Is help available for male victims of domestic abuse?

| 06/10/2016

I notice a lot of media in Cayman focus on domestic violence with an interest in male aggressors. Recently an article was released in Jamaica claiming 41% of the male population had been physically abused by their female partners. Across the Western world, more statistics are becoming available showing that women are far more aggressive in relationships, including verbally, mentally and physically. Are you please able to find out:

How many reports are made against female abusers in Cayman?
How many of those reports result in charges filed against the female abuser?
What programmes are in place to assist male victims of domestic violence?
What education programmes are there for the youth and young adult females to educate against becoming an abuser?
What education programmes are there to encourage youth and young adult males about the importance of reporting their abusers?

Auntie’s answer: I don’t think anyone would argue that when talking about domestic abuse, women are much more often the victims, but that doesn’t mean that men cannot or do not suffer violence at the hands of their partners.

CNS Local Life

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Once again, I asked Ania Milanowska, executive director of the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre, to offer some insight on this issue.

As mentioned in a recent column on stalking (See Advice if you are being stalked) the Crisis Centre runs a 24/7 emergency line (943-2422). Last year, of the 360 calls received, six separate men called, Ms Milanowska noted.

“None of these men asked for safe shelter for them or their children and if they had, we would have found a place for them,” she said. “We do not turn people away. This is not indicative of the incidence of violence against men by their female partners – the US statistics state that one in four women are abused at some point in their lives by an intimate partner and one in seven men are.”

She added that in Canada it has been reported that 19% of men and 21% of women were abuse victims, and that the reason for the increase in numbers for males is that more men are starting to come forward.

“Domestic violence victims carry a lot of shame and guilt. It is difficult for women to come forward and admit that their spouses are abusing them. It is safe to say that it must be even harder for men. Society has imposed more stringent rules for men about what it means to be ‘a man’ that are hard for men to want to come forward, or to be believed if they do,” she explained.

As for educational programmes, Ms Milanowska said last year the centre conducted 53 presentations for schools, preschools, churches and other organisations, and for more than five years has been involved in school outreach programmes.

“Our programmes are not gender specific,” she added. “We talk to children about healthy relationships and what they look like, domestic violence and its impact on children, children’s safety, the effect of child abuse on emotional and social development, and sexual abuse and trauma.”

During the presentations, the centre’s representatives discuss coping mechanisms that the children can use to deal with violence in the home. Ms Milanowska pointed to statistics which show “young victims and witnesses (who are victims by the nature of what they have seen, even if they experienced no blows themselves) are those who are most likely to be abusers – whether they are male or female.

“It is the cycle of violence that we need to be concerned with and we look at this issue in a holistic manner – we want people to stop talking about domestic violence as if it was a women’s issue, or a men’s issue. It is a societal issue and it will take a major shift in view in order to end violence in homes.”

For anyone who would like to talk in person to someone from the Crisis Centre, the facility is expecting to open a drop-in service 1 December at Crown Square (formerly Trinity Square) on Eastern Avenue. At the location, she explained, they “will be better able to help men, teens, children and our past clients with group and individual counselling, (and) expand our crisis line to be able to take more forms of crisis calls – for example suicide calls and calls from parents at their wits’ end and at risk of hurting their children.  We hope that men will use this new facility, and that we can start helping them find lives free of violence as well.”

I think this is great news for Cayman and I applaud the hard, and often thankless, work of the good people of the Crisis Centre.

For more information, go to the CICC website.

Please note that I am still working on getting answers to your questions about reports by male victims and if any charges have ever been filed. When I get that information, I will add it to the column.

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Comments (4)

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  1. buddy says:

    Right on,
    I am very happy to hear this kind of discussion and awareness in the Caymans. I am from the US and can tell you firsthand the issues raised by the men here are very real. Unfortunately we have the no.1 nation of female to male abusers in any western society in the world. The stats above cite the lack of resources and info keeping many men unaware in the U.S. Its refreshing to hear this as I would love to one day live in Caymans.
    Auntie, you need to treat this thing with the seriousness it deserves. Sadly many men in US turn to redpill mentality to cope. I think you need to get the answers and post them or wait till you have the answers before replying to your readers. That will give you more credibility.

  2. Anonymous says:

    here in Cayman they only have an anger management class for suspect domestic abusing males but not women. Also, the crisis centre is for women not men. Bottom line the discrimination against men by the system and yes other men “RCIPS” is without question. In fact, the responding police officer usually just try to have sex with your crazy abusive girlfriend or wife for giggles or bully you when they show up- but lets make it clear they have no intention of being with them because they are themselves Playa play on .

    Be smart cayman men…never marry a abuser and keep all your property in your name or the name of a family member. Never let them convince you to put the lease in their name or car always your if she turns into a monster you kick her out of your life and let her find her own way. Maybe the Crisis Centre will take her in because that type of woman is a crisis to herself and the community.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Dear Auntie,

    Unfortunately the manner in which you have elected to open up this conversation is highly misleading and discriminatory. How can you possibly say ” I don’t think anyone would argue that when talking about domestic abuse, women are much more often the victims, but that doesn’t mean that men cannot or do not suffer violence at the hands of their partners.”, when further below it’s highlighted that men are hesitant to come forward. What this means is that it’s an impossibility to determine by those random measures.

    However, multiple studies have been done worldwide, and are now coming forward that women are in fact the primary violent offenders, and more likely to be mentally and verbally abusive. A good question may be to ask, why ha the CICC, FRC, RCIPS, and Government completely ignored this prevalent issue. The problem is governments refuse to address this issues because politicians fear losing the female vote and judges fear being labeled against women.

    Here is an excellent video citing the issues of domestic violence.

    Ms. Milanowska equally leaves out the number of other factors for why men don’t come forward. The #1 reason being, if they call the police, and man is likely to be arrested himself through false allegations. A point referenced in the above youtube video. Further, is the reaction by police and the community if they do come forward. RCIPS are well known for ignoring or even laughing at male victims.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It is great to know that there is help for all victims of abuse here in Cayman. I think there is a misconception in the eyes of the public that Crisis Centre is there only for female victims. Thank you Anna and your staff and board for all you do in our Islands.