Content Warning: Violence
Let's talk about the prevalence of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) in men. When discussing safety, ‘women’s safety’ is the predominant direction of most conversations, but this can overshadow the lack of safety experienced by other groups - including men.
A misconception is that only women experience a lack of safety. This is wholly disproven through the following eye-opening statistics published by The Government of Canada:
Men report 20% of all IPV cases in Canada
20% of IPV homicide victims are men
There was a 10% increase in police reports filed by men and boys between 2018 and 2019
Men are less likely to report IPV to the police, and even when they do, 64% of male survivors reported being treated as the abuser
1 in 3 men have reported experiencing IPV
44% of male victims of intimate partner homicide are Indigenous
48% of gay men and 66% of bisexual men have experienced IPV in their lifetimes
After reading those numbers, one would be hard-pressed to claim that men don’t need to be accounted for in programming that aims to reduce violence.
Everyone has the right to safety. All gender identities. All races. All sexual orientations. While we can recognize that certain groups are disproportionately more affected by assault and abuse, it would be uninformed to entirely eliminate whole groups of victims and survivors from our work and programming. In speaking with a former social worker some time back, it was highlighted how social services for men are severely absent. Many safe housing facilities are catered towards only women, or women and their children. Where do the men go if they are experiencing violence? Who do the men reach out to for support when they have been harmed?
The month of November is meant to raise awareness about men’s mental health and well-being. As we approach the end of 'Movember', let's remember to work towards improving safety and equity for everyone - that includes men. It would be a very inequitable society if only women are taken seriously when they report abuse or assault. The feminist efforts over the past several decades to give women a voice, to give women equal rights, to give women the power to safely come forward against their abuser or assaulter have led to incredibly important changes in societal mindsets, in policies, in funding allocation for social services, and in women’s safety and wellbeing. Yet, so much work remains, and a large part of that work is approaching safety from an inclusive perspective that equally validates the voices of all survivors without discrimination.
BOLT Safety Society's programs and resources aim to serve all people without discrimination or judgement. As such, with it being Movember, we want to emphasize that men who need Safe Buddies are encouraged to call us. Men who need a safe space can find one on our network of Safe Hubs. Male-identifying survivors who want to learn about their options for seeking support can do so on our Digital Platform.
Men: we are here for you. We believe you.