How to Identify Signs of Domestic Abuse in Desi Men

We shed a much-needed spotlight on domestic abuse in Desi men, how you can spot the overlooked signs and what to do to support victims.

How to Identify Signs of Domestic Abuse in Desi Men

Abusers often employ tactics to isolate victims

Domestic abuse is a pervasive issue that affects individuals of all backgrounds, including those within British Asian/South Asian communities.

Domestic abuse encompasses a wide range of behaviours aimed at exerting power and control over another person within an intimate relationship.

These behaviours can include physical violence, emotional manipulation, financial control, sexual coercion, and isolation.

Despite its prevalence, discussing domestic abuse remains taboo, especially when relating to male victims.

This creates barriers for men in need who are trying to seek support.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the warning signs of domestic abuse, navigate cultural barriers to seeking assistance, and provide resources for support.

By shedding light on this critical issue, we can raise more awareness of male victims and encourage a safer environment for them to deal with their trauma. 

Recognising Signs of Domestic Abuse

How to Identify Signs of Domestic Abuse in Desi Men

Domestic abuse has profound effects on victims, extending beyond physical harm to include psychological trauma, economic instability, and social isolation.

It can erode self-esteem, create barriers to seeking help, and perpetuate cycles of violence across generations.

In British Asian/South Asian communities, discussing this is a stigma due to cultural factors such as honour, shame, and familial expectations.

These cultural norms can discourage victims from speaking out.

There are four main categories of abuse, but these break off into other subcategories. 

Physical Signs

Physical signs of domestic abuse may include visible injuries such as bruises, cuts, or broken bones.

However, it’s essential to recognise that not all victims exhibit physical signs, and abuse can also be non-physical. Some things to look out for are: 

  • Experience frequent injuries, often attributed to “accidents”
  • Regularly miss work or social engagements, offering no explanation
  • Wear clothes to conceal bruises or scars (e.g. opting for long sleeves during warm weather)
  • Flinching when you are close to them
  • Look down when spoken to by their partner

Emotional and Psychological Signs

Emotional and psychological abuse can be more difficult to identify but is equally damaging.

Warning signs may include constant criticism, manipulation, threats, and controlling behaviour that undermines the victim’s self-worth and autonomy. Some things to look out for are:

  • Displaying fear or anxiety while trying to please their partner
  • Experiencing belittlement, humiliation, and degradation
  • Facing threats of false accusations as the abuser
  • Being manipulated into believing they’re losing their sanity
  • Exhibiting significantly reduced self-esteem, despite prior confidence
  • Facing threats of false accusations upon leaving
  • Demonstrating notable personality shifts, such as becoming withdrawn
  • Suffering from depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts

Financial Control

Financial abuse involves exerting control over a victim’s financial resources, limiting their access to money, employment, or education.

This can manifest as withholding funds, sabotaging job opportunities, or forcing the victim to account for every penny spent. Try and see if you witness some of these signs:

  • Asking for their partner’s permission to spend money
  • Don’t have their own wallet/bank cards
  • Ask you to lend them money continually
  • Miss social events due to “lack” of money

Isolation and Control

Abusers often employ tactics to isolate victims from their support networks, including family, friends, and community.

They may monitor or restrict the victim’s communication, dictate their activities, and create a sense of dependency to maintain control. You can look out for:

  • Experience limitations in seeing family and friends
  • Seldom goes out in public without their partner
  • Lack of access to social media, or previously had it restricted
  • Unable to commute to or from work independently

Supporting a Friend or Loved One

How to Identify Signs of Domestic Abuse in Desi Men

Approaching a friend or loved one about suspected abuse requires sensitivity, empathy, and non-judgment.

Listen actively, validate their feelings, and offer support without pressuring them to disclose more than they’re comfortable with.

Moreover, offer emotional support by validating the victim’s experiences, reassuring them that the abuse is not their fault, and helping them explore their options for safety and support.

Avoid blaming or criticising the victim.

This can further perpetuate feelings of shame and self-doubt.

Encourage your friend or loved one to seek professional help from trained counsellors, therapists, or support groups specialising in domestic abuse.

Offer to accompany them to appointments or assist them in finding resources that meet their needs.

Navigating Cultural Barriers

How to Identify Signs of Domestic Abuse in Desi Men

Cultural stigma surrounding domestic abuse can exacerbate feelings of shame and isolation for victims, making it challenging to seek help or disclose their experiences.

Breaking through these barriers requires community education, awareness, and support.

Family dynamics and expectations within British Asian/South Asian communities may discourage victims from speaking out about abuse for fear of tarnishing the family’s reputation or disrupting familial harmony.

It’s essential to challenge these norms and prioritise the safety and well-being of individuals.

Likewise, beliefs and interpretations can influence attitudes toward gender roles, family dynamics, and interpersonal relationships, impacting perceptions of abuse and help-seeking behaviours.

Engaging community leaders in dialogue can promote understanding and support for victims.

Seeking Help and Support

How to Identify Signs of Domestic Abuse in Desi Men

Helplines and hotlines offer confidential support, information, and resources for victims of domestic abuse.

They can provide immediate assistance, safety planning, and referrals to local services, empowering individuals to take steps toward safety and healing.

Understanding the legal options and protections available to victims of domestic abuse is crucial for navigating the legal system safely and effectively.

Legal resources may include obtaining protective orders, seeking legal representation, and accessing financial assistance or housing resources.

Additionally, counselling and therapy offer survivors of domestic abuse a safe space to process their experiences, heal from trauma, and develop coping strategies for rebuilding their lives.

Therapists trained in trauma-informed care can provide invaluable support and validation.

Breaking the silence surrounding domestic abuse requires a collective effort to challenge cultural norms, dispel myths, and promote open dialogue within British Asian/South Asian communities.

By speaking out and supporting survivors, we can create a safer, more supportive environment for all individuals affected by domestic abuse.

By working together to raise awareness, challenge stigma, and provide resources, we can create a culture of safety and support where survivors can heal and thrive.

If you or know a victim getting abused, reach out for help and support:

Balraj is a spirited Creative Writing MA graduate. He loves open discussions and his passions are fitness, music, fashion, and poetry. One of his favourite quotes is “One day or day one. You decide.”

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