Our column last week on male domestic abuse seemed to have stirred a hornet’s nest.
Based on online comments, readers looked at the problem from different perspectives, which reminds me of the fable of the five blind men and the elephant.
The blind men touched different parts of the elephant, and their individual descriptions of how an elephant looks expectedly differed from one another.
Conscientious Filipino wrote: “A lot of people are suffering from mental illness or low self-esteem. Some people have a need to lash out, and the usual targets are the people close to them. Couples should recognize this and seek help. One way is through church groups like Marriage Encounter, if not psychiatrists.
“Being judgmental does not really help, nor do articles like this. You should know the person you are marrying. If the relationship is abusive from the start, perhaps you are not meant to be together. She will be better with someone else, and so would you.
“Once you are married, with kids, it becomes more complicated, particularly if you have strong Catholic beliefs. If you are already in this kind of relationship, seek help if and when you need it, until people regain their self-esteem to perhaps realize that their love for the other person is more than the sum of all her problems.”
Askal-01 sounded cynical with his comments: “Pagkakaintindihan lang dapat ’yan, pero y’ung gender equality na ’yan, kalokohan ’yan. Equal ba ’yan na kung sasakay ka ng LRT hindi puwede y’ung mga lalaki sa unahang bagon dahil para lang sa mga babae y’un? Napaka-unfair ng society natin.”
(It only needs mutual understanding, but that gender equality, that’s crap. Is it equal when you ride the LRT and males are not allowed in the first coach because it’s reserved only for women? Our society is so unfair.)
‘’Wag na kontrahin’
Labuyo advised: “’Wag niyo na kasi kontrahin mga misis niyo para ’di kayo masaktan (Don’t go against your wife so you don’t get hurt).”
RainaWoodGasBoat seemed to have equated females batterring their male spouses with being dominantly liberated. “Adultery is passé to Filipino women. They are not afraid of the wrath of God,” she posted.
George Morales rose to the challenge for male victims to speak up. He wrote: “I am one of them. Imagine being verbally abused 24 hours a day. If I had weak emotions, I would have gone bonkers.”
Caligula the Younger posted:
“No self-respecting man, would allow himself to be like that. Especially kung sila ang kumikita ng pera (if they are the breadwinners).
“Kung ang babae ang kumikita ng mas malaking pera, posibleng maging ‘Andres.’ At saka palagi naghahabol ng pleasure si lalaki, kaya BEHOLDEN siya sa kapangyarihan ng asawa. Kawawang mga lalaki (If the women are earning more, it’s possible the men will be henpecked). Victims of culture and their hormones.
“But the effect on society and on the country, that is the more important thing.”
Piping Dilat offered comic relief as he justified the calm resignation which some men have: “Of course, there will be little or no complaints from men being beaten up by their wives! Who will admit that in PUBLIC? I love you, my dear… Tsup!”
Quda said: “Reminds me of my electrician when he reported late for work sporting a shiner and bruises—I was single at that time—and gave me a piece of advice: ‘Ayaw jud pangasawa ug tambok, ’Loy, kay dagmalan lang ka’ (Never marry a stout woman, because she’ll beat you up). Lol.”
Momoy wrote: “There must be a law to protect battered under the saya men, calling (it) Gabrielo, not Gabriela.”
Erica still could not believe male domestic abuse exists: “I don’t think so, hihihi, that’s only a defense mechanism of some men… hmmp!”
Male domestic abuse can truly be multidimensional, and could come in different forms. It may be physical, emotional, verbal, sexual and financial.
It’s important that both the male and his spouse or partner realize that either of them could take the role of the abuser and victim. And what’s sauce for the goose can also be sauce for the gander.