By Europa Newswire
Domestic violence and sexual assault is a great problem in our society. With the numbers of
victims increasing by the day much is done to help those women who are abused by their spouses,
partners or boyfriends. But what about the men who are being victimized? Why aren’t they being
“Our society doesn’t want to accept men as victims of domestic violence and sexual assault,” said
journalist and documentary filmmaker La Shawn Pagán during a recent lunch. “Much less does it
want to face the fact that they are being victimized by both genders – both men and women,” she
We sat at the United Nations Cafeteria discussing the differences between male and female
victimization – when she stated a harsh reality of the simple different between the two. “The
difference between men and women as recognizable victims is simple: it’s their genital package,”
she said as fellow correspondents looked on amazed.
“Since we’re children, no matter where we come from, we’re taught to believe men are to be
stoic, protectors, they’re the ones who take care of us [women], but the truth is, we all need to
be taking care of each other,” She explained while adding that science has proven through the
years that males are more emotional than females as children. “Society forces boys to be tough
from the tender age of five, by pressuring the mother’s to separate from their sons.” Meaning
that as children, the double standards of supporting an emotional child are more prevalent than
in any other situation. If a girl child is having trouble staying at school for the first time, it is okay
for the parent to stay a few days until she is ready. However, for the boys, it’s more of a forcible
separation from a parent.
Pagán is no stranger to taking on controversial assignments. With a history of writing about
gender-based violence in Guatemala, a country where the most dangerous to be a woman,
followed by a series of femicide articles – we wanted to know what made her focus on men.
“It’s not a matter of male and female to me, it’s about the victim – it’s about eradicating these
crimes altogether,” she said confidently. “I know it could sound naïve and most probably
ambitious, but I believe that if we stop looking at domestic violence and rape as solely a female
problem we can find the root of the problem and really start to fix it.”
Recent statistics reveal that 1 in 3 women are more likely to be victims of abuse by a partner in
their lifetime, further revealing that male victims (which are now 1 in 4 men) are quickly catching
up. But not many seem to be paying attention.
“I was doing research in 2010 or 2011 for my femicide series, and I found this single article of a
man in Africa who had been gang-raped by an invading militia,” she said. “It stayed with me you
know, why weren’t there more articles talking about this? I’ve always wondered.”
This, Pagán explains, was the seed that was planted to start research on an innovative project
that is meant to focus on men as victims of domestic violence and rape. “I didn’t want any of my
articles on this subject to get lost in the internet, so I decided to make a documentary about it,”
she said proudly.
Her documentary Forced into Silence has already begun production with Pagán financing most of it
out of pocket. “It’s not easy, but that hasn’t stopped me before,” she noted while explaining that
her first launch at a crowdfunding project was painfully unsuccessful. “I got people to pledge $166,
but I’m not going to see a cent of that because of the all-or-nothing policy of that particular site,”
she said without wanting to mention the name.
“But, I started another page and have gotten a lot of people looking at it, but only one donation so
far,” she noted. “It’s been up for two months now,” she added a bit disappointed about the single
donation to her GoFundMe page.
But, was she really surprised at the feed back? “I’ve always known this was going to be a
challenge. Still I took it on,” she said. “I believe that while we’re doing a superb job helping
women, and raising our little girls to be these amazing strong individuals that can lead the world
– we’re committing a huge neglect towards our men and boys – and that creates an imbalance in
the world,” Pagán said.
“I’ve seen so many men be abused by their partners who are both male and female, and I’ve
seen their friends laugh at them, and it’s no laughing matter – you know, abuse is abuse, violence
is violence and we need to stop it,” she said. “Gender doesn’t make anyone impervious to
Editor’s note: you can read more about La Shawn Pagán’s film project at: http://
forcedintosilence.wordpress.com/. If you’re interested in contacting her for more information
about her project and how you can help, you can email her at: email@example.com or