Imagine that your partner has been hitting you. Yelling at you. You’ve been married for a few years, you’re both in your 30s, you have a little daughter, and everything you do seems to be wrong. You’ve been made fun of, mocked and belittled by your partner.
But you need them, because you can’t take another failed relationship. You can’t be alone again, and they’ve got you convinced that all the beatings and scratches and scrapes are your fault.
You tell your friends and they laugh. No matter how many bruises or cuts you show them, it’s still your fault, so you hide them. You feel trapped, but you don’t feel like you can escape. You’re convinced that you’re just locking yourself in.
And you see online one day an article. Someone else went through what you have. They got the cuts, the bruises, the scratches. You see that here is hope and freedom from these beatings. The physical and emotional pain can go away, there is someone there to help!
So you write down a list of 10 abuse victim hotlines, for people being abused. And you call them one by one.
If you were a man:
6 of those hotlines would refuse to help because of your gender.
3 of those hotlines would refer you to or give you a number to a hotline dealing with people that abuse and are looking to stop.
1 of those hotlines would help.
Out of those 10, 2 of those would also laugh at you or say you deserved it.
If you were a woman:
10 of those hotlines would help.
Abuse is very scary, but what seems scarier to you; being abused, reaching out and getting the help you need, or being abused, reaching out and getting laughed and turned away over 60% of the time because of who you are?
Only 8% of men who call abuse hotlines find them ‘very helpful’ and get the assistance they need.