Columns 5.9.2013 07:00 am

It’s not only men who abuse

It is unthinkable that a man would be slapped around by his spouse, but it happens. Generations, the long- running soapie on SABC 1, is currently running with the theme of abuse of men.

Dineo Dlomo, played by Katlego Danke, and Phenyo Dlomo, played by Melusi Yeni, have a unique marriage where the wife swings from being happy to being a physically and emotionally abusive person.

She is portrayed as a power hungry wife who slaps her husband without a thought. On the other hand the husband has an affair to nurse his ego. Abuse of men seems unreal but statistics show that there are men who are in abusive relationships, proof that men are not immune to abuse.

Statistics on domestic violence are limited but, according to The Times, Gauteng social development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza mentioned that “three out of every 10 victims of gender-based violence are men”.

Since many cases of violence are not reported, the number may be higher. Women may have been labelled as the weaker sex but the subtle way a woman can reduce a man to a mere boy is unsettling.

Some women are known for dishing out verbal and emotional abuse. That is sadly a common manner that women deal with men in their lives.

To lift a hand and strike anyone is unacceptable.

When a man is struck and he does not strike back it means the man respects himself enough to never resort to physical abuse. There is an admirable quality there. Women who go around physically abusing men are as much to blame as men who abuse women.

At times a woman hits a man in self-defence. That is different from just using her hands to settle any dispute. Men and women must accept that no one has the right to abuse another person.

It is a shameful norm that men have largely been abusers. It will take society a while to seriously view men as victims of any type of abuse. Systems must be put in place to encourage men to report if they are being abused in any way.

Law enforcers have to be trained to handle such cases with sensitivity and seek justice for men, instead of greeting abused men with laughter and ridicule.

 

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