Violence in the relationship – in every fifth case the woman hits it – counselor

“We know that men beat women,” says psychologist Bjorn Sofke, 49. “But for most people, it is inconceivable that one fifth of violent assaults in partnerships come from women.”

It’s a taboo, says Süfke, who works at the Men’s Helpline (0800-123.99.00), which was founded two years ago. In the first year, 1480 callers sought support there, and in the second year there were already 3,043.

61 percent of callers reported having experienced domestic violence. In most cases it is psychological violence, with 42% physical violence. Is it all just rumours? All allegations only on a hotline?

never. In the “Criminal Assessment 2020” of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), the statement on the topic of violence in partnership is clear:

“Partner violence at the expense of men appears to be of increasing importance. It is an indication of this. The continuous increase in the number of male victims of intimate partner violence in recent years (2016: 24,124; 2017: 24928; 2018: 26362; 2019: 26889; 2020: 28867) and the increase in the proportion of male victims among all victims of intimate partner violence (2016: 18.1%; 2017: 17, 9%; 2018: 18.7%; 2019: 19.0%; 2020: 19.5%). “

Statistics only show that the numbers are rising. The statistics don’t say whether it was because men dared to complain more often or whether there was more violence against men (or both).

In any case, the development was reason enough for CDU politics Ina Scharenbach, 45, to set up the men’s helpline in April 2020: “People affected by violence cannot live freely – and neither can men,” says a minister from the North Rhine. Westfalen, which is also responsible for gender equality there.

“Violence against men must be broken. With the men’s helpline, we have taken an important first step,” Scharenbach told BILD.

The hotline is now also supported by the state governments of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. A third of the callers come from other federal states, showing that the plight of those affected knows no national boundaries.

But why wouldn’t a 1.90m man bounce when a 1.65m woman hits him? Simply because it’s not violent, says psychologist Sofky.

In addition, everything moves in a spiral, and in very few cases the fist lands in the face. It usually starts out completely unsurprising when a partner is in a crisis or stressed out. The range can range from exam stress to pregnancy.

Often the attacking person explains the first attacks, there are reasons for stress and fear of the other. “But at some point the pregnancy or exam was years ago, while the violence continued to increase and became a part of everyday life,” Süfke says.

Even daily criticism leads to fear

and then? Then you need help. According to the psychologist, it is easy to determine the point in time for this.

Need help if…

…you have the feeling that you no longer dare to say certain things for fear of the reaction. This can be a very simple everyday criticism, such as: “Can you please put your dishes away so I don’t have to do this all the time?”

… you no longer dare to say things that were previously completely trouble-free, but are now answered with psychological or physical violence.

In a violent partnership, does that always mean a breakup in the end? “It doesn’t have to be that way,” says Süfke. In some cases, men have to be physically removed from relationships and placed in appropriate shelters.

“But in many cases, victims don’t want to end the relationship, they want the violence to end,” says the psychiatrist. Only without outside support this would not be possible for most of them.

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