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Dublin: 13°C Friday 19 August 2022

Irish short film sheds light on reality for Ireland's abused men and their families

Each year, over 2,000 vulnerable men contact the Amen domestic abuse service.

DOMESTIC ABUSE AFFECTS whole families, not just the victim, and an Irish short film, The Black, shows this through a detective interviewing a little girl about an incident that happened between her parents.

Sequence 01.Still002(1) (1) Source: The Black

Mark Riordan, who wrote and directed the film, told that he became passionate about the lack of support for male victims of domestic abuse when researching for the film.

Source: Aaron O'Neill/Vimeo

Amen, the only organisation in Ireland which solely supports male victims, had a 37% increase in requests for its services in 2014. That’s 6,600 contacts in total.

Niamh Farrell from Amen told, “A big thing with almost all of the guys that contact us is the fear of not being believed – and a fear about what will happen their children.

“Over 90% of men who use the service have children and there is also no refuge here in Ireland for men.

You’re talking about men being attacked at every opportunity when they’re vulnerable. So when their backs are turned, when they’re asleep, when they’re driving, even when they’re holding a child.
We had one case where a woman took off her stiletto and put it in the side of her partner’s head when he was driving.

The filmmakers worked with the organisation when researching the project and said it gave them great insight into the affects domestic violence has on men.

Riordan said, “They told us some pretty serious stuff and I found myself becoming passionate about the issue.

“I’m from Kerry and they have loads of men coming all the way from Kerry to Meath for their services. They sit in their car alone and feel they have nobody to talk to, it’s frightening.

A lot of men can feel like it’s their own fault and their partner is right and they are bad people.

“I think all the campaigns are targeted at women and children, which is great, but can make men feel like they have no support.”

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Sequence 01.Still005(1) Source: TheBlack

According to the national office for the prevention of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence, Cosc, only one in 20 men report domestic abuse, compared to one in three women.

Riordan added, “Men need the encouragement to talk to people, if a few men came out it could change the whole perspective.

“We’re hoping to inspire victims to come forward and not bottle it up and think they are a horrible person.”

Men experiencing domestic abuse can contact AMEN on its helpline number, 046 9023718 or through its website.

Read: ‘I’ve been punched, kicked, scratched – if I stay I’ll be killed’: Stories of Ireland’s abused men>

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