A survivor’s story | Guest Column

 

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and an anonymous client of Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Services of the San Juan Islands wrote the following piece.

Domestic Violence is something hidden behind the inner workings of our society. It’s hard to believe, but it’s far more common than most people realize. As a male survivor of domestic violence, I’d like to advocate that DV comes in different forms than what most people generally assume about the topic. Although women are the overwhelming majority of victims, I believe it’s important to realize that anyone can be a victim of abuse. I was blackmailed by my former partner and verbally abused in such a way I had to seek help from the court system. I’m inclined to believe that there is a stigma within the system that it’s assumed that men can’t be victims in situations such as these – that they just aren’t standing up for themselves. In short, my abuser evaded justice, and I’d go as far as to say that if our genders were switched, she wouldn’t have.

Besides myself, I have two other close family members who are also survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, and as far as I know the men responsible for causing them such trauma have also walked away from their wrongdoings. As far as I’m concerned, that’s three cases out of three where the abuser was allowed to walk freely without atoning for the agony and trauma they inflicted on others.

Domestic violence is a horrible affliction to our society that often goes overlooked and left unchecked. Year after year men and women around the world are harmed and abused by their spouses and are too afraid to reach out to the proper people for the help they need to continue living their lives free from fear.

My goal with writing this is that awareness for domestic violence will be raised and people who know about domestic violence happening are encouraged to speak up. It’s important to know that you are not alone. DVSAS did a wonderful job helping me during my time of need. They understood the severity of my problems, handled them delicately and responsibly and helped me do what I needed to do to have my say in court as well as provide counseling to keep my sanity in check throughout the process. Although I may have not have gotten the safety I was looking for, it’s of critical importance not to stay silent on the subject.

Love shouldn’t hurt, and no one deserves to be treated the way these men and women have by their spouses. If you know of someone being abused, speak up – you may be the difference they desperately need between life and untimely death.