Expert GD Moderators Group Discussion

Are men the silent sufferers in the modern world?

There are far too many silent sufferers. Not because they don't yearn to reach out, but because they've tried and found no one who cares.
-Richelle E. Goodrich

We all have that one man in our lives who we appreciate and always look up to in our good and bad times. 

We always look for their support and advice. But how many times we could become their support and advisers? 

They are also humans, who have ups and downs with unavoidable responsibilities. How many times we were there, for their help when they needed it but could not ask for it?

Everyone talks about why only a woman should do all the household chores but no one is asking why only a man should take care of all the finances. Women are given a choice of working or being a housewife. But a househusband seems unacceptable in our society. A housewife is appreciated for maintaining the house and herself but contrary to this, house-husbands for the same work, are subjected to humiliation and disregard in society.

From the very childhood, boys are taught to like a certain type of clothing, colour, hairstyle, games, etc. No one asks them about their likes and dislikes. They are not taught to express their emotions. They are asked to stop crying if that's not for a good reason because it makes them look girly. On the other hand, girls are always taught how they can express themselves in better ways. They are taught different methods of healing themselves. 

When someone is not allowed to show emotion over a long period of time, he/she is more likely to keep those emotions to themselves. As a result, they become harsh and insensitive towards many things in their life. When the little boys become men, they are more likely to embody stress, depression, anxiety, and pain as they fail to express or process them. With the responsibility to protect the family, they find it very difficult to handle these low-energy emotions. And the responsibility of their healing falls on the shoulder of the woman in their lives. They do the healing for themselves and for their husbands along with the kids and others house chores.

This is also a curse from our patriarchal society that the suffering men in most of the cases go unrecognized. They keep struggling between their works and families. They make themselves busy to avoid the emotions and when they get some time to feel, they fall for the addiction of alcohol and other drugs or beverages that can help them avoid those emotions. According to the research, successful men are more likely to fall into depression, cardiovascular diseases, and substance abuse. 

Our Indian cinema has also added to the problem by portraying men as masculine, strong, fearless, and silent! This portrayal of men has led to the ignorance of other emotions like vulnerability, insecurity, fear, loneliness, and many other such emotions in which everyone irrespective of gender needs someone to help. As per the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, men are more likely to die by suicide than women. This can be due to the pressure of "BEING A MAN" who has to be in control and hold it all(the responsibilities and the problems) along with being a source of constant support and motivation.


This was the social aspect of the silent sufferings of men but the legal aspects of it are no different. There are many laws that talk about the rights of all citizens but there is no specific law that talks about men. The gender-based laws focus mainly on women and children. Even the International Human Rights framework does not address the "Violence against Men". 

Indian Constitution provides "Right to Equality" in Article 14-18 and  "Right to Constitutional Remedies" in Article 32 and 226 which is called the "Heart and Soul of the Constitution". There are few other gender-neutral laws under the Indian Penal Code such as IPC 323, IPC 406, and IPC 307. A Men's Rights Movement took place in 1988 after which there was a relaxation in the power of police to randomly arrest a man for committing a dowry offense under Dower Law(1983) and IPC 498A. Apart from the relaxation, there is no other law that can protect men in any case. 

Men belonging to certain groups like refugees, internally displaced, disabled, migrant workers, or gay men are vulnerable to many kinds of abusive relationships. But unlike women, they are never encouraged to leave a toxic relationship. They are labelled as cruel if they try to do so. Apart from that, even if they are dragged in the false complaints by their partners out of revenge or for any other motive, they don't meet justice. Women can drag her In-laws along with her Sister-in-Law and her family even when they don't live with her, saying that they influence her husband. But the same cannot be done by a man. The men are more likely to be punished in all the cases even if they are the victims. 

Even when men try to reach out, they are not welcomed by our policemen or the lawyers. This can be due to the laziness or the Indian mindset that does not allow the police or other officials to go against a woman for longer.

There are many NGOs, that work for women, children, the environment, rivers, etc but there are only very few NGOs that work for men and their number can be counted on the fingertips. After searching a lot of sources, I could find only one NGO in India that is specially established for men, i.e. Vaastav
So, according to me, men are silent sufferers who need help at least once in their lifetime. Government can develop counseling, healing, and support programs for men. 

As a society, we must challenge the concept of 'WEAK' to normalize the suffering of men. Along with this, we have to train ourselves and others to recognize the men in pain. 

Instead of going into isolation, men can reach out to other men for support. This will increase their connection and will decrease the loneliness and inner critics. They should also examine their coping mechanism by filling it with compassion rather than guilt and pain. And they must realize that it's okay to be NOT OKAY, so they can always reach out to their loved ones anytime they need, instead of dying inside.

Author: Deeksha (linkedin.com/in/deeksha-verma-93ab51219)

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