calls it, just like how I don’t believe that a woman should stay in an abusive relationship because she’s the “homemaker”, or for the “children” or because the man is the head of the house. That is why I believe that true feminists should champion the rights of men as well as women so that we can all be seen as equal and treated the same way #okbye

    • Ima

      February 10, 2015 at 9:58 pm

      Well said, Concerned. This is what feminism truly is…equal rights and opportunities for everyone, regardless of gender. Too bad we truly have got it twisted.

      For the ex who has moved on, and gets angry because you have moved on as well…real dog in the manger! Smh.

  7. Rukamina

    February 10, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    Eeeek.

  8. Jojo

    February 10, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    the is cquite common and needs to be crought out in the open. We knoew of a man that ‘always seemed to run into the bookself , fall down the stairs’ that sort of nonsense. His friends eventually had to rescue him from the crazy woman he was married too because as with men abusers, itcan lead to permanent injusries or death.
    Violence is never an answer

  9. Spesh

    February 10, 2015 at 11:46 pm

    I love this piece. This happens a lot, and like the author pointed out, violence from any side is just wrong.
    More men should speak up about these situations.

    • Munir Bello

      Munir Bello

      February 14, 2015 at 10:26 pm

      Hi Spesh, i’m very happy that you loved the piece. Thank you very much.

  10. BlueEyed

    February 11, 2015 at 1:53 am

    This issue is of concern too, there are men who deal with domestic violence too, the concept of masculinity is a way too long an archaic mentality. I once had neighbors some years back and I would always think the man was abusive towards his woman due to the noises I kept on hearing from there, on one night the other neighbors called the police and it turns out, his woman had the habit of smashing things on her husband whenever they disagreed, worse part is she claimed the victim and would injure herself to gain sympathy, since then I believed domestic violence is not a “woman thing” it happens and it should not be condoned in both sexes.

  11. chi-e-z

    February 11, 2015 at 3:19 am

    All i gat ta say is watch out 4 d craziess… honestly, guys stop staying with woman wey fit bash your head 1 min and twerk on ur legs next all because of yansh ad women stop staying with guy wey go choke you 1 min and next carry u n kiss u n tell u he love u all cause of soft lips. My guy/ girl abeg no die for apu wey sweet when korrect wheat dey.

  12. Tosin

    February 11, 2015 at 8:34 am

    Part of the reason these things happen is we are so dishonest. People dating you want to marry you and hide their madness in the closet, show you their googoo eyes just to get what they want. People who know them better don’t speak because they want to support the cause of getting the bi* married. For whatever reason. Make them someone else’s problem. Not draw her ire by getting in the way of her goals. Keep society happy by creating one more wedding. It’s not really gender-specific, the difference is women are more cautious, they’ve heard more stories of how terrible the wrong husband can be. I think some men don’t know how terrible the wrong iyawo can be.
    We love fat lies.

  13. Ayaayo

    February 12, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    This reminds me of a friends brother who was constantly being abused by his wife and she would always claim victim by calling her mother-inlaw, only for the guy to shout foul during one of the calls that she slaps him around the house and even in public, we found out it was happened all through their courtship but he was too ashamed to call it what it is and probably seek help. The other day i was at a party and saw an old friend who was at the party with his wife and baby, we exchanged pleasantries and he pointed in the direction of the wife only for the lady to start scolding him and creating a scene when he went back to join her, i found it weird and just shrugged it off, thinking of it now, i think her reaction was unnecessary and that attitude leans towards that of an abusive wife

  14. Munir Bello

    Munir Bello

    February 14, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    Agreed.

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