ISLAMABAD: A few months ago, a 26-year-old man was brought to Polyclinic Hospital in a bruised up condition. After he was treated for his wounds, the doctors were startled to discover the cause of his injuries. The man had been beaten black and blue by none other than his wife, with the choice of weapon being her shoes and his crime, unemployment.
In a country where domestic violence against women takes place in a majority of households according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, men are hardly seen as docile victims of marital wrath. But contrary to norms, incidents of wives physically abusing their husbands do occur.
Not only are these incidents unusual because of the patriarchal society they are set in, a majority of them go unreported as well, as they paint the husband’s masculinity in an unfavourable light.
Dr Sumera Khanzada, a clinical psychologist, said it is difficult to get accurate data on the issue, as the practice does not take place on a large scale and male victims are hesitant to come forward.
She went on to add that not only are men physically abused by their wives, but are also emotionally, socially and financially.
The husband’s inability to earn an adequate amount of money is a constant thorn in the path towards marital bliss. Dr Khanzada said men felt harassed because of their wives’ constant nagging over this issue.
Meanwhile, Dr Sharif Astori, official spokesman Polyclinic claimed that majority of the reported incidents of domestic violence against men come from upper middle class families. He also added that the tendency was seen in two-income households, where both husband and wife are working professionals.
Dr Rizwan Taj, head of Psychiatric Department Pakistan Institute of Medical Science (Pims), reiterated Dr Astori’s claims and said majority of the cases come from educated families of urban areas. “Since such victims belong to educated and socially well off families, they try to hide their problems with even more vigour,” he said.
A woman, on condition of anonymity, told The Express Tribune that she had hit her husband and had thrown him out of the house because he was not “earning enough and always demanding money”.
Although most cases of domestic violence against men go unreported, Dr Furrukh Kamal, medico-legal surgeon, Pims said some times legal action is also taken. But Naeem Iqbal, a police spokesman said: “Only those cases are reported which are of serious nature and men are badly injured,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2010.