Earl Silverman says abuse by women deserves greater recognition
By Christopher Walsh, editor
The province has ignored male victims of domestic violence and does not provide adequate resources for men looking to escape violent domestic situations, says a menâ€™s rights advocate whoâ€™s heading to court to fight the issue.
Â Earl Silverman, who first launched a complaint against the province with the Human Rights Commission back in 2006, will appear before a judge at a judicial review Wednesday at 10 a.m. in Calgary Court of Queenâ€™s Bench to hear if his complaint will come before the commission.
â€śAll I know is there are male victims of domestic violence,â€ť said Silverman. â€śThere are not the same support services available to men as there are for women.
â€śWe have explored the needs of women for such a long time, at the expense of ignoring men. At what point do we say we can put that on hold and start looking at men now?â€ť
Silverman himself is a male victim of female perpetrated domestic violence, finally forced to leave his wife 20 years ago to get away from the abuse. Since that time, Silverman has started a helpline for men because there were no similar resources at the time and a few years ago, he opened the Menâ€™s Alternative Safe House or MASH, to give men a shelter to escape violent domestic situations. Neither operation has been recognized by the provincial government to date.
The issue of male victims of domestic violence is still one of those dirty, little secrets amongst polite society, Silverman says.
â€śMen are not really provided with an option of asking for help,â€ť he said. â€śNumber one, men are not victims. Victim is sort of reserved for women. I want men to be recognized â€¦[The groups involved] donâ€™t want to admit thereâ€™s a problem.