`It Is Extremely Hard for a Man to; Explain How He Has Been Abused' Domestic Violence Is on the Increase and It's Men Who Are Suffering. Two Support Groups Are Struggling to Cope with More Than 3,500 Pleas for Help

Article excerpt

HORRIFIC stories about domestic violence prompted Jimmy Binns and Hayden Foster to set up the first support group for male victims in Northern Ireland.

MAP - Men's Advisory Project - offers confidential advice and counselling to men who have been abused by their partners.

The men conducted research into domestic violence and were astounded by the results.

"We discovered that there was an increasing amount of male victims of domestic violence and these men found it difficult to come forward for help," said Hayden.

"Then we realised that there was a distinct lack of services for male victims in Ireland apart from the group AMEN. Jimmy and I realised that we needed a group like AMEN in Northern Ireland but offering a wider range of support services."I have been involved in counselling in the past so I'm aware that men have difficulty expressing their emotions. In fact many men veer towards the macho image which means that they find it extremely difficult to ask for help when they need it.

"MAP isn't just about domestic violence - but we realise there is an urgent need to address that particular problem in Ireland. It worried us that we had to go to AMEN in Meath to find male victims from Northern Ireland.

"We are also quite happy to deal with female perpetrators and we want to work together with women's groups who are attempting to deal with this problem."

Jimmy revealed that the majority of men they spoke to found the psychological and emotional abuse worse than the physical attacks.

"It's extremely hard for a man to explain how he has been emotionally or mentally abused by a woman and how this affects their self-esteem. …