These men bravely shared their own harrowing abusive-relationship stories.

This article originally appeared on 06.14.17


Many of us are familiar with the signs of an abusive relationship. Physical violence is only one of many. Extreme jealousy, verbal insults, controlling behavior, and victim blaming are all hallmark signs that someone is an abusive partner, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

What we rarely talk about, though, is that for as often as men are the perpetrators of abuse, they can just as easily be victims.


Hundreds of men recently took to Reddit to share their own harrowing stories of abusive relationships.

As many as 1 in 4 men have been victims of some form of physical abuse by a partner. For women, it's as many as 1 in 3.

That's a staggering percentage of people.

The grim and heartbreaking thread helped shed some light on an under-recognized reality: Abuse is abuse, and it has no gender.

Here are some of the main takeaways from the powerful thread, which is worth a full-read.

Note: Last names have been left out to protect victims of abuse.

1. The support system for men who are victims of abuse is extremely poor.

Robert, who shared his story of an abusive relationship in the thread, wrote that his ex would threaten him and lash out physically, but no one would ever take his complaints seriously.

"She would throw knives at stuff and wreck the house," he wrote. "I went through 16 police calls before one of them finally gave her a charge for assault."

When the two were finally separated (he writes that she was arrested on a separate charge), he had to turn to information meant for battered women for help putting his life back together. The sad truth is that the shelters and groups out there dedicated to helping men in abusive relationships are depressingly scarce.

2. Men can be victims of physical abuse too. Often at the detriment of their "manhood."

It's hard enough for many men being abused to find people who'll believe them. It's made even tougher that they might be made out to look like less of a man if they come clean.

"It's like I was supposed to just take it because I was a man," Robert wrote.

Tom, another man who shared his story, wrote that he was "embarrassed" when his ex would hit him during arguments, in public, but that he never even considered it abuse until long after they broke up.

Research supports the idea that men might be even less likely than women to report physical abuse. And we wonder why phrases like, "Man up!" are so harmful.

3. The patterns of abusive behavior are consistent whether abusers are men or women.

Another Reddit user, William, said he wasn't allowed to hang out with certain people his partner didn't like, and the controlling and manipulative behavior took a heavy toll on him. "I knew deep down no matter what I did to try and make her happy it was never good enough. I never felt so useless," he wrote.

Many men in the thread, like Richie, wrote that the psychological trauma from their abusive relationship was the most difficult thing to reconcile and recover from. Mood swings, illogical fights, and suicidal threats from Richie's partner pushed him to a breaking point.

"It wore me down to the bone," he wrote. "I was a shell of myself at one point."

The original thread on Reddit makes one thing abundantly clear: The problem of partner violence and abuse is likely much bigger than many people realize.

Over 10 million men and women in the United States are victims of physical domestic abuse every year; a number that doesn't include behaviors like lying, threats, and manipulation.

Toxic concepts of masculinity can sometimes lead to men becoming abusers, but as this thread shows, they can also paralyze men who need help. Fixing our culture's broken idea of what makes a man could be a crucial step toward ending domestic violence and abuse for both men and women.

In the meantime, we can listen to the victims' stories. Everyone, man or woman, deserves to be heard.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship and wants to seek help, start by contacting the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which offers support for men, women, and children.

This post was updated 6/14/2017.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

Keep Reading Show less