West Shore RCMP battle stigma with ‘men cry too’

Cops encourage all sexual assault and domestic violence victims ahead of World Mental Health Day

West Shore RCMP has a message for men across the region: it’s OK to cry, and we’re here to listen.

Const. Matt Baker, who sent a tweet from the force’s account encouraging men not to suffer in silence, said although men are victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, they are much less likely to report these crimes to police.

“The idea is we just wanted to let men know they don’t have to be quiet anymore about any issues. That old mentality that men had where they keep things on the inside, where they grin and bear it and keep going, that’s going away,” Baker said.

READ MORE: Meet the new leader of the West Shore RCMP

Since the tweet on Sept. 27, Baker said it’s hard to tell if rates of reports from men have gone up. The stigma of what’s expected from men reduces how much violence against men is reported. Baker said this creates a “dark shadow” on statistics.

“Bad things can happen to guys,” Baker said. “Statistics show women do suffer more violence at the hands of men and their partners, but men do suffer violence too, especially partners involved in same-sex relationships and transgender individuals suffer more violence.”

READ MORE: West Shore RCMP unveils Wall of Honour

The West Shore RCMP is also turning its advice inward.

“Mental health issues are huge in the policing world, for first responders, paramedics, firefighters, police officers and military personnel,” he said. “It’s always a part of the things we see, the things we do. It takes a toll on the body, it takes a toll on the psyche.”

Baker said he’s seen a change in the force, with more openness in the office to talk about their experiences and the impacts.

“Everyone’s equal in the police’s eyes. We don’t care who you are. If something’s happened to you, it’s important you come in and talk to us. We can help you,” Baker said.

READ MORE: Centre for youth seeking mental health and addictions support opens in Victoria

keili.bartlett@blackpress.ca


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