August 22, 2022, prompt: Write a story exploring shame as an emotion or theme in 99 words (no more, no less). Consider how to use shame to drive a cause-and-effect story. How does it impact a character? Is there a change? Go where the prompt leads! Click here for details.
The Blame Game – by Hugh W. Roberts
“What are these cuts and bruises?
I got them when I fell over.
How did I get my black eye?
I walked into a door.
Am I sure this is how I got these injuries?
But I’m sorry for the tears. If I told you the truth, I’d bring shame on myself.
The truth is that I’m a victim of domestic abuse.
Why does that bring shame to me?
Because I’m male, and men don’t admit to being victims of domestic abuse when being beaten by their wives, do they? Can you imagine the shame if people knew?”
Written for the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch.
UK Domestic Abuse Helpline For Men – Freephone: 0808 8010327
UK Domestic Abuse Website – Women’s Aid
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50 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Friday – The Blame Game”
Good one Hugh. A male character in my novel suffers from domestic abuse. 50’s/60s era, so definitely not something that was spoken about.
Thank you. It’s still something that many men won’t talk about, Gloria. It seems very little progress has been made.
I’m pretty sure that many people never heard of women abusing men until the Depp/Heard trial, which likely enlightened quite a few people, even though it was difficult to sort out who was abusing who at times.
It’s still a very hash-hash subject with men, Linda. Many men who are victims of domestic abuse think that talking about it or asking for help will somehow make them less of a man. Whereas many would be only too willing to help a male colleague who was a victim.
That’s interesting Hugh. Our society makes too much of setting standards for both males and females. You cannot peg people into tidy little categories. It is too bad that more men who suffer domestic abuse do not reach out for professional help and only feel safe telling their peers (and at that some peers as it makes them less of a man).
The phrase ‘you need to man up’, is one of the most unhelpful and sad phrases I know, Linda.
Agreed Hugh. Over here, you hear it all the time with “hazing” incidents for initiation into fraternities as well. Those who do not pass muster (muster being manliness for being able to do silly feats to get into the fraternity). It extends all the way to the military – a Navy Seal in training was killed as the criteria set the bar higher than he was able to perform – some feat of supposed manliness cost that young man his life. I feel sorry for young men who fathers push them to go into sport – they do it or risk the father’s exhibiting disgust with his offspring. People are so transparent sometimes and all to quick to label what is the definition of being a man.
Men usually don’t admit to spousal abuse and so it is underreported and misunderstood. This is another kind of twist, Hugh. Well done.
Thank you, D. And you’re right about most men not admitting to being victims of domestic abuse. Somehow they feel ashamed about it and believe it makes them less of a man. However, many would be willing to help a male colleague who was a victim of domestic abuse.
Hi Hugh – this was a great take on the prompt. Wonderful.
It’s wonderful that you are highlighting a shame that probably happens all too often, Hugh. My condolences for the loss of your friend. No one should have to suffer domestic abuse of any kind, man or woman. ~nan
Thank you, Nan. I only wish more men (and women) would speak up about domestic abuse than feel ashamed it’s happening to them. There is help available, but getting some victims to seek help is a big problem.
If there is any shame to be had, it should affect the abuser, not the abused, Hugh.
I completely agree. But in his letter, my friend said he was too ashamed to admit he was being physically abused by his wife.
You are so right. I know our son was abused by his wife – not physically, he’s much bigger than she is, but emotionally and verbally. I doubt that he would admit it, but we could see it. Fortunately, they are not together any longer. Your post is so poignant. Beautifully done.
Thank you, Marsha. And I’m sorry to hear your son was mentally abused by his wife. Good to hear that they are no longer together. He’s certainly better off without her in his life.
Amen to that. We are just glad there were no children involved.
A sad truth. Nobody is exempt. Abusers come in every gender. 🙂
Exactly, Debby. It’s something that should never happen to anyone.
Powerful story, Hugh. A good reminder that sometimes it’s the other way around. Men and women need to feel supported when they speak up.
The main problem is getting men to speak up or discuss these problems. Many see it as an ‘unmanly’ thing to do. They feel ashamed to admit to problems. This is why I chose the subject of domestic abuse, where it is the male who is the victim. I wanted to highlight that they should never feel ashamed asking for help.
Job well done, Hugh. Abuse is abuse and shouldn’t be tolerated by anyone toward anyone.
Yes, sadly, it can happen that way too.
Having known a male victim, you’re absolutely right, Norah.
I hope he’s doing okay now, Hugh.
Hi Norah, unfortunately, he took his own life. He couldn’t face the shame of people knowing that his wife was physically and mentally abusing him. I only wish he had talked to someone about it. It could have been so much different.
That’s so sad, Hugh. We need to be more open in our acceptance and discussions about mental health.
Sad but true. Great post Hugh and good to highlight this issue.
Thanks, Wayne. I hope it helps, especially given that many men don’t like talking about illness or their problems.
Very true. Thankfully I have never witnessed any abuse but I know it’s more common than we think.
It is, yes. And I do know one male friend who took his own life because he was so ashamed he was the victim of domestic abuse. I only wish he talked about it, but many men find opening up about problems difficult.
That’s so sad to hear. Making it less of a stigma is definitely helping and open conversations.
How good of you to put those links. People should always feel safe in their homes – no matter what their sex.
I agree. Sadly, some of those who are victims of domestic abuse feel ashamed to ask for help. I hope the links I included help at least one of those people.
Both men and women should be encouraged to speak up against domestic violence and abuse
I agree. It’s why I put links to websites offering help to both men and women who are suffering domestic abuse.
That’s a great idea
A sad but important topic, Hugh wrapped neatly in this fiction piece. I can see how you got the inspiration from the prompt image. I pray this was never your reality, my friend.
Not an authentic experience for me, Terri, but I do know of one man who took his own life because he felt ashamed to ask for help or to talk about the domestic abuse he suffered for many years. That’s where my piece of flash came from.
Good to hear, Hugh, but tragic for the other man.
Yes, but I hope some on the same route will seek help. There is a lot out there.
Wow Hugh I like how you wrote this. Male abuse happens very often unfortunately there are alot of men that feel like you described here. Great post. 🙂
Thank you so much. Yes, I agree with what you say. When it comes to illness or domestic abuse, many men feel that talking about it or asking for help makes them less of a man. It should never be like that.
Yes indeed Hugh it’s such a sad situation, men should not be afraid to stand up and ask for help …. This is the 2020s no one should hide abuse.
Well said and well written Hugh 💜💜💜💜
Thank you, Willow. I agree that no man should ever be afraid to speak about or ask for help regarding illness or domestic abuse. It’s a shame that many men feel they can’t talk or ask for help.
Yes Hugh it’s heartbreaking 💜