Why We Need To Start Portraying Men As Victims In Media

For years now there has been a debate on whether or not men can truly be victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. There is a stigma in today’s society that because the men are supposed to be dominant then there is no way a woman could possibly overpower him and the same stigma exists in homosexual relationships. There is a notion that men are too strong and powerful to ever be victims of abuse whether it is physical, mental or emotional and it comes from something as trivial as men being emasculated for crying. Because you know showing signs of emotion automatically removes your status as a man – note the sarcasm.

As a woman, it is hard for me seeing boys I know go through pain but refuse to cry or feel bad for being called out for crying because it makes them less of a man but also angry.

It is truly heartbreaking that men in our society are deemed weak or even worse gay (again sarcasm) because they dared to let salty water drop from their eyes.

Recent studies have shown that men generally refrain from reporting cases of domestic violence and other forms of abuse such as rape because they are afraid of being called weak or accused of lying. We as a society need to open up our eyes to a truth. Everyone has the possibility to be abused. That means not only women and non-binary individuals but also men. Yes, males.

I watch Law and Order: SUV religiously, less for entertainment but more for education, purely because they generally do a wonderful job on educating individuals and their storylines are based on current events. But one massive problem I have seen is the lack of representation of male victims.

Over the years they have featured male rape storylines with one case featuring a female on male rape, but if such a high profile show portrayed more male victims, it would go a long way in highlighting to its viewers that male sexual abuse does exist.

In the UK, Holby City airs weekly. It is a medical drama focusing on Holby City Hospital in the fictional town of Holby. Recently one of the storylines featured Dominic Copeland one of the long runnings, much-loved characters of the show go through abuse from.his boyfriend and fellow doctor Issac Mayfield.

Holby City writers have been commended for the storylines by various critics in the UK because they felt they showed such an important issue in a very realistic manner. I watched the storyline unravel from subtle digs about his weight, to closing him off from.his friends and family, to verbally abusing Dominic when he did well at work but Issac did badly.

It was such a well-written storyline because of the way the writers developed it. It wasn’t rushed or pushed to the back, but viewers instead saw how subtly abuse can start. It seemed to us that everyone knew Dominic was being abused except Dominic himself. The fact that Dominic was normally in high spirits and was lived but many if the viewers clearly showed them that the relationship was not healthy at all.

Even when the abuse became physical, Dominic would try and make excuses for Issac until an incident occurred in the hospital that made hum realise enough was enough.

What I think was important about the storyline is the aftermath. Till now it is clear that Dominic is not ‘back to normal’. Isaac’s comments on his weight cause him to work harder in the gym than normal and also use supplements which are badly affecting his health.

Not only did producers develop his abuse storyline in a realistic manner, but they also showed how abuse doesn’t end once the perpetrator is caught; there is an aftermath and it requires help from other people in order to get through it.

It is important for such issues to be shown in the media because it gets the word out there and it helps to educate people. 13 Reasons Why started more discussion into noticing signs of depression and how important it is that we treat others properly. The inclusion of LGBT+ characters in different shows and movies aided the reduction of homophobia and the support of LGBT+ causes and individuals.

To the men silently suffering: know that you are loved and there is help avaliable if you need it. You should never suffer in slience and reporting the crime will do you much more good than harm. I know it may seem difficult to do so but the amount of relief that will follow will be mean so much to you. Being abuse is not your fault and you should never think about it like that. It doesn’t take away your masculinity and in fact, it takes guts to speak out about it especially with the mindset people in our society have.

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seventeen year old writer based in london. find her on twitter: @moyojadekadri instagram: @moyokadri or email her: moykadx@gmail.com

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