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Baby Reindeer: Recognising male victims exist

Netflix hit series ‘Baby Reindeer’ has taken the world by storm, continuing to make headlines since its release in April.

The Netflix drama has highlighted many issues surrounding stereotypes and lack of support for male domestic abuse and stalking.

Many have commended the series for opening peoples minds to the deeper issue of male victimhood. Gadd’s Baby Reindeer has awoken discussion of struggles with being stalked or abused as a male.

Social media reacts


Another X user put:

One user claimed many male victims of abuse and stalking ‘are not believed’:

The fictionalised series has quickly become Netflix’s most watched series in the US.

It recounts the story of Gadd being stalked in person and online by an older woman. It also delves into earlier sexual assaults and Gadd’s on-off relationship with a trans woman.

The Scottish comedian, Gadd, has caused national speculation and stir surrounding his own personal story where he starred as himself.  Many viewers attempting to unveil the true identity of his stalker – Martha.

Gadd who plays himself as character ‘Donny’, repeatedly returns to the people who’ve violated him, highlighting the cycle of coercive control and self denial, which is common with victims of abuse.

Male Domestic abuse in Kent

Ms Banks, head of Kent Police’s protecting vulnerable people command, told BBC Radio Kent that men are “less likely to report being stalked over fears of not being taken seriously.” She also shared that there were 346 reports of stalking in the county in the past month, of which 75 were made by men.

Matthew Scott, Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner has urged male victims to seek help for stalking and abuse incidents.

















Data from the Office of Kent Police and Crime Commissioner also reported  that 30% of the domestic abuse victims reporting incidents to Kent Police each year were men. Baby Reindeer has been praised for its depiction of Gadd’s abuse, allowing society to understand that men can also be victims of abuse and stalking, by female perpetrators.

Why male victims can go unnoticed

MenKind is a charity that support male victims’s of domestic abuse. Chairman Mark Brooks said: “there are specific barriers that male victims face, especially with respect to issues such as the whole issues around shame and embarrassment, but also the lack of society, not recognising that male victims exist.”

Mr Brooks said there are particular reasons for this: “Male victims feel elements of the shame or embarrassment that they’re a victim of domestic abuse, especially at the hands of a woman. They might feel they’re a bloke and are meant to be strong, provide, be a protector, and also nine times out of ten the man will be physically bigger than the woman too.

“That will play out in the minds of men, but also there is the societal belief system that men can’t be victims of domestic abuse means that they’re not always believed when they do speak to friends and family. It’s less common for people to wonder is my brother or son or mate is in a toxic relationship, whereas if you reversed it, they’re more likely to think that a sister is.”

Mr Brooks: says many male victims can slip through the cracks: “Sometimes it’s the police, other times it can be other organisations, where there is a clear case of domestic abuse, but they don’t recognise that men can be victims of domestic abuse.”

Mr Brooks offered to discuss the gender bias further in male victims of abuse:

“Baby reindeer has helped break the bias that it isn’t always a male perpetrator and female victim in abuse cases. Lots of people are now using social media and others too stalk,  and actually set up fake social media profiles for example.  If a male did that to a female –  it would be called abuse quite a lot of the time.”

How Baby Reindeer has shifted perspectives

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Creator, Richard Gadd spoke about his painfully honest Netflix series and his experience with abuse. He told British GQ: “What abuse does is it creates psychological damage as well as physical damage… Abuse leaves an imprint. Especially abuse like this where it’s repeated with promises. There’s a pattern where a lot of people who have been abused feel like they need their abusers… it was showing an element of abuse that hadn’t been seen on television before, which is, unfortunately, the deeply entrenched, negative, psychological effects of attachment you can sometimes have with your abuser.”

Baby Reindeer Trailer:

Featured image credit: Baby Reindeer promo photos –