You Should Be So Lucky: “Manning Up” to Male Abuse?

The following article presents an account of domestic abuse that could be uncomfortable for some readers.

Published: Jul 31, 2023  |  


It’s a Sunday. I’m minding my own business and I check my messages. I see a message from a “Sarah”, a mate of a mate’s mate, you know. We met on social and chatted a few times before about music and the like. Nothing salacious, but she always seemed flirty. I open it and have a read. “You’re very sexy.” She says she’s never been that forward before, but hey “Cheers” I reply. It’s seen. The 3 dots pop up. “Odd but yeah. Also I wanna ride your pipe”. 

Love a compliment, but that was odd. And I’ve got no bandwidth for any misunderstandings right now, and I know it’s only a laugh, so I reply: “Ha Ha I’m okay”.

Oh come on.” She types. The three pulsating dots appear again.

Stop being fridged, 😆 I’ll just get on. What you gonna do? Stop it, Get off me, get of my 🍆💦 don’t touch it, I’m sensitive. Report me because I shagged you? You’d be laughed out the police station 🤣” 

And BOOM! There it is. She’s not only talking to me like that because she wants to do those things. It’s because she can. 

Now I’m no prude, but that got me thinking: How is it that men are expected to put up with this?

Could I say that to a woman in her DM’s and not risk losing everything? I’m gonna start by saying this now: I am in no way belittling or minimizing what women go through. That is not what is happening here. A man talking about what men go through is not discrediting anything else or anyone else’s experience.

But that interaction reminded me of a girl I used to date about 10 years ago. Shan was about 5ft1, had beautiful big brown eyes, and a personality to die for. Funny, curious, strong, articulate, but physically… Let’s just say she wasn’t the type of woman I’d usually go for, or that friends would expect to see me with.

Usually, I’d always ended up with one of the most sought-after girls because I was considered “not too bad” myself; but not being shallow, I dated Shan because of all the reasons above. The person she was won me over rather than the person others or she felt they saw.

What happened next started subtly. It started with “Where are you going?” whenever I’d go out with friends, then “Who’s that?” whenever I spoke to another woman, which descended into her grabbing my arm or holding my hand the moment another woman was in the vicinity. Now, I’m aware of insecurities, because of course we all have them, and looking back (and being fair to Shan), I can admit that I was a flirt. But so was she, so this stuff didn’t really bother me too much, and I always reassured her that I was her man.

We’d laugh a lot, hang out pretty much every day and talk about who the thief at the hotel she worked for could be and how they were stealing money from customers’ rooms.

But It wasn’t long before the insecurities graduated. Very subtly they went from: “I can’t believe I’m with you…” 

To: “I don’t know what I’d do without you…” 

And then: “I don’t know if I could live if you weren’t with me…” 

And inevitably: “I love you so much. If you left me I’d kill myself…”

I mean I hadn’t intended to leave her, but it doesn’t make you feel like you have a lot of options, you know. 

Suddenly any disagreements we had was extra scary because I never knew what she might do in anger. On a few occasions, when I was going out with my friends—I found out. 

If she couldn’t come, she’d lash out, slapping my face or trying to scratch it. Once she slapped me so hard when I was going for a weekend away with mates that I was close to tears. But I had to tough it out because the boys were waiting for me downstairs, and what was I gonna say? “Shan Just slapped me and it hurt”? I’d be kicked out of the manor.  She’d dig her nails in my back so much during sex that I thought “You’re just trying to hurt me”, and she was. She said, “I want you to remember me and if another girl tries it on you, she’ll see these and know you’re mine.”

Luckily all scratches healed, and no other woman was much bothered by them, but one thing she was right about: I will never forget her, and I’m quick to grab a woman’s hands if the nails ever start scratching too hard. (That’s called trauma)

It got to a point where I had to check in with Shan all the time, let her know where I was, and who I was with, or she’d get very upset. She’d demand I came back to hers and on occasion when I stayed over at hers, I’d wake up to her having sex with me. 

Now, let’s stop pretending it doesn’t (or can’t) happen. Men get 4 to 5 erections per night and everyone knows about morning glory. I’d wake up and she’d already be on top, going at it and staring at me with those saucer eyes. And no, I never complained at the time, why would a man? That’s what we’re taught, right? I didn’t know I had the right to. I didn’t think men could. Would it even be considered a crime?

And it wasn’t always “Woo hoo great” because as she got more and more controlling—and what I later realized was abusive—she started to look like the way she felt she did.

By that point, the only thing that interested me were the stories of the thief at work that was getting so bad the hotel and the police decided to set a trap using ultraviolet ink.

It was Saturday afternoon when she called from the station cells. They’d arrested her that morning and she’d be out on bail, so I had to go and pick her up. She said she’d been stealing because of me. She felt that the only way she could keep me was by buying me things and that was an easy way to get money. I blamed myself of course. Shit! Had I made her feel unwanted? What was I doing wrong? 

I stayed for another 6 months before we split, and even after that tried to stay cordial. That is until she found my new girlfriend Lilly in a mall and told her that she wouldn’t be able to keep me.

And I’d like to reiterate: This isn’t a woman bashing article. Shan was not a psycho—which is easy for a man to call a woman he doesn’t like—but that’s the tragedy. Shan was a normal, slightly insecure, woman, that liked to get what she wanted, because she couldn’t always have it. She had her problems, as we all do, but what I realise now, with all the empathy and compassion in the world, is that now in 2023 we would call her an Abuser.

She was an emotional abuser.

She was a physical abuser.

She was a sexual abuser. A rapist.

Because the truth is, if you read this story and a man had done all of these things to a woman—which they unfortunately do—they would be looking at certain jail time. Even a few years ago incarceration would have been a no-brainer. But it happens with the reversed gender roles and in all other manner of couples also. And it’s more common than people think. 

Men are taught and conditioned by society to accept it. Like the message in my DM’s said: “What you gonna do, complain?  You’d be laughed out the police station 🤣” 

Before men are completely made the villains in society, we need to speak up—we need to fight back. Not in anger, but in a way that shows that we are willing to learn and listen and change, but equality has to go both ways. 

Criminality aside, if a man can lose everything for his actions, then so should a woman. BeKind should not just be a hashtag. We’re all just human and all make mistakes. Education and rehabilitation is key, not hate and ostracising, because honestly there would be nobody left if we all judged each other.

Women still have the rough end of the stick, but currently the cards men are dealt not only allow people like Shan to get away with it, but think it’s okay, especially if they feel society is on their side. But unless a man is killed or seriously harmed… who takes him seriously?

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