Domestic abuse is far too common. It is not just violence, and it includes all forms of controlling and isolating behavior on the part of a domestic partner. Psychological abuse can be far more damaging than physical, too.
If you are in an abusive situation it’s important that you get out of the situation as quickly as possible. For men, that can be more difficult and it is always more embarrassing. But it has to end. Once you have separated, you will probably need good representation to help sort out the legal and financial issues related to getting out, but that comes later.
What is domestic abuse?
All forms of controlling behavior can be considered abuse. These include, but are not limited to:
- Humiliation or constant belittling language
- Taking away access to keys, medication, or other important objects
- False accusations to friends and colleagues
- Escalation to violence or threats of doing so
If the situation you are in leaves you feeling utterly powerless and isolated, you are probably the victim of domestic abuse. You do not have to put up with this. Everyone has a right to feel safe and happy in their domestic situation. If that is not the case in your home, the situation is toxic and must be remedied. It is important to get out of it as soon as possible.
Men are very slow to report domestic abuse, so statistics are not clear on how often it occurs. Some have estimated that as many as one third of all domestic abuse victims are men. If you are one, you are not alone.
Leave, don’t fight
As a man, you have one immediate problem. Even if the situation has become violent, you cannot fight back without fear of reprisals. Unfortunately, it is very likely that you will not believed if the police or other authorities are involved. There are shelters and other places available if family or friends cannot help and you are short on resources.
If there are children or other vulnerable people involved, you may feel compelled to defend them as well. Doing so only opens you up to potential reprisals. No matter what it takes, the first thing you have to do is remove yourself and anyone else you are obliged to defend from the situation.
It is important to do this before it becomes life-threatening. No matter what it takes, you have to seek help. That can be family or friends or a government agency, but you have to get everyone out of danger. Nothing else can be done without potentially making the situation worse.
Sort the rest out later
After you have removed yourself and those you love form the situation, you will probably have a lot of things to sort out. Material possessions, no matter how valuable, are not worth your life. It can be sorted out later, whether it is a house or car or anything else that is jointly owned.
It will take an experienced family law attorney to work these things out. When the time comes and everyone is safe the slow processes of the courts can be put into play. Peace of mind is essential as you are sure that you are doing what you can. Good representation can help you achieve that.
It’s not your fault
No matter what, don’t blame yourself. Even if there was something you could do to prevent the situation, the course of action is the same. It has to end, and that starts with the immediate problem. If you are in a domestic situation that is destroying your self-esteem and your life, even if it isn’t violent, take action now.