When people think of a person being abused,

When people think of a
person being abused, they most often picture a woman or child in their head but
there is another area that most people do not think about which is abused men. Abuse
overall occurs when people are mistreated or misused by other people who show
no concern for their worth as a person and degrades their well-being. These
people, who are called the abusers, wish to control their victims and use
abusive behaviors to control them (Patricelli 2005).According to the Department
of Children and Families, there are many different types of abuse and neglect.
The four that are most common, especially among children, are physical abuse,
sexual abuse, physical neglect and emotional maltreatment. Another type of
abuse is common is domestic abuse. Abuse can occur within both genders, but
research has shown that women make up majority of abuse victims. Although most
reported abuse is regarding the female population, what many do not realize is
how prominent abuse against males are. There a number of reasons that explain
why men do not report their abuse more than they should. I believe that more
research needs to be done to help these men that are victims and by allowing
more research, I believe more organizations will begin to start targeting men
to come get help for their trauma.

            Just as women experience different types of abuse, men do
as well. The most common types of abuse that men suffer through include,
sexual, emotional and physical abuse. Sexual abuse can be defined as when a
person makes unwanted sexual advantages on another person. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 6 males
are sexually abused before the age of 18. Sexual
abuse can occur in different environment which include a work place, school, bar
or club, or even on a random street. Sexual abuse can happen to anyone, men or
female, in anyplace and can affect a person severely. Emotional abuse is a form
of abuse that targets a person’s mental state of mind. Emotional abuse is most
commonly found in domestic abuse relationships. The victim will often be
humiliated, intimidated, or verbally assaulted to name a few. Physical abuse is
the use of physical force against a person in a way that injures or endangers
them. Although there are more females than males that have reported being
abuse, this could be due to the fact that males are stereotyped in our society
and they fear they cannot or they will be judged and their masculinity will be
questioned.

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Gender
Norms

            Our society and culture plays a big role in how we
differentiate the two genders. Our culture teaches men that they need to be
tough and that showing anything else is considered to be weak or un-masculine.
This logical has been told to society for many years. Socialization which is
defined as what teaches people the norms, values, and ways of behaving in
society (Day, Schiele 2013), plays a huge role in how society has labeled males
and females. The norm of the role a male plays in society is that masculinity
serves as the instruments of social control that reinforce male dominance (Kaur
2015). In a family dynamic the nuclear family which consists of a husband, wife
and children is what is considered the normative ideal (Day, Schiele 2013). In
this idea of the nuclear family, the man is typically the bread winner and the
women are in charge of child and home care. In society, if a woman tries to take
over the same roles as males have, such as becoming CEO, they are in some way
taking over the male’s dominance and it is considered distasteful. Today though,
there are different dynamics of what is considered a family such as homosexual
couples, unmarried couples, and households where the woman is the head of the
household (Day, Schiele 2013). Although most men are at fault for agreeing with
this norm of males being the dominant gender, society is the reason for
creating it. This dominance has consequences that include psychological aspects
as well as physically. Psychologically, men feel they cannot show their
emotions such as being scared or sad or they will be seen as weak and not a
“real” man. Physically, they must maintain a strong body such as big muscles,
to express their dominance. Overall the male population have certain
expectations that society says they must live by if they are to be a man which
are to maintain their dominance, heterosexuality, emotional control and to
maintain their status (Mahalik et al., 2003).

            Young boys are the most at risk to the dangers of social
media by how they portray men. Most social media, television, movies or magazines
follow what society created as being the ideal male, which puts the pressure on
the young boys watching it to believe they must follow what they see. This type
of image of being straight, tough and not showing emotions have led society to
believe that males must act and look this way or they are not considered men. Since
society has portrayed men this way, the thought of men being abused in anyway
is often overlooked. Society does not seem to comprehend that men, who are
supposed to be strong and tough, can be taken advantage of by other men or
women. For the male victims who have experienced abuse by another male may fear
that they will not be believed or will be labelled as homosexual (Alaggia,
2005). These are just a couple consequences that male victims are facing due to
having to live up to this stereotype and feeling judged.

            Recently in the news, there have been many allegations
against the Hollywood world that is filled with sexual abuse that was never
bought to light until now. These allegation mainly began after a famous
Hollywood executive, Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual abuse and rape by
numerous number of women who were brave to speak out about their abuse. After
these allegations came to light, more and more women began speaking out against
their abusers and social media and the world has rallied behind them to support
them. Since these allegations began a famous actor Terry Crews, has come out to
say that although there are many women that are victims, what society does not
realize is that men abused as well in this career. He described himself as
being very hesitant to come forward about his abuse because he thought “who’s
going to believe you”. What society fails to realize is that there are
countless other men who have been abused who feel the same way, as do women.
One of the most well-known abusers was famous actor, Kevin Spacey, who has
been accused by fifteen men for sexual harassment by young actors. According to
USA Today, Many of these male actors that are expressing that they were victims
to his unwanted sexual acts, have opted out to not reveal their identity. This
may be for privacy but it may also be because they are not as freely socially
accepted to be able to tell their identity without feeling judged. Society has
reacted to these men victims bravery for speaking forward about their abuse.
Sara McGovern who is a spokesperson for the Rape, Abuse & Incest National
Network has stated “Cultural stereotypes about men and how they portray
masculinity can make it harder for men to disclose their assault and add
additional challenges to their recovery. It is important to remind male
survivors that they are not alone, and to share the services available to help
them.”

            In America, the statistics of men
and women who are abused are overwhelming. In the United States, approximately 1.5 million of women
and 834,700 men are physically assaulted and/or raped by an intimate partner (Cronholm,
Fogarty, Ambuel. Harrison 2011). Although the difference in numbers
are very dissimilar with more than 665,300 reported women being victim to the
abuse than males, this may be because men that are abused are less likely to
report and speak up about their abuse (Cronhom. Fogary etc 2011). In America it
is hard to find a reliant statistic of how men have not reported their abuse or
how many men have been abused due to so many men being too ashamed or fear to
be judged. This does not mean that more men are abused than women, because
women are the overall oppressed gender, but there are more men being abused in
America than our society realizes.

            Males that are victims of abuse face
a high amount of trauma due to the act itself, but also because they are less
inclined to seek help. Men’s masculinity is very important for many in our
society. It is because of this that men who have been abused are not open to reporting
it or talking about it. Rather than seeking help men approach to dealing with
it is through hyper-masculinity (Dorais
2002). A study found that men conform to what society has created as the male
norm, leads to mental health issues such as depression, somatization, hostility
and anxiety (Mahalik 2003). Emotionally, men may isolate themselves from others
which may also lead to depression. In a study they found that men that have experienced
child sexual abuse were up tp 10 times more likely to see a psychiatric for
depression (O’Leary 2009). A study was conducted by Dr. Claire Burke Draucker,
which involved comparing the outcomes of both men and women who experienced
some form of abuse. This study shows that most women in this study who went a
form of abuse shared rebellion stories which is when a person who was a victim
decided that they would no longer accept the abuse and stood up to their
abusers (Draucker 2003). Most men in this study who were abused shared their
stories which the study called “Reawakening stories”. These stories are when
they suddenly felt an intense feeling such as suicidal or desperate thoughts or
suddenly feeling alive (Draucker 2003). Both gender outcomes overall were
similar but also had their own differences. According to Dr. Claire, the
differences seemed to show the different cultural norms and expectations
experienced by men and women.

 

Policies on Abuse

            There are policies put in place that
prohibit abuse in America but they are mainly centered on preventing child
abuse such as the Child Abuse and Treatment Act of 1974 which is the
development of state programs to aid the mistreated child (Day, Schiele). This
act established the National Center for Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse
and Neglect at the University Of Colorado Medical Center which authorized
runaway shelters and hotlines. They also promoted research and professional
training in the areas of child abuse and protection (Day, Schiele). This act is
an example of a policy put in place to fight against child abuse. Today,
policies that are made to prevent abuse such as the Violence Against Women Reauthorization
Act of 2013, but there are very few policies that are directed toward ending
violence against men. When people think of domestic abuse they often think of a
man being the abuser which in many cases it is true but domestic abuse against
men is more common than people believe. The Department of Justice defines
domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner
to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. This type
of violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological threats
of actions that impact another person.
Typically,
men that are abused are not news worthy unless a celebrity is involved. For
example, recently a famous actress, Naya Rivera, was arrested for assaulting
her husband. The story only made headlines for a few days and although these
stories do get some recognized they often resort to saying that the male did
something to antagonize them.

            Although most of the society are not
aware of the ways men are abused, there are organizations that aim to prevent
abuse for both genders. The New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NJCASA)
is an association that is aimed to joined people together in action for the
common cause of ending sexual violence and supports everyone who has been
affected by it (NJCASA 2017). This example of an organization that recognizes
sexual abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of genders. There are however,
countless organization that are solely aimed to help women who have been abused,
which a great thing but only a few are committed to men that are victim of
abuse. Again this brings back the question why? Is it because people are
unaware that men are able to abused and can be traumatizing or is it because
society tells them that men who are abused are not as affected as women are?

            All different kinds of abuse can
have extensive effects on boys and men’s mental health throughout their lifetime.
Regardless of the importance of this, there are only very few studies that have
observed the long-term effects of abuse, especially childhood sexual abuse, on
mental health in the different developmental stages for men. Child sexual abuse is defined as “any completed or
attempted sexual act, sexual contact, or non-contact sexual interaction with a
child” (Gilbert et al., 2009; p. 69).
There are 8% of men worldwide who have experienced a form of sexual abuse
before the age of 18 (Stolenborgh, Lizendoorm, Eursar & Kraneburg 2011). This type of abuse can have
serious consequences to men health as they grow older but there are a few
studies that give us practical evidence. A study revealed that men who were
sexually abused are more likely to experience impaired masculine identity,
stigma related to perceived homosexuality, self-identity troubles, delays in
disclosure and lack of access to support resources (Easton et al., 2014; O’Leary
and Barber, 2008). Suicide and attempted suicide are also outcomes for those
who have suffered from abuse, mainly sexual abuse. Men are overall more likely to
commit suicide than women are (Moscicki, 1994). Childhood physical and violent
sexual abuse have led to a greater risk of suicide attempts rather than
molestation and verbal abuse (Easton, Renner and O’Leary 2013). This elucidates
that physical aggression that are more painful and more severe are more
noticeable risk factors for suicide than those abuse that are not physically
such as verbal and emotional abuse.

            Any form
of abuse is proven to be vast social problem in not only America but the world.
Whether you are a female or male and have been abused, it affects you in
significant ways. Although I truly believe that the oppressed gender is women
in our society in almost all aspects, I do believe that it is time for men who
have been abused to have a voice. As previously stated, there are countless
programs, research and studies done about women who have been abused, that give
them the voice to be able to fight back against their abusers. Although I
believe this is important for society, I believe it is time to do the same for
men who have been abused and to stop turning a blind eye.

            There
have been some studies done on how often men are abused and the outcomes they experienced
but it is not enough. Society has explained for years what they expect from men
in the world which is to always maintain a since of masculinity. By giving this
type of persona to men, especially young men, it is giving the message that if
they do not live up to this expectation, they are not concerned a real “man”
and will be judged harshly. This image is leaving extreme consequences that are
affecting men and young boys in our society and telling them that are not
allowed to play the victim. In conclusion, I believe more research needs to be
done to examine just how many young boys and men are being abused in any form
of way and to let them understand that they have a voice and they can and need
to use it. Not only do I believe more research needs to be done, but I believe
organizations need to be created that are aimed for men suffering through their
trauma to help those overcome them and to hopefully lessen the consequences and
outcomes that come with men who are abused such as suicide and depression.
Society needs to realize that we need to meet the needs of men who were abused
and help them and give them a voice that will hopefully help other men who are
too scared to admit they are victims as well to speak up.