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Ms. Vicki: It Hurts When She Hits Me

Ask Ms. Vicki

The silent epidemic of men in abusive relationships

Did you know that more than five million men are battered each year? Men in abusive relationships are a hidden epidemic and they suffer in silence. There can be many reasons for this silence. One reason could be embarrassment; our culture applauds strong, masculine men, and being abused by a woman can be seen as not only demeaning, but also emasculating. Men may also be more likely to be in denial about abuse, and disbelief that their spouse could be abusive. They make excuses for her behavior and say things like: she had a tough childhood, she doesn't mean to hurt me, and if I try harder to please her she will stop hitting me. Now you are isolating yourself from family and friends because you are embarrassed and ashamed about the abuse.

According to a Department of Justice national survey, more men than women are victims of intimate partner violence and over 40 percent of men have suffered severe physical violence. However, more often abuse comes in psychological and emotional forms.

Here is one recent letter among many I've received recently from a man whose wife is abusive:

Dear Ms. Vicki,

My wife is 5'5". She weighs 125 pounds. She may be small is statue but she is constantly kicking the dog crap out of me, literally. She screams, and yells at me for any little thing. She calls me stupid, dumb and she tells me "you aren't nothing". I can't do anything right and I'm feeling like I'm failing in my marriage. When it's the 1st or the 15th she is happy as can be, those are my pay days. If I tell her she can't go on a shopping spree she hits me, punches me, and has kicked me before too. It's like she is having a temper tantrum or something, a terrible one for someone who is 32 years old. I don't even want to be around friends or family any more because I'm afraid they will see my bruises. My wife was the most loving woman in the world but as soon as we were married things completely changed overnight. My four-year old son recently said "Mommy's gonna beat you up again." She thinks it's funny…she laughs when she hurts me. Is my wife bullying me? Can women be abusive or am I overreacting? Could you let me know what I should do Ms. Vicki?

Sincerely,
No Laughing Matter

Signs that she is abusive (there are others):

  • She is controlling
  • She loses her temper regularly and you feel like you are walking on egg shells
  • She hits, kicks and slaps you
  • She swears and name calls
  • She threatens you

Your wife could be much smaller than you. It doesn't matter -- women can be abusive. Abuse is no laughing matter. It will get worse if you don't get help. Here are some resources below:

Military servicemembers should contact their family service center (Fleet and Family Service, Army Community Service or Marine Corps Family Service). You can speak to a Victims Advocate who will give you advice and resources. Your reporting of the abuse could be restricted or unrestricted.

S.A.F.E. - Stop Abuse For Everyone
Battered Men's Helpline - You can also call their toll free number: 1-877-643-1120

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Contributor

Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, has been the Dear Abby for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on Military.com and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Looking for advice about your military life? Email Ms. Vicki here. Find Ms. Vicki on Facebook here.  Find Ms. Vicki on Twitter here.

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