Male victimisation is a hidden common problem within many Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities that requires more attention and intervention. In cases of domestic violence, “most men do not believe or feel they are a victim until sometime after they no longer have control of their life and have become isolated”.
Domestic violence can consist of emotional abuse, financial abuse, coercive control, sexual abuse, social media abuse, stalking, false allegations, isolations, physical abuse and threatening behaviour. Examples of the above abuse includes: being kicked, punched, pinched, slapped, choked and bitten, verbal humiliation either in private or in company, constant yelling and shouting, threatening to use extended family members to attack you (victim), destroying personal items, ‘permitted’ spending, rape, the use or threats of use of ‘weapons’ including knives and irons etc.
In March (2017) a report by Skylar Jordan (Independent) reported that, “Male victims of domestic violence are being failed by the system” despite an increase in reports from male victims. It was reported that, nationally there is only 18 refuges that serve men.
Jordan stated that, “Women’s shelters are inappropriate for male victims, as the women shouldn’t be subjected to a male presence at their most vulnerable and the men – many of whom will have been assaulted by female partners – could similarly feel triggered”.
Men have the same rights as women in cases of domestic violence, they have the right to be safe in their own homes. All statutory services (the police, Crown Prosecution Service, housing departments and social services) have a duty to provide services to all individuals regardless of gender.
Why are men from BME communities more at risk?
BME men are more at risk in cases of domestic violence due to many additional factors some inducing issues around immigration and language. Baswo (2012) reported that, some individuals who have migrated into the UK do not speak English as a first language, this barrier as long side many others (social isolation) can stop individuals from accessing the tailored support they require.
If a victim of a domestic violence incident cannot make a telephone call to police to report an incident or to a professional to get access to help due to language barrier, this leads to isolation which increases chances of being at risk of significant harm. In some cases of immigration, the aggrieved may feel that reporting the violence to the police could result to being sent back to their country of origin if, he does not have legal rights or documents to remain in the United Kingdom.
Lack of trust in the police either due to personal experience or institutionalised/systematic racism is also another barrier that prevents BME males from seeking for support. Historically cases like one of Steven Lawrence alongside many others which evidenced and highlighted institutionalised racism means that, a lot of males from BME communities do not trust services such as the police. Other areas affected by institutionalised racism to date include the criminal justice system, employment, housing, health care, education and political power whether covertly or overtly expressed. The issue of institutionalised racism particularly towards black men means that a lot of domestic violence incidents go unreported.
Due to experiences of assault, unlawful killings, racism and abuse of power demonstrated towards BME men by some service system, reporting domestic violence and seeking for help could mean facing additional challenges and further abuse from individuals who are obligated to protect the well-being of people.
Societal/cultural perceptions, stereotypes and expectations about gender roles also contribute greatly to unreported domestic abuse towards men. In many BME communities’ men are seen as superior to women, men have a lot of control in such communities and are branded as powerful and play the main role with regards to a successful economy. Due to this indoctrinate believe, a male victim of domestic abuse will feel emasculated, powerless and unable to seek for support due to fear of judgement.
Subsequently, seeking for help as a victim or informing someone about experiences is essential in cases of abusive relationships. It is imperative to know that male victims of domestic violence have the same rights as female victims of domestic violence. In any case where an individual safety is being compromised, the police force have an obligation to support victims whether an immigrant or a British citizen.
However as many men do not report this crime, support service such as refuge’s for men are limited in the United Kingdom. Speaking up about experiences of domestic towards our men in our communities will raise better awareness about this matter. This in turn should create tailored services and better support for victims of domestic violence.
Specific support for male victims of domestic violence and abuse
In the UK, there are specific support services for male victims of domestic violence. Mankind (01823 334244- mankind.org.uk) is an organisation that has a confidential helpline for men who experience violence from their partners or ex-partners.
Men’s Advice Line is another platform specifically for men experiencing domestic violence and abuse. They can be contacted on 0808 801 0327.
In cases of sexual abuse and Rape, victims can contact, Survivors UK (020 3322 1860) and Safeline (Specialist men’s helpline: 0808 800 5005).
In cases of Honour Based Violence (HBV) victims can contact Karma Nirvana (0800 5999 247).
In cases of stalking and harassment, victims can contact Protection Against Stalking and Harassment on 0300 636 0300 and Paladin Service on 020 3866 4107.
Reference and Further Reading