Male abuse victims just as important as female

Katya Tarabrina, Junior Copy Editor

Domestic abuse has been a problem in our society for many decades. More than one in three women (35.6 percent) and more than one in four men (28.5 percent) in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Men who are victimized are substantially less likely than women to report their situation to police. Just because the number of men is less, doesn’t mean we should ignore them.

In 2011, Sally Challen was convicted of murdering her husband after 31 years of marriage. As Richard Challen was eating his last breakfast, Sally hit him with a hammer more than 20 times.

In 2015, nearly four years after his death, she claimed he was emotionally abusive. According to Sally, Richard criticized her, was controlling and made inappropriate jokes in front of her friends.

The article that caught my attention about this case was by Anna Moore from “The Guardian.” It depicted Sally as a wonderful woman who “just snapped,” calling her a “devoted wife.” In another article she was described as a mild-mannered, conventional mother of two. I believe that Sally suffered from abuse; nonetheless, she still killed her husband.

In my search of similar cases to Sally, I found Steven Rothschild’s case. Steven was married to his wife for 36 years until her death, when she was found in her home bloodied and unresponsive. When Steven’s mental health was evaluated, it was concluded that he had a type of post-traumatic stress disorder that was created by emotional abuse over a period of years. His lawyer claimed that his wife isolated him, made him give up his friendships and quit golf, and constantly criticized him. She made him write endless notes and letters of apologies addressing her, telling her how he was lucky to have her, and complimenting her. The lawyer had more than 200 pages of notes and letters to support his claims.

Steven was treated differently than Sally.  

“There was one victim and unfortunately she was not able to speak for herself. Her life was taken wrongfully. This was domestic violence. We respect the jury’s verdict but believe an individual who commits violence to others should be punished to the fullest extent of the law,”  the District Attorney said about Rothschild’s case.

Of course, murder is absolutely wrong unless it is self-defense. But Sally and Steven’s cases were crimes of passion. Their cases were eerily similar. Both were emotionally abused by their spouses and both murdered their spouses. They didn’t die by accident. They didn’t die because their killers used self-defense. They were murdered. I could not find many articles talking about Steven’s struggle with his wife. Sally’s actions were excused, and her husband was showed as a horrible person.

In a country that has had so much inequality between the sexes, this is so saddening. Two in five of all victims of domestic violence are men. Most male victims don’t even speak up about their abuse or assault. Men who get assaulted by their partners are often ignored by police, see their attacker go free and have far fewer refugees to flee to than women.

Men are socialized not to express their feelings or see themselves as victims and they are still taught to “be a man.” Men rarely are able to show their emotions, men are taught that being emotional isn’t “manly.” Some men don’t even realize they are being abused by their partner because it is so normalized by our society.  

Every abuse victim is important. Males, females, aliens, whatever. We shouldn’t look at their gender and think automatically that their accusations aren’t valid. This is what equality is all about.