Battered Men. Fact, Not Fiction

Man in Silhouette, Photo by Chairman 7w

Man in Silhouette, Photo by Chairman 7w

UNITED STATES - According to statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistic in June 2013, an estimated 85% of women and 15% of men are the victims of domestic abuse.

According to the statistics listed on the American Bar Association's website, the aggregate number of female and male victims of domestic abuse is estimated at 2.2 million victims each year in the United States.

Of this number, 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually. (Source: Patricia Tjaden & Nancy Thoennes, U.S. Dep't of Just., NCJ 183781, (2000) Read Full Report)

In crunching the numbers based upon these figures, the physical abuse suffered by men at the hands of their female partners is actually closer to 42% of the estimated annual domestic abuse cases in this country. Part of the gap in these statistics is probably due to under-reporting of female against male domestic abuse.

Even when statistics seem to support an increasing trend in women physically abusing their intimate male partners, people remain resistant to the idea. It is easier to accept men abusing women because this is often the norm in many countries and cultures throughout the world, including the United States. In an attempt to present fair and balanced reporting, we often note that not all women are victims or all men abusers.

But somehow, it is easier for people to accept a woman being victimized by a man than the converse. This bias was starkly illustrated in an ABC News undercover program in which two actors in a public park feigned domestic abuse in which the women hits, curses at, and otherwise abuses her male partner.

With one exception, when a group of three women decided to intervene and call the police, everyone else walked by as the woman continued to violently strike the seated man. Most of the witnesses passed without so much as a glance, and many who were subsequently interviewed admitted that they believed the man deserved the violent treatment being meted out by the woman.

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlFAd4YdQks]

This role play caught on camera, seemed to illustrate that women who have long been victimized, either felt empowered by witnessing another woman “turning the tables” on a man, or sympathized with the female abuser because she was expressing her outrage at the man who must have “cheated” on her.

If in fact infidelity were the cause of this abuse, which it was not, this does not take into account the fact that it takes two people to cheat and neither should get a pass. Nor does cheating give anyone the right to physically or verbally abuse their intimate partner. But this article is not addressing marital infidelity or its causes, but rather, why people in this video felt that it was okay for a woman to physically assault and verbally berate a man in public without consequence.

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Published: 19 March 2014 (Page 2 of 2)

Why isn’t there more of an outcry? Is this payback for millennia of abuse women have suffered at the hands of men? Or is it that the victims remain silent because they have been emasculated in their homes and fear being further diminished by public admission of this fact? Whether it is all, some, or none of these reasons, many men don't report physical abuse at the hands of women because they are supposed to be strong enough to "keep their women in check."

This is a patently sexist assumption which further reinforces conditions that foster an environment in which ordinary and not-so-ordinary men silently endure abuse at the hands of their female partners. In America alone, there are famous athletes, musicians, actors, a scientist, and two American Presidents who are suspected of having been the victims of domestic abuse either through anecdotal evidence or court documents. (Source: 11 Famous Men Who Were Beat Down By Their Women, by Sam Greenspan) 

Though informative, even the tone of the aforementioned article belies the seriousness of the issue. It is yet another reason why men won’t admit to being abused, preferring to keep the abuse a secret even from their closest friends and family for fear of ridicule. But even more serious is the threat and fear of retribution by the woman they accuse, as she may subsequently report to the police that she was merely defending herself against his aggression.

Many people may find this difficult to believe, but I know a man whose former wife hit him, threw a drink at him, and when he left the house to avoid getting into a more heated altercation, he returned a few hours later to find two police cars parked in front of his house, with policemen waiting to arrest him. Though he tried to present his version of events, and even though he never had a complaint of domestic abuse lodged against him, in fact he didn’t have any arrest record at all; he was jailed.

He was subsequently subjected to a restraining order barring him from the house for nearly 2-months until the court date. His wife subsequently dropped the charges and apologized in open court for overreacting, and admitted to her ‘part’ in the altercation; however, this man now has a permanent criminal record. Whereas she has severe anger management issues which were never addressed nor resolved during their 18-year marriage, he was forced to attend court mandated psychological treatment.

Though his story is hard to believe, one need only look at the ABC News video to see how probable his case is, and the likelihood that somewhere, at this very moment, a man continues to be abused by his wife because he has chosen to stay for any number of reasons. Some like the man I know had small children and he knew that his wife would be punitive and keep him from seeing his children.

She also had a history of physically abusing the children by slapping and cursing at them, and thus he felt it would be better for him to remain in the house where he could at least protect them from the brunt of her anger. “Studies show that women who commit violence against the men in their lives have anger management issues, are likely to abuse their children, yet courts still favor giving the custody of the children to the female even after domestic abuse has been proven.” (Source: Domestic Violence: Men Being Abused by Women)

There is such a thing as a “Battered Man,” and there is such a thing as a "Woman Batterer/Abuser," and the sooner we de-stigmatize this type of abuse, the easier it will be for the victims and the victimizers to get the help they need to break the cycle of violence.

If you need support, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233 or the Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women at (888) 743-5754.

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The Pastor, The Witch, & The Children

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 23:41 PM EDT, 7 June 2012

A medicine man or witch doctor, working on a fetish in Mopti, Mali 1993, Photo by Peter GaulBRITAIN -- The ugly specter of witch hunting has once again found purchase in the United Kingdom. When Americans or Europeans think of witch hunts they recall a period in European history that lasted from the early 16th Century until the early 18th Century and sporadically thereafter.

The countries with the most notable and bloodthirsty trials and the highest number of victims, in descending order are Germany, Sweden, Scotland, America, and England. (Source: Hanover College, Department of History)

Historians and sociologist remain divided on the exact reasons why the citizens of these countries embarked on campaigns to eradicate ‘witches,’ who were primarily identified as women, though men and children were also victims.

Some have suggested that witchcraft was used as a means of subjugating the population to force them to accept Christianity. While others believe that it was a combination of misogyny and Gendercide, however, both agree that it was a combination of factors including mass hysteria and a desire to explain sociological problems such as poverty, plagues, and unexplained deaths.

400 years later witch hunts have once again returned to the U.K. through an unlikely conduit. On 4 March 2012 in London, Kirsty Bamu, a young, Central African Republic (CAR) native was brutally murdered by family members after being accused of being a witch. He was beaten over a period of several days as part of a 'exorcism,' before finally succumbing to death by drowning. There are thousands of African children who are suffering similar fates throughout Britain.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRqrGHA-Azs&feature=related]  "A phenomenon which was eradicated in Europe in the early 18th century is now raging across Africa, where according to UNICEF children between ages 4 and 14 are increasingly accused of practicing witchcraft. With the exception of Liberia and Sierra Leone, the urban phenomenon of child witches occurs principally in the Congo Basin, more precisely, in areas of Kongo culture (Yengo, 2008).

It is no coincidence that these countries, Angola, the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, have also suffered from political instability, endless conflicts and civil wars, and the recruitment of child soldiers. The phenomenon appears to be gaining ground in countries that are geographically close (Cameroon, CAR, Gabon and Nigeria; Liberia and Sierra Leone).

The last decades of the twentieth century were particularly hard for the majority of sub‐Saharan African countries, which have suffered an acute and multiform crisis (social, economic, political and cultural). While a small number of individuals gained wealth rapidly, most people sank into a quagmire of poverty. Furthermore, the social changes that followed the rise of capitalism, urbanization and school attendance had a profound effect on the family, kinship relations and inter‐generational relations. In these circumstances, it is obvious that there were strong tensions between the elderly and the youth, brothers and sisters (in the widest sense), and also one’s cousins." (Source: UNICEF Report Pg. 19 -24)

Although, it is a complex issue, the prevailing belief which seems to be confirmed by news coverage, is that cases of adults in Africa being accused of witchcraft are usually the result of a dispute over inheritance or someone's desire to get that person out of the way. In fact, in the Central African Republic the government legalized the hunt for witches by instituting laws which allow the police to arrest, charge and prosecute women who have been accused of practicing witchcraft. Many of these women languish in prison for years simply because they angered a male.

In the case of ‘child witches,’ in addition to the sociological stresses outlined in the UNICEF report, much of the violence seems to be instigated by ‘ministers’ who preach a Prosperity Theology. A branch of Word of Faith movement, it is sometimes referred to as the prosperity gospel or the health and wealth gospel, and is a Christian religious doctrine which claims the Bible teaches that financial blessing is the will of God for Christians. The doctrine teaches that faith, positive speech, and donations to Christian ministries will always increase one's material wealth. (Source: Wikipedia)

Since children are unable to defend themselves, it is easy for church 'pastors' to level charges against them while simultaneously extorting money from their families who are desperate to remove the perceived evil in their midst. These religious leaders are able to enslave people with their perfidious assertions that these curses can potentially be removed through a large donation.

Once accused, the children do not stand a chance and are subsequently subjected to inconceivable methods of child abuse which are euphemistically labeled as ‘exorcisms.’ Subsequently, when these religious leader proclaim that the inhuman measures have failed to cast out the evil from the child, these precious victims are then thrown out into the street and left to die, or are tortured and killed.

This heinous practice that is spreading across Africa is unfortunately motivated by Christian extremists who are intent upon lining their pockets versus tending to the spiritual needs of their flock. We encourage you to watch the video reports at the links below to learn more about this horrific phenomenon, as well as familiarize yourself with the history of witch hunts and witch trials in Renaissance Europe.

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Death by Marriage | Rape Victim Amina Filali

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 23:31 PM EDT, 18 March 2012

Mukhtar Mai

MOROCCO – On Saturday, 17 March 2012, thousands of people around the world awoke to the horror of the suicide of a young girl who had been forced to marry her rapist.

Her rapist was given the option of marrying the girl under Article 475 of the Moroccan penal code. This antiquated law allows for a rapist to marry his victim to escape prosecution. It is a law that has been used to justify a traditional practice of ‘preserving’ the honor of the woman's family by making the victim marry her victimizer or face certain death.

Amina Al Filali, 16, swallowed rat poison yesterday in protest of her marriage to the man who raped her a year earlier. Rape victims face numerous challenges in seeking justice and healing, but in cultures where the ‘honor’ of the family outweighs the rights of its ‘less valued’ members, a rape victim can be placed in an untenable predicament.

Moroccan families of rape victims, who have availed themselves of this resolution, admit that they coerce the victims into marrying their rapists out of fear that she won’t be able to find a husband if the community finds out that she has been raped.

In many societies throughout Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, the loss of a woman's virginity prior to marriage, not only reduces her ‘value,’ but causes a great scandal which ‘injures’ the entire family. The rape victim is thereby sacrificed so that the males who did not protect her can absolve themselves of further responsibility.

In the photo above, a Pakistani woman, Mukhtar Mai, was gang-raped in 2002 on orders of a traditional village council as punishment for acts allegedly committed by her younger brother. Rather than retreat into silence or commit suicide (the expected response when dishonor is brought to a family), Mukhtar Mai testified against the perpetrators. She used the compensation money she later received to build schools and a shelter for abused women.

As in the States, the burden of proof of rape rest solely on the victim’s ability to prove she was attacked and that she didn’t ‘ask’ for it by putting herself in a compromising situation. In countries where ‘honor’ killings are prevalent, a woman risks being prosecuted for debauchery if she is unable to prove that she was raped.

In the case of Amina, according to her father, Lahcen Filali, the court pushed the marriage, even though the perpetrator initially refused. He only consented when faced with a potential 5 to 10 years in prison, which is the penalty under Moroccan law for rape. However, because Amina was a minor when she was raped, her attacker would have faced 10 to 20 years if he chose to go to court.

Immediately after the marriage, Amina complained to her mother that her husband was beating her repeatedly with increasing ferocity during the five short months of their marriage. Her mother as much a victim of societal pressure and expectations as her daughter, counseled patience.

Amina was subjected first to rape, then to a child-marriage, and finally to repeated physical and psychological abuse at the hands of her rapist. In a society where she had no voice, she chose the only option available to her, to take her own life.

Ironically, it may be this act of desperation that is giving voice to the countless others who are stuck in similar nightmares. Though Morocco updated its family code in 2004, Fouzia Assouli, a women’s rights activists and president of Democratic League for Women's Rights, says there remains a long road to achieve equality.

'It is unfortunately a recurring phenomenon,' she said. 'We have been asking for years for the cancellation of Article 475 of the penal code which allows the rapist to escape justice. In Morocco, the law protects public morality but not the individual and legislation outlawing all forms of violence against women, including rape within marriage, has been stuck in the government since 2006.’

In recent years, reports of young women who have been raped, and then sentenced to death by stoning, have been reported from Nigeria to Iran.

Last year the plight of rape victims in Afghanistan was featured in an European Union (EU) commissioned documentary about Afghan woman serving prison time for so-called “moral crimes.” The EU blocked the film’s release – saying it would endanger the women involved in the film. (Source: Aljazeera)

In an unfathomable abuse of justice, Gulnaz, 21, who was brutally raped by her husband’s cousin, was serving a 12-year sentence for adultery. While in prison, she was raising her infant daughter, who is the offspring of her attacker. By contrast, her rapist only received a 7-year sentence.

President Hamid Karzai, under immense international pressure finally agreed to pardon Gulnaz with ‘no conditions.’ Initial petitions for her freedom required that she marry her attacker, a stipulation which she categorically rejected.

Perhaps it was because of Amina’s youth, her parent’s pressure or unrelenting physical abuse, but unlike Gulnaz, Amina was not strong enough to hold onto hope or life. A Facebook page called 'We are all Amina Filali has been formed and an online petition calling for Morocco to end the practice of marrying rapists and their victims has already gathered more than 1,000 signatures.

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The HIV Murders Club

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 18:11 PM EDT,  7 March 2012

Blood DropMASVINGO PROVINCE, Zimbabwe - Shocking news hit the internet six days ago when a 17-year-old HIV positive maid from Mupandawana, Gutu, was sentenced to a 10-year prison term for trying to infect her employer's four-year-old child with the HIV virus.

People deliberately infecting other people with the virus that causes AIDS is a very real problem both here and abroad. Perpetrators engage in this type of immoral behavior for a number of reasons including denial, anger and revenge.

In the case of Pelagia Mureya, originally from Choto Village in Chief Magonde area in Chinhoyi, she is purported to have sought revenge by putting menstrual blood in porridge which she prepared for her employer's child. She alleged that this was done in retaliation for the ill-treatment to which she was subjected at the hands of her employers. (For information on how HIV is transmitted visit the CDC website here.)

On 11 September 2011, the ABC News program 20/20 featured a report about Philippe Padieu, who was convicted in 2009 for infecting several women with HIV between the years 2004 to 2007. Padieu, actively pursued his victims, convinced them that he was HIV negative, psychologically manipulated them into engaging in unprotected sex with him, and then discarded them when his interest waned or the money ran out.

Padieu was subsequently convicted in a Texas court of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for infecting the women and sentenced to 45-years in prison.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3PA1x8JJkY] In featuring the Mureya case, we also presented Padieu's case to provide balance, because perpetrators of this crime come from all backgrounds. It was especially important to provide this juxtaposition because many of the comments that readers wrote on other sites that reported on Mureya's case were either outright racist or had racial overtones.

This does not excuse the heinous and disgusting manner with which Mureya tried to infect the infant in her care, and from a moral standpoint, both she and Padieu should be considered monsters.

It is alleged by the court and the parents of the 4-year old child that Mureya laced the porridge she was feeding the child with drops of her infected menstrual blood. Even the most callous individual would be incensed at the thought of such an unclean substance being ingested by an innocent and trusting child who is ill-equipped to protect themselves against harm.

This post does not defend Mureya's behavior, and in fact, we believe that the 10-year prison term to which she was sentenced was not harsh enough when a two-year reduction in sentence for good behavior is factored into the equation. Mureya's case would evoke a visceral response in almost anybody, and thus reports of this case have focused on the sensational aspect rather than the fact that a child was used by an adult to exact vengeance on another adult.

The Nahmias Cipher Report's primary mission is to attempt to bring balance in reporting about people of the Continent and in other Emerging Economies. This is why we chose to present an alternative perspective to this story, one that would make readers realize that the deliberate infection of healthy people with the HIV virus is more prevalent than one would think. To that end, though this case is sensational, it is not an isolated occurrence, nor is this crime a uniquely 'black,' 'African,' or 'impoverished people' problem. If you think you are safe, just ask the women assaulted by Padieu.

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