When I write about Domestic Violence there are so many aspects to it. Where it leads, why we abuse, why we accept being abused and so on. In a way I’ve been selfish, making all men look like wife abusers and basically making them all look bad.

In the beginning of this year, 1997, I am being taught a lot about men. For a longtime, well all my life, I was taught that men were in control of women and in control of themselves and their feelings. Society taught me that. Society taught us that. That phrase “Male-Dominated Society” is a phrase that’s been around since the beginning of time. In a way, it was true. Women were not given rights; it was alright for men to instill obedience in their wives and women in general.

But now things are changing. Women are given rights, women are allowed to voice their thoughts and women are being listened to. Society has turned itself around.

Now, we’re at the point in our lives where some of us really don’t take time to listen to the men. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that it’s alright for men to beat their wives. I’m just saying that I’m starting to understand that men do have feelings, but society has taught men to be “strong”.

Society taught them that men don’t cry and men shouldn’t express their feelings and that they are weak if they do. But in reality, this is so untrue. Men cry and men hurt.

They’re only human. The only thing the Creator made differently about men is they can’t bear children and that he made them stronger on the outside. Inside they are just like us. They do have feelings. They are not machines.

To the men I’ll tell you a bit of how a woman feels when she is in an abusive relationship. Maybe it’ll help you a little in coming to grips with reality and maybe it’ll make you realize that it’s okay to hurt

inside and it’s okay to cry.

When a woman is physically and/or emotionally abused she gets confused.

She wonders to herself, is the abuse a way to show her she’s being loved or being hated? She waits. She holds alot of pain and maybe she hopes her spouse will find a way to help himself. The first step I think a male may want to take to help himself is to look deep down inside and deal with his past or present traumas and experiences and face them, by talking about them. You don’t hurt someone you love, you confide in them. You share with them, that’s the only way you should show someone you love them. When you don’t speak about what’s hurting you, you hurt someone else. You’ll either end up really depressed or alone. Being married does not only mean bringing up the children, cleaning house, working and having everything you want, there is so much more to it.

Love for one thing. Being yourself, allowing yourself to dream and most of all sharing with each other, sharing the good and the bad, being able to tell each other that it’ll be alright and that you’ll stand by one another. It’s not fiction. It’s not a fairytale. It’s life and it’s the only way to be happy.

Since I started writing, men have actually come to me and spoke to me about their burdens. One subject most of the men talked or wrote to me about was “Sexual Abuse.” I sometimes sit at home and cry and think to myself how difficult it is for men to speak openly about being sexually abused. For myself, I couldn’t tell anyone I was sexually abused until I was 22 years old, 13 years after it had happened to me. It was hard, I felt ashamed, I felt dirty. But I’m a woman, and people don’t look at me funny when I speak about being sexually abused. But for men, the way society looks at them, the image we are given, is that this doesn’t happen to men. But again, in reality, it does. I don’t understand why we are made to look at men like they are machines. It’s harder for men to deal with their hurts than it is for us women. It’s sad when I think about all the men out there who go through many abuses and who can’t help themselves all because of the way society sees them. It’s so easy for me to say to the men out there that it’ll be alright once they let everything out. The men who have tried know it is difficult. It’s frustrating to change people’s attitudes and to make them look at men differently.

To the men out there, I don’t know if it’ll make a difference, I just want to apologize for being one of the many people who believed that men don’t have the same feelings and hurts women do.

This “Male Dominated Society,” has damaged all of us. We should all be equal, both men and women.

If you work hard on yourselves, I guarantee that you will find serenity within yourselves and you will find that love for yourselves which will allow you be able to love someone else, someone you will want to spend the rest of your life with. Remember, only you can make society look at you differently, because whatever happened to you wasn’t your fault. Always remember that!

This article would never have been written if it was not for my classmates at the B.S.W. course (Bachelors in Social Work.) Seeing and hearing my male classmates in our sharing circles has made me finally come to my senses. How I now look at men has changed and it’s all thanks to them. This article is, of course, for my readers to read, but also, this time, I must make a dedication: I dedicate this article to my classmates and to this young man I met at the Oka Treatment Center, Samuel, who had the heart and courage to confide in me. Only you can make your dreams come true! MB