An annual event called the “Walk a Mile In Her Shoes” event was canceled in York, PA earlier this year after the organization behind the walk decided to change course and make the event more inclusive to all. The Walk a Mile In Her Shoes event is similar to those that many organizations across the country created to bring awareness to domestic violence victims.
The organization recognizes that women, men, and others can all find themselves victims of domestic violence. People of all genders are victimized every year, and the last thing they wanted to do is make anyone feel excluded. They're changing the name of the event from “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” to “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes” in order to present more inclusive messaging.
How Does Domestic Violence Affect People?
Domestic violence is a pattern of controlling, coercive, and threatening behavior towards a partner or family member in order to gain power and control in a relationship. Domestic violence is not just physical abuse. It can also be emotional, sexual, and financial, and it could involve threats to your children or other family members.
Domestic violence can happen to anyone at any age, race, gender, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. Anyone in a relationship can be a victim of domestic violence, and anyone in a relationship can be a perpetrator of domestic violence. Victims often seek PFAs, or “protection from abuse” orders, in order to get protective relief from the courts. Once a PFA order is issued, the respondent is prevented from coming into contact in any way with the plaintiff. Abuse victims can find relief with these orders, but if someone is afraid to reach out for help, they remain in danger.
Why May Some People Be Afraid to Reach Out for Help?
One in three women and one in four men will experience domestic violence at some point in their lives, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Though it's often thought of as a problem that only affects women, domestic violence knows no gender boundaries. In fact, men can be victims, too. So why are they sometimes afraid to come forward and seek help?
There's still a lot of stigma surrounding male victims of domestic violence. For one, there's the stereotype that men must be physically stronger than women, so they should be able to defend themselves if they're being attacked. This line of thinking not only discounts the fact that women can also be physically strong but also disregards the fact that abuse isn't always physical. It can also be emotional, mental, or financial.
Another reason men might be reluctant to reach out is that they might not want to be seen as weak or vulnerable. In our society, there's still a lot of pressure on men to meet the traditional “male” ideal—the strong, silent type who never shows emotion. As a result, many men feel like they have to bottle up their feelings and deal with them on their own. They might not even realize that what they're experiencing is abuse because they've been conditioned to think that abuse only happens to women.
Sadly, another reason why some male victims don't seek help is that they're afraid they won't be believed. Unfortunately, there's still a lot of skepticism surrounding reports of abuse by men. People might not believe them because of the aforementioned stereotypes about what constitutes abuse or because they think the man must have done something to deserve it.
Reach Out to an Attorney for Help
No one deserves to be a victim of domestic violence—no matter their gender identity. If you're a victim of domestic violence, you need help making moves to protect yourself.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the team at the Lento Law Firm have years of experience helping victims of domestic violence get the legal help they need to protect themselves and move forward with their lives. They can help you figure out the next steps so that you can move forward with your life.
Contact attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686. Your future depends on it.