In a society where discussions on gender-based violence (GBV) have historically focused on women as victims, a significant shift is occurring. The recent revelation by the Respect, Educate, Nurture, and Empower Women (RENEW) organisation sheds light on a stark reality—domestic violence is no longer a gender-biased issue, and male victims are emerging from the shadows to seek help.

The courageous act of a 27-year-old man, who reached out to RENEW to share his experience and seek assistance, exemplifies the changing narrative. He spoke of the economic challenges in his marriage that led to emotional abuse on him. His story serves as a poignant reminder that domestic violence affects individuals of all genders, dispelling the long-standing notion that men are less likely to seek help in abusive situations, particularly within intimate partner relationships.

The statistics provided by RENEW are eye-opening and challenge preconceived notions. In the past year alone, 69 out of the 788 reported cases of GBV involved male victims seeking assistance. The trend continues, with 70 and 61 male victims seeking help in 2022 and 2021, respectively. These numbers emphasise the urgency of acknowledging and addressing the plight of male victims, as they grapple with various forms of abuse, ranging from emotional and economic to physical.

RENEW has been at the forefront, offering a comprehensive range of services to male survivours, including counselling, livelihood training, legal and medical aid, shelter services, and psycho-social support. Despite this, societal expectations and perceptions often deter men from seeking help. The prevailing notion that men should be stoic and resilient in the face of abuse needs to be dismantled, creating an environment where victims feel safe to break their silence.

Misconceptions surrounding RENEW’s services contribute to the under-reporting of male survivours. RENEW officials are quick to dispel these myths, emphasising that the organisation supports all genders. An urgent call is made to men, women, and children alike to come forward without hesitation, ensuring that no one is left to suffer in silence.

The issue of domestic violence transcends individual victim; it impacts families as a whole. Officials from community service centres stress the importance of addressing root causes such as communication breakdowns, lack of understanding, and family interference. Fostering healthier relationships is key to reducing the incidence of gender-based violence.

As a society, it is imperative that we collectively acknowledge and address the reality of male victims of domestic violence. Breaking down stereotypes and encouraging open conversations are crucial steps towards providing support without bias.

The commendable commitment of RENEW to serve all genders underscores the need for collective responsibility to ensure that victims, irrespective of their gender, can access the support they need to break free from the chains of domestic violence.

It is time to shatter the silence and stand united against all forms of domestic violence, regardless of gender.