HUNDREDS of Cork men experiencing abuse from partners reached out to a domestic violence charity for help last year.
AnyMan, a service for men suffering domestic abuse, has said there is an urgent need for safe beds in Cork for men escaping violent relationships.
Andrea McDermott, social care team leader with AnyMan, said the domestic abuse their service users have suffered has taken many forms, from financial abuse to crimes of a sexual nature.
“We’ve had men who have had objects used on them,” she said.
“They have been raped or forced to take viagra. Some abusers will compare their partners to previous boyfriends and say things like at least he gave me what I was looking for.”
She said that a male refuge is badly needed in the Cork area.
“It’s different for men because there are no safe beds. There are no refuges a man can bring his kids. If a man is leaving he is taking his kids out on the streets,” she said.
The lack of accommodation is leaving a number of men in dangerous situations.
“The only place a man can stay is within the homeless services or on a sofa. That’s not a place he can bring his kids.
“This is why so many men stay in dangerous relationships.
“One of their biggest fears is that is they leave on their own the kids will suffer the same abuse. There is not even one safe bed in the whole of Cork that a man who has experienced abuse can use.”
Andrea hopes that in time the charity can generate enough funds to open up an outreach centre in every county.
“We are a very small charity,” she said.
“It’s very sad for men who contact us that have to wait three weeks to see us. In that time a situation can escalate. The man may even return to a dangerous relationship, having previously made the decision to leave.
“It would be fantastic if we had a place where they could come and see us, even if it was a day after contacting us.”
She added that support is vital for an abuse victim even after their relationship has ended.
“Sometimes when a man has been in a situation where he has been controlled for years it’s very difficult for him to come out on his own. This is especially true when someone has been kept isolated for years.”
She talked about the signs to watch out for in relation to domestic abuse.
“When we think of men being abused we think of black eyes and broken bones.
“In reality, the signs are not always physical. Abuse can present itself in the form of belittling and name-calling.
“It can be financial abuse where the man has no access to their own money. Abuse can also occur through text messages or abusive emails. It’s very frightening for someone in that situation to try and explain what is happening to the courts and Gardaí.”
- See www.anyman.ie or call 01-5543811.