Between January and August 2007, 150 cases of domestic violence were reported by men, as against 116 cases for the whole of previous year (Social Affairs, 2007). DOVVSU of the Ghana Police Service indicated 49 assault cases were reported by men against women while assault cases reported by women against men total over 2000 in the year 2006. Most victims of domestic violence are women yet few men are left battered and bruised by their girlfriends and wives.
The legislation seeks to bring an end to domestic violence in Ghana, targeting in particular the abusive practice of “wife beaters” and men who habitually perpetrate violence against their partners. Men were not considered as victims but some men go through hell in relationship.
Men are hidden victims of domestic violence probably because of the stigma and embarrassment men may feel as victims of domestic violence. The official figures underestimate the true number of male victims. Culturally it’s difficult for men to bring these incidents to the attention of the media and police. Men are reluctant to say that they’ve been abused by women, because it’s seen as unmanly and weak. Also remember that violence happens in homosexual relationships and that women aren’t the cause of all violence against men.
Male victims are almost invisible to the society; the problem is that domestic violence against men is portrayed by the media as amusing.
If a man hits a woman, this is portrayed as domestic violence and is unacceptable whatever the circumstances, rightly so. If a woman hits a man, it is usually portrayed as him having “deserved it.” I once held that popular notion, I laughed when a man walked to the hospital with police form indicating physical assault by his wife. Domestic violence is often seen as a female victim/male perpetrator problem, but the evidence demonstrates that this is a false picture.
More men have most probably been charged with domestic violence than women. Just understand that for many men who are genuine victims of domestic violence may well be scared of any woman when they first seek refuge and cannot have even an abused woman there. Men assaulted by their partners are often ignored by the society, see their attacker go free and have far fewer refuges to flee than women (Men’s rights campaign group Parity, UK). Can it be applicable in our country? Is it possible for us to emulate this “Parity” campaign?
BY: LYDIA NUAMAH.