Local Author Seeks Submissions from Abused Men

Aug 1, 2011

ANN ARBOR, MI–Therapist and author Ken Land is seeking true, first-person accounts of men who have suffered abuse in relationships with women. The Ann Arbor-based therapist began the project in 2006 as an effort to raise awareness and support for male victims of abuse. Land is the Founder and Clinical Director of The Counseling Center of Ann Arbor, a comprehensive outpatient mental health and substance abuse clinic located in downtown Ann Arbor since 1983.

“Men are often victims of physical, verbal, and emotional abuse in relationships,” says Land. “Their stories go untold for a variety of reasons: shame, guilt, feeling ‘unmanly’ and the justifiable belief that now one will believe them. And the criminal justice system is often either unresponsive, dismissive or biased in the favor of the woman.”

The project is a collection of true stories from men all over the world, who will finally have the opportunity to be heard. Mr. Land will annotate these stories, explore psychological underpinnings, find common themes and attempt to explore possible answers to the question, “Why does the man stay attached to the abuser?”

“Abused men are misunderstood,” Mr. Land says. “I have heard countless cases of men badly hurt by their partner or spouse, and yet they are at worst often unjustly prosecuted themselves or at best disbelieved. The social and legal system is unbalanced. So many guys, of all ages, simply are not getting a fair shake in the media, the courts, among their peers, and in society in general. I want to give these guys the opportunity to tell their story and have it heard.”

Editor Barton Bund has been collecting stories with Land using internet resources along with peer to peer networking. “There are some amazing stories coming in,” says Bund. “The responses are overwhelmingly positive. I am amazed by the bravery and brutal honesty of these men. These are stories you don’t often hear about, but they are a surprisingly large number of them, with similar themes. It’s been an eye-opener for me.”

“We hear from guys who have been physically beaten quite badly by women,” says Land, “and then when the police are called, astoundingly, the guys are hauled in and often wrongly prosecuted. That’s one of the themes we want to speak up about. That’s what needs to change.”

Land adds that the project is not focused on mutual abuse, retaliation or trashing women. “There is a constitution in this country, rule of law,” he says. “It is what underlies the prosperity we enjoy in America. The laws of the land should be administered equally without gender bias. Domestic violence is a crime and not gender specific.

“The stories–any length, whatever the writer feels comfortable with—express the situation in the victim’s own words. I want guys to talk about how the relationships started, how things turned sour, and how things concluded. We want victims to be treated fairly and have their say, because there is a lot of healing in telling one’s story. Furthermore, this story must be told.”

Each story is kept anonymous, and all contact is strictly confidential. “These men have suffered unbelievable hardships,” says Land. “We want to protect them, and get their stories told. Many of them have found the writing process very therapeutic. They know that their stories can help other people in similar situations. It’s an amazing collective effort.”

Submissions can be posted as comments to Bund’s new blog, http://menabusedbywomen.blogspot.com.

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