Role Reversal

I know that domestic abuse and sexual assault is one of the most hotly talked about subjects on the internet, and I’ve been extremely hesitant to touch on the matter for fear of being repetitive or simply because I am far from being an expert on the subject. However, the other day I saw a video that came up on my Facebook news feed that really emphasises something that I’ve always thought true but is never really talked about.

You can click here to see the watch the video on YouTube, which is an experiment created by Humanity Initiative who are a charitable organisation that help in supporting male victims of domestic violence. The experiment uses actors who play a couple out in public and the whole thing is filmed by hidden cameras. The video starts by showing the male acting aggressively towards his ‘girlfriend’ in a crowded public space, and before long multiple people interfere, saying  “someone will call the police” and telling the woman “you don’t have to endure that honey”.

The video then goes on to show the exact same scene, in the same place, with the same actors, but on a different day. This time, however, the female is the aggressor, pushing her ‘boyfriend’ and saying “do not try to walk away from me”. Immediately, the reaction from spectators couldn’t be more different, some watch with an indifferent amusement and others are visibly laughing.

To be honest, this really hit home and emphasised something that people really don’t talk about enough. 38% of domestic abuse victims are male, yet it has been made into such a female-orientated issue. The media makes it out that the physical strength that males usually have over females means that they are always the ones in control and can’t be real victims- something that really isn’t helped by supposed ‘feminists’. This is a whole other issue in itself, but the kind of people that put across this idea are those that give feminists such a bad reputation when really their true principles are those that I’m sure the majority of people would fully agree with.

According to the dictionary definition, feminism is “the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men”. Now if you take the definition of egalitarianism – “the belief in the quality of all people, especially in political, economic or social life”. Pretty similar, aren’t they? Yet feminists are portrayed by the media, partially by their own fault, as greedy, antagonistic man-haters, when in reality they simply believe in equal rights for men and women, in all aspects of life.

I’m not trying to downplay the effects of domestic violence on females in  any way, but I’m just struck by the thought of how it must feel to be a male victim in a society that doesn’t really seem to think this exists. On top of the fear and shame and helplessness that comes regardless of gender, you’d have to deal with feelings of emasculation, and constant pressure to never appear weak. Society loves to talk about how women are constantly pressured into holding up ideals of beauty and perfection, but what about the way in  which we expect all men to be fearless and manly all the time? As hard as it is for female victims to speak out, I imagine it’s ten times worse for males. And maybe that’s why no one talks about it.

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