Women are the fairer sex; so it has been said over the years. Sometimes I feel we put too much emphasis on protecting girls/women (not that it’s a bad thing) that we forget boys/men. I think about young boys, who are rarely considered when security measures are being ‘dished out’. They may not always be on the news because they were married off young to older women, etc. but they sure have their own fair share of woes.
Hypothetically, there’s a rape. Two people, a male and female are placed in front of a focus group, and the people are asked to point out who the victim is and to back their answer with a brief explanation; high chances are that majority will assume the female is the one who got raped.
A stereotypical belief has been made over the years that men are stronger than women and therefore women happen to be automatically the victims whenever there’s a scuffle between the two sexes. In most reports it is showed that girls and women are more prone to rape because they are vulnerable, therefore preventive measures are put up to keep them safe; campaigns are conducted to create awareness about the predicaments of the girl child…
However, I’ve come to realize there’s so much that goes on backstage; so much that’s not aired or even reflected in statistics. Rarely are we told about young boys who are molested by older women/men; men who are battered by their own wives; men who are sexually harassed by their female honchos at work.
Late last year, I was watching a news feature, highlighting the plight of men, who are victims of battery; battered by their very own wives. A caller, who was watching the show, said his wife usually beat him but he wouldn’t dare tell anyone because the other men would scorn him. When asked whether he’d told his friends, he said he hadn’t and wasn’t planning to because they would think he wasn’t man enough.
I sympathized with him. He needed help but couldn’t ask for it because he was afraid people would mock him. “What man allows himself to get beaten by a woman?” I imagined some men laughing derisively at his misfortune. And somehow I understood why he couldn’t come out and say it in public, that he was being abused by his wife. Maybe he wouldn’t be mocked, but I’ve seen how people react when a man is maltreated by a woman. The issue is treated like a taboo.
Coincidentally, that same week mom got a call from one of her sisters. One of their brothers had been in a fight with his wife and she had bitten part of his lower lip off. I was taken aback. The first thing that came to mom’s mind was that her sister-in-law wanted to purposely hurt her brother. She called her brother to get the full story but he wouldn’t divulge much. So she called his wife, who said she had done it in self-defence.
Mom couldn’t do much; she couldn’t interfere in the couple’s affairs. Later she called her brother to ask if he had gone to hospital but he said he hadn’t gone yet. He didn’t give any reasons for his reluctance to get treatment. My mind went back to the news feature. I wondered if he dreaded the doctors would ask how he had sustained the injury and he was afraid of saying his wife-a woman-had inflicted it on him.
Then my mind wandered a bit further. I imagined how the situation would play out if he had to file a report about the assault at a nearby police station… Instead of seeing pity in the officers’ eyes, I saw derision. Maybe in reality it would turn out differently, but I imagined that’s how men feel like when they have to report an assault on them by the ‘fairer sex’.
I bet it’s not any different for boys, who are abused by older women/men. How does one begin to describe how they were defiled, when it’s almost treated as a rare phenomenon? There are very few reported cases of boys/men, who are abused, and sometimes I find myself wondering if the cases are rare because boys/men don’t find themselves victims of abusive women or it’s simply because they are too scared to come out and say it?
The guy who called to say his wife was abusive said he would remain married to his wife, because he was afraid if he left her people would ask questions. He chose to carry that cross stoically. That, plus there’s a possibility there are hundreds of men out there who are suffering the same plight, uncomplainingly, makes me wonder if men are an ‘endangered species’?