BBC Radio 4 is broadacasting two programmes on male victims of domestic abuse that the ManKind Initiative charity for male domestic violence victims has helped in development.
The first (Believe Me) is a 45 minute play about a male victim of domestic violence and the second (The Last Refuge) is a 30 minute documentary about male victims of domestic violence
Mark Brooks, chair of The ManKind Initiative says:
“The documentary features our Hon. Patron, Ian McNicholl. I believe it also unfortunately features sceptics and you will be able to judge them and their comments for yourself. If you have any feedback on the play and the documentary, then I will of course be grateful to receive those comments.”
You can read more about Mark, who is a strong advocate for men’s rights and male victims of domestic violence here. Mark has helped modernise the ManKind Initiative charity and move it away from old fashioned attitudes towards women which didn’t help the charity to provide a credible service for male victims. He can also been seen here on a BBC TV interview with a male victim of domestic violence.
The BBC has been criticized in the past for its coverage of male victims of domestic violence – see the debate that followed coverage of male victims of domestic violence on woman’s hour here.
Glen Poole, chair of The Men’s Network, said:
“I was at a BBC Radio drama meeting in Manchester in 2003 when a up and coming woman writer pitched an idea for a drama on a male victim of domestic abuse. The BBC commissioner chairing the meeting dismissed the idea out of hand. The reason she rejected the idea was because she said ‘it didn’t happen’. I challenged this statement only to be told – “I don’t want to pull rank but I worked in a women’s refuge and I know it doesn’t happen”.
It is perhaps appropriate then that this drama is called “Believe Me”.
One of the biggest barriers that hidden victims of any kind of abuse that is taboo face is being believed as Dr Michele Elliot’s work on victims of female sexual abuse reveals – you can read about this on our post Six Top Sex Abuse Taboos We Must Smash
Appropriately, the new BBC drama is called ‘Believe Me’. One of the core values of the women’s refuge movement is to ‘believe women’. It is clear that whatever services male victims of domestic abuse need, the core value should always be ‘we believe men’.
However many services for male victims do NOT take this approach choosing to “screen” men who approach them – a process that is not applied to women who come forward for help. You can read here about domestic violence services screening male victims.
Critics say that screening men in this way deters them from coming forward, a concern that is particularly important address when British Crime Survey figures show that male victims of domestic abuse (41%) are twice as likely to tell no-one that the abuse has happened despite the fact that 40% of victims of domestic abuse are male as reported in The Observer, The Mail and Family Law Week.
Listen to the programmes on BBC Radio 4 today (Monday 10th January) or see if you catch them afterwards on BBC iplayer:
Believe Me – BBC Radio 4 (14:15)
The Last Refuge – BBC Radio 4 (20:00)
You can email Mark Brooks with your views on the programme at firstname.lastname@example.org