Originally posted on July 7, 2014
Accord to a 2005 study, 15% of women and 6% of men in Ireland suffer some form of domestic violence. Yet none of the shelters in the country provide beds for men:
“There is not one bed for men suffering from domestic violence,” said Niamh Farrell of AMEN, the only domestic violence resource in Ireland for men.
“If there is no bed for men there is no bed for the children [with the men],” she said, explaining that fathers or guardians may not want to leave their children in the domestic situation.
“You can encourage them to look for help but in terms of housing, we can’t do anything to help them with that because there is no refuge.”
This is ridiculous. Abused men face the same problems as abused women. They need to find a safe place for themselves and sometimes their children. If no one provides them with safe housing, many abused men end up in homeless shelters and on the streets. This proves risky because some shelters will not accept men with children, and obviously living on the streets with a child is a poor option. That leaves two options: remain in the abusive situation or leave the situation yourself, but leave the children with the abuser.
Both are untenable, yet little is done to help abused men seeking shelter. Many abused men assume that they have access to equal services:
“[They] will ring and assume that there are the same services for men and women, they ask ‘where do I go?’, ‘but there’s one for women, there should be one for men’. They just think there should be same services for men as there are for woman.”
There should be. There is no excuse for not providing men with the same support given to women. The argument that women are in greater need of help falls flat. The majority of victims of violence are male, yet no hospital turns away women because they see more men.
This is not how one runs a support service. One should provide access for everyone because one never knows when it is needed. It is particularly important in this situation because so few abused men come forward. Perhaps we will find that there are more abused men than we think if we open the doors to them.