Most domestic violence incidents befall women but there are instances where men have been victims, too. As unbelievable as it sounds, domestic violence against men is a reality. It isn’t easy to identify, though.
It can take many forms including physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, in addition to verbal threats of violence. In fact, male domestic violence can be just as rough as violence against women, if not worse.
Statistics indicate that one in 7 men is subjected to domestic violence in their lifetime. In fact, the National Violence Against Women Survey also finds that over than 830,000 men are victims to domestic abuse, meaning a man is battered in the U.S. in every 37.8 seconds.
Violence against Men
The U.S. Department of Justice defines domestic violence as:
“Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.”
Domestic abuse therefore is not just limited to physical violence but also refers to other kind of abuse including emotional/psychological abuse, threatening behaviour, sexual abuse, financial abuse, false allegations and isolation.
The definition also applies to men.
More often than not, men are abused in the home by their intimate partners, i.e. both female and male partners, if it is a same-sex relationship. Domestic abuse is basically a control issue where the abusers try to manipulate, humiliate and control the victim, believing that they have the right to do so. And just like many women, men too suffer for someone else’s manipulative or abusive behavior.
According to national statistics, over 10 million women and men are physically abused in the country by their intimate partner. While 1 in 7 men have suffered severe physical violence in their lifetime by their intimate partner, 1 in 18 men in the U.S. have been stalked by their intimate partner to the point where they felt their life and those close to them are is in danger.
Reports also indicate that 1 in 71 U.S. men has been raped at least once in their lifetime and almost 44.9 percent of these victims were raped by someone they know. Out of these, almost 29 percent were raped by their intimate partner.
When it comes to stalking, CDC reports that 5.1 million men have been victimized in the U.S.; and 43.5 percent of them reported that they have been stalked by a former or current intimate partner.
Another 2010 CDC report also suggests that nearly 48.8 percent of U.S. men have gone through psychological aggression at the hand of an intimate partner, either male or female, in their lifetime.
Types of Male Domestic Abuse
Women who abuse their male partners are nothing different to their male counterparts abusing their women partners. Those who have been victims of male domestic violence were reported to be hit, pushed, kicked, punched and/or bitten by their respective partners.
There were many instances where male domestic abuse victims were threatened, assaulted and injured by women abusers by means of weapons like guns, knives, sticks and other objects.
This abusive behavior has nothing to do with the abused male partner being physically weaker or smaller that their abusive partner. In most cases, these abused men don’t use their strength or greater size for hurting their partner even when they are being subjected to physical or psychological violence.
Apart from being abused physically, men too are subjected to other kind of abuses just as with violence against women. Male domestic violence also includes the following types of abuses along with some even more severe kind of cruelty where things often end in homicide:
Criticizing, shouting or name calling
Threaten to hurt you/children/any other family member
Take away money and/or property
Withholding approval, affection or appreciation in order to punish or torture you
Hurt or abuse your pets
Throwing things when upset
Manipulating you with contradictions and lies
Destroying furniture and/or appliances and other things in the house
Using weapons to threaten you
Punishing and depriving kids if angry with you
Threatening regularly to make you leave or to leave
Harass or threaten you about imaginary affairs
The Real Problem with Male Victims
When we think of domestic violence, we usually picture a woman being battered by her male partner, former or existing. But when we take a look at the stats mentioned above, it comes as a surprise that so many men are becoming victims to domestic abuse as well. This happens because most men don’t report physical abuse.
A senior attorney of a reputed Indianapolis family law firm said that most men suffer domestic abuse from an intimate partner in silence simply because they think that no one will take them seriously or believe them.
And those who try to get help are often mocked and ridiculed by society. The reason behind this is that men are socially programmed not to portray themselves as victims or express their feelings. In order to “be a man,” they often feel discouraged to discuss about their abusive relationship and try to deal with things on their own.
The stereotypes of ‘women being victims and men being abusers’ is perhaps the key reason why many men feel discouraged to speak out about their horrific experiences. Besides, men often shy away from seeking help as male domestic violence is treated by many as a joke. Some also believe that male victims don’t have support available to them.
While it is true that most shelters and support groups are designed for female victims, shelters and services also exist for male victims. In general, majority of federal funding organizations cater to the needs of all victims of domestic abuse.
If you or someone close to you is a victim of male domestic violence, it is recommended to speak to an attorney immediately before it’s too late.
Author Bio: Rachel Oliver is a thought leader in laws dealing with personal injury and related niches. Updated with the latest happenings in the legal world, she shares her experiences and anecdotes through her write-ups on various websites. Interact with her through her Google+ profile.