DENVER (KDVR) — October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and during the pandemic, the severity of cases was at an all-time high.
SafeHouse Denver is hoping to snap the stigma of speaking out for anyone who is a victim of domestic violence. This includes increased calls from men.
Historically, when people think of domestic violence they think that victims are women with cis-male partners.
However, SafeHouse Denver is seeing an increased number of men and people who identify as LGBTQ. Still, only 5% of adults who use their services are men and 13% are LGBTQ.
Abby Hansen with SafeHouse Denver said domestic violence can happen across all relationships and SafeHouse does offer support to male victims, people who are in same-sex relationships, and/or people who are transgender or non-binary.
“I think the biggest problem is that there is such a barrier to accessing services for male and non-women identified survivors,” said Hansen, the SafeHouse Denver chief program officer. “Male survivors often experience shame, blame, guilt, and feel really uncomfortable reaching out for supportive services. That’s why at SafeHouse Denver, we really feel that it’s upon us to be as open and welcoming as possible so that men, transgender, and nonbinary individuals feel comfortable accessing our services.”
“We definitely see a lower number of male-identified survivors reaching out for services through SafeHouse Denver. I don’t think that’s because abuse isn’t happening to men, I think that there is a stigma for men that are considering reaching out for support,” Hasen said. “So, we’re taking Domestic Violence Awareness Month as an opportunity to speak to those marginalized populations and to speak to male survivors specifically to say this is an open, welcoming space, and we want to support you.”
Hansen said that it could be the stigma associated with reaching out or it could be that men aren’t aware that organizations like SafeHouse help men too.
The biggest sign they said to look out for if you believe your loved one is in an abusive relationship is isolation. Are you hearing from them less or are they acting differently? It might be a good idea to encourage them to call the 24/7 Crisis Line at 303-318-9989.