Here is a fascinating page about domestic violence against men, Men Don’t Tell About Being Abused. It begins with a description of the movie Men Don’t Tell, which can be watched on that page:
On March 14, 1993, CBS aired “Men Don’t Tell”, a TV movie about domestic violence starring Peter Strauss and Judith Light. The twist: Strauss’s character, construction executive Ed MacAffrey, was abused by his wife Laura, played by Light.
Based on a true story, it dramatizes the story of a loving husband, who is terrorized by the violent behavior of his wife. He had long endured the physical and emotional abuse heaped upon him by his neurotic wife.
Ed MacAffrey tolerates this not only because he loves her and is concerned over the welfare of his daughter, but also because men are traditionally regarded as weaklings if they allow themselves to be battered by their wives.
After one of Laura’s destructive tantrums brings the attention of the police, Ed is suspected of being the aggressor!
Finally, Laura goes too far and Ed tries to defend himself–whereupon Laura crashes through the front window of her home and is rendered comatose. Ed is arrested for Domestic Violence and Attempted Murder.
It also links to a page which reads,
After its initial broadcast, CBS came under pressure to never show the movie again, or allow for its release on VHS. Nor has any other movie of its type ever been made again.
WHY? The movie had a twist to it. Based on a true story, the main character, construction executive Ed MacAffrey, was being abused by his wife, Laura.
Starring Peter Strauss and Judith Light, the movie was the first of its kind to ever be made addressing the problems and issues of 40% of domestic violence victims, who happen to be male.
March is the 20th anniversary of the original broadcast. Join the effort to get CBS to rebroadcast the movie, and bring together the still surviving members of the original cast and the director, Harry Winer, for interviews of the making of the only movie ever made addressing the problems of male victims of domestic violence.
Actually, I have seen other such movies. One is the movie version of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew.
Another is an independent movie about three men who share a lodge for annual get-togethers: One marries a woman who begins battering him, while sitting home and doing nothing, until he tries to leave and she starts physically stalking him.
She even goes to an agent hoping to get a song? published, but abuses the receptionist in a psychotic rage. (One of the men is a college professor who cheats with a co-ed.)
Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name, just that it was an independent movie made in the late 1990s or 2000s. I have seen the actors in other movies, but forget who they were.
Also on the original page is a video of an investigation by ABC News, showing bystander reactions to men being abused by women. This video disturbs me greatly. The couple may be actors, but the bystanders don’t know that.
What is the matter with people that instead of reacting to this apparent abuse the same way as if it were done by a man to his girlfriend/wife, they walk on by and even cheer her on, saying he “looked guilty” and they figured he deserved it? I’m glad that somebody, at least, called 911!
I can understand if they were scared: Women who abuse their husbands/boyfriends/children are just as scary as men. If you confront her, or if she discovers through other means that you feel she’s abusing her husband and children and needs to STOP, she’ll turn on you.
I saw this firsthand, which is why I’m so concerned about this subject. I saw things Tracy did to her husband and children (such as verbal abuse, ridicule, hitting, screaming at the top of her lungs, smacking a tiny child on the back of the head), I heard from the husband about even more things (such as hitting and punching him, even worse verbal tirades, verbally abusing the children and spanking them too hard).
She tried to force me to be friends with her or else she’d punish me in various ways, such as accusing me of moving in on her husband, ridiculing anything I did or said, trying to shame me, going off on me in jealous rages, acting all sweet to my face while telling her husband how horrible I was, accusing me of nefarious motives for keeping my distance from her.
The psychological torture was subtle but strong. She kept pinning the blame on me for everything, just as she did her husband and children and anybody else she had a disagreement with, and saying I was the one who needed to change my behavior, that I deserved what I got. (You don’t EVER deserve abuse!)
She convinced her husband to go along with it, even to agree with her. She crowed in triumph, not just privately but publicly, when my friend finally betrayed me.
He allowed her to pull out the stops and verbally abuse me full-force, accusing me of things that were not true–when he knew DANG well that I did not deserve any of it, that I was innocent of her charges, that she was blaming me and yelling at me for things he had done, things that had been his idea.
The emotional fallout has been devastating as I try to sort out what happened and crawl back up from feeling just the way she wanted me to feel, like a worm, like I should be ashamed, even though I had done nothing to be ashamed of.
Imagine what it’s like to be related to or married to such a person, unable to just walk away and cut them out of your life.
So I would certainly understand if these bystanders were scared of her, because there is something to be scared of. Women like this are dangerous. They could turn the beating on you. They could tell you to mind your own d*** business.
It takes courage to stand up and say hey, stop doing that!–courage that I wish I had had. But no, these people walked by because they didn’t think it was that big of a deal! One even said that she herself is too nice and should do more of what the actress was doing.
Women should know very well what other women are capable of verbally and physically, that they’re not all angels, because we deal with such females as this all the time growing up and in the workplace.
And imagine what it must be like to be the husband or child of someone who feels she has free reign to abuse you–and you can’t get out, whether because of the stigma, love, lack of resources, or the very good chance that you’ll be the one arrested or losing the children to her.
But there’s still a stigma against men who are abused, that they either deserved it or are wimps. That a small woman couldn’t possibly harm a larger man. It just isn’t true, and what about the children who are smaller than the woman?
Then people try to tell their stories and hear things like, “What did you do to get her so mad?” or “You should forgive!” or “Don’t air your dirty laundry in public.”
I post to raise awareness. I feel helpless because I did all I felt I could do, but it wasn’t enough, I couldn’t stop it. But if society starts treating men who are abused the same way it treats women, maybe things can at least improve.
But this post at the bottom of the page, from Male Victim on 2/20/11, makes me feel better about stepping in, disastrous as it may have been:
Please please please, if you see anything that might even remotely look like abuse, for a man or woman, step in. Error on the side of thinking there is instead of ignoring.