Men and Women Can Face Abuse

It happens so often yet no one hears


Caption by Natasha Castanedo

A horrific event has begun shedding light into a sensitive topic. One that occurs often but was never really talked about. You might have heard or read about it here and there. It was something that’s hard to miss as it has been seen all over the media no matter where you look, especially in recent weeks. I’m referring to the infamous Amber Heard and Johnny Depp defamation lawsuit. The trial has been developing for a while now with Amber Heard’s testimony in the trial against her ex-husband being cross examined by Depp’s lawyers.

While many have been voicing their opinions on social media choosing between being Team Amber or Team Johnny, one thing was made clear in this lawsuit: men and women both can be victims of abuse.

We often read how women were victims of domestic abuse, how they successfully left an abusive relationship and others, like the Gabby Petito case that ended tragically. But what we don’t often hear about is how men can be victims of domestic abuse.

A woman can be the aggressor as well. Domestic abuse does not always have to be physical, it can be mental, sexual or emotional. We hear about women’s abuse but what we don’t often read or talk about is men’s abuse.

Growing up in a Latino household, I always heard the older men in my family tell my younger cousins that men are supposed to be “the man of the household” and that “boys don’t cry.” I would always hear about how men are supposed to be these big tough guys who aren’t supposed to show any emotion or talk about their feelings.

It’s not only harmful to men’s emotional and mental health, but it’s also very toxic.

According to The Guardian, 40% of men are victims of abuse. Men often see their aggressors, usually women, go free. Men also often faced lack of support from the police that tend to disregard their claims of abuse. Domestic violence usually happens for power and control which usually leads to physical violence.

Domestic violence can occur to anyone at any time. The trial between Heard and Depp placed a spotlight on the issue of how toxic relationships can lead to physical and emotional harm to one or both partners. Regardless of which side you’re on, the best takeaway from this trial is to realize that both sides can be a victim of physical, emotional and mental abuse.

While women have a greater access to resources, help and shelters for those seeking refuge from a violent partner, the same can’t always be said about men. The stigma surrounding men and the lack of support for these men is appalling. Men who are abused should be given more access to counseling and resources.

A study also found that 8% of men who have reported being abused have been shot at, stabbed or have faced some forms of retaliation. Domestic abuse can be biting, kicking, punching, spitting, slapping, yelling, lying, controlling or threatening to force someone to do something. Only to name a few examples.

So far, we’ve heard allegations against Depp from Heard’s lawyers signaling drug and alcohol abuse. This is also a common factor that can lead to potential abuse. Not many know that being on drugs or drinking alcohol can lead to any form of abuse. Focusing on the trial, Heard alleged that Depp had sexually assaulted her with a liquor bottle during an alcohol induced fight in 2015. While such allegations should always be taken seriously, this is an example of how alcohol or drug induced violence can affect those around.

According to the American Addiction Centers, approximately 90,000 cases of domestic abuse were caused by alcohol in 2016 with 40%-60% of people admitting that they were under the influence of alcohol or drugs when committing these acts of violence. While 300,000 victims of violent assaults reported their attackers were being under the influence each year.

Audio released and played in the court during the very public trial between Heard and Depp gave another example of how women could be the aggressor in many forms. Now, it should be known that this audio shared by Depp’s team in the courtroom alleges that Heard was violent towards Depp. This was not to point any fingers or choose sides but another form to showcase how men could be victims of emotional abuse.

As we wait to see how the Heard and Depp trial continues and ends, we should all keep an open mind regardless of who we side with. Men and women could both be victims of abuse. Heard and Depp’s toxic relationship highlighting just how domestic violence can affect anyone both in the average person and celebrity alike.

For anyone who’s in need of help, know that you are not alone. Here are a few resources below:

National Domestic Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or Text START to 88788
NCADV website offers resources and information on how to protect yourself and receive help
Domestic Shelters helps you find a shelter near you (for both men and women)
Creating a safety plan also helps with documenting evidence
1in6 helps men who’ve been sexually assaulted or abused. You can chat anonymously or with a trained professional.
MaleSurvivor is a support group for men facing or who have faced sexual assault where they can find a therapist or support groups. Parents and partners can also receive information regarding sexual abuse.
RAINN provides information on preventing sexual assault and helping survivors. RAINN also provides one information to the public. They can be contacted by phone 24/7 at 1-800-656-HOPE(4673)