People tend to think that men cannot be abused in a relationship. We are all too familiar with women who are physically, emotionally, and sexually abused. In fact, most abuse victims are women. However there are a steady minority of abuse victims who are men.

Our culture leads us to believe that men cannot be abused.

Most often, men are emotionally abused. Their female partner may frequently criticize, degrade, and humiliate them. She may also use emotional blackmail. Some examples of this are threatening to destroy his reputation in the community (whether valid or not), threatening to destroy his relationship with his children, or manipulating him with tears, guilt, or gaslighting.

Men can also be physically and sexually abused. Women can be stronger and more aggressive than men. Men can also avoid fighting back, afraid they may hurt the woman. Men can be forced into sex when they don’t want it, or into types of sexual encounters that they don’t want.

The longer anyone is in an abusive relationship, whether male or female, the more difficult it becomes to get out. Any sort of abuse whittles down our ability to be our own advocates and to be proactive concerning our own self-interest. It is not until the victim is truly out of the relationship and feels safe that he or she can begin to see the extent of the abuse and to begin to heal.

It takes a particular kind of courage for male survivors of abuse to speak out. Male survivors deserve our support and our respect.