Help for Men. Is she abusive?

A Pamphlet on Abuse for Men
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Information on domestic violence for men
brought to you as a public service by MenWeb

TV star Phil Hartman never talked about his marital problems, either, except to joke about having to leave the house when his wife was mad. He told everyone the marriage was wonderful -- as so many men do. Then she killed him--and herself. Their kids are orphans.

Violence and abuse by women is a CRIME!

If you have been in a violent relationship, you may
have some of these feelings:

  • afraid to tell anyone
  • depressed or humiliated
  • afraid you have failed as a lover
  • guilty about leaving her or scared of coping alone
  • furious that she could do or say what she did
  • confused because sometimes she is loving and kind
  • guilty about leaving her
  • frustrated and sad because you tried everything
  • afraid of continued violence if you leave
  • panicked that you may lose your male identity if people know what has been going on
  • worried about your financial security
  • made to believe that you deserved it

You deserve to live and love free from violence

Female violence is:
Any behaviour which is adopted by a woman to control you, which causes physical, sexual or psychological damage or causes you to live in fear. Physical and sexual violence are the most obvious forms of violence. Pushing, biting, hitting, punching and using a weapon are all forms of violence. Forcing you to participate in sex is violence. Threats are a form of violence.

Other forms of violence include:
Unsafe driving, destroying your possessions, insulting or humiliating you publicly, lying, making you think you're crazy or stupid, controlling your money, isolating you from friends or family, hurting your children or pets, blackmail, treating you like a servant, threatening murder or suicide, drugging you, creating a sense of impending punishment.

Men often say these are the most insidious forms of violence and abuse because they are difficult to explain and are often regarded as "ordinary relationship problems."

Give yourself credit for everything you have tried

It may be helpful to look at some of the ways you've coped until now:

  • you have been careful about what you say, when you say things and how you say them.
  • you have tried to talk to her about her stress, drug use or moods.
  • you have given up doing anything likely to upset her.
  • you adapt your behaviour to what she says she wants.
  • you tried to make agreements or set boundaries.

  • Men, you may believe you are equally responsible for your partner's violence BUT you are not to blame.
    All violence has damaging consequences.
    Your belief in your worth and your sense of having rights and choices becomes eroded by constant abuse.

    Never think that her violence is your fault

    There are many common beliefs about why women choose to be violent:

    • "she had a sad or traumatic childhood"
    • "she drinks or uses drugs"
    • "she has trouble expressing her feelings"
    • "she feels oppressed as a woman"
    • "she can't control her anger"
    • "something about you drives her to violence"


    Believing and trusting your own feelings

    You may not have believed until recently that her behavior could be labelled as violent.

    If you feel scared and unsafe in her presence something is wrong. You are the best judge of how safe you are.

    You may not have told anyone about the violence.

    You may have told friends who have not understood your danger and distress.

    Acknowledge the pain and grief of abuse.

    We all experience stress, trauma, anger, and fear but a violent woman chooses to use violence to control and get her own way. She CAN control her violence but she chooses to control and abuse you. She uses violence deliberately to weaken your choices to act.

    Violence and abuse by women is a CRIME!

    You can:

    • Tell friends you trust.
    • Make safety arrangements such as organizing a safe place to go, changing your phone number and locks.
    • Telephone your local domestic violence hotline or shelter and talk to a worker, find out about your legal rights or see a counselor. Take notes! They're supposed to serve men, too.
    • Have witnesses, when possible. Take notes.
    • Protect the kids! Women who abuse men abuse kids. Phone 911.

    Men can be supportive by

    • Supporting the right of all men to live safely.
    • Becoming informed about women's violence within relationships.
    • Passing comment if you witness behaviour you believe is abusive or violent.
    • Listening to, believing and taking positive action to support a man who confides in you. Ask "How can I help?" or "What can you do to make yourself safer?"

    The material for this pamphlet comes from experts who have spent thousands of hours helping victims of violent and abusive women - experts in lesbian battered-woman shelters and domestic violence programs.


    Return to Help for Battered Men.
    Check out Books for or about Battered Men.
    Return to the MenWeb section on Battered Men.


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