Men: The Overlooked Victims of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is considered one of the most pressing issues in American society. Everyone quotes the statistics given by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: 1 in 4 women will be victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives, 1.3 million women are assaulted by their partner every year, 85% of domestic violence reported is against women. However, in a conflicting survey taken by the CDC in 2010, it was found that 40% of the victims of severe, physical domestic violence are men.

Despite many findings that show almost equal amounts of abuse perpetrated againstDomestic Violence Statistics - Men Keeping Quiet men and women, the media and government focus the most attention on the female victims of domestic violence. Men are largely silent on the issue because of the perception that men are physically stronger and should be able to subdue a female attacker easily. Those men who do report physical violence are more likely to be ridiculed–both by law enforcement and by the public–than women are. More money is spent on women’s programs, and more crusades are launched on behalf of women who are victims of domestic violence despite the fact that men are almost equally or in some cases more likely to be victims of both physical and psychological abuse.

Although there has been an increase in the number of fatal domestic violence incidents against women, men are more likely to be victims of attacks with a deadly weapon. According to one study, 63% of males as opposed to 15% of females had a deadly weapon used against them in a fight with an intimate partner.

What is worse than the statistics, however, is the fact that there has been little research in the area of domestic abuse against men because neither the Justice Department nor any other agencies will fund such research. Because they refuse to do the research, people are able to perpetuate such myths as women are only violent when defending themselves, or that men could more easily leave a violent relationship.

Because of lack of funding, there are also few shelters that cater to men. Most shelters available will only take women and children, and some even have an age limit on the boys that they will take in (13 years old).

There is some help for male victims of domestic violence. MenWeb (www.batteredmen.com) offers resources for men, as well as a place for them to tell their story. There is also a Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women (1-888-7HELPLINE) operated by a nonprofit in Harmony Maine. Clark University and Bridgewater State University are currently conducting a study on male victims of domestic abuse.

Men who suffer domestic violence can only receive help if they break the silence. Not reporting domestic violence because of the stigma attached is the main reason that men currently receive few services, and one of the reasons that studies on the issue are so few.

Sources:

Figure taken from MenWeb: CDC/DOJ Survey Men more often victims of intimate partner violence. http://www.batteredmen.com/NISVS.htm

Philip Cook,”The Truth About Domestic Violence”. From the book Everything You Know is Wrong (Russ Kick, 2002). Published by The Disinformation Company.

Domestic Abuse Hotline for Men and Women. http://dahmw.org/

Domestic Violence and Crystal Meth Users

Domestic violence and substance abuse reached new depths with the availability of crystal methamphetamine as the new leisure drug of the masses. Going by various street names such as speed, crank, glass, and ice, this demon drug knows no race, creed, or status and is all pervasive in its abuse. Unlike marijuana or cocaine that needs to be harvested and then processed to reach the markets, meth can be synthesized in make-shift labs in the basement or the garage with ingredients available in the neighborhood supermarkets.

In addition to this it is also smuggled across the borders by the powerful drug cartels for whom, this is million dollar business. What this means is that it is easily available to any man, woman and child who wants it, and therefore its implications in the domestic sphere are alarming.

Domestic Violence Statistics - Prescription DrugsThe three patterns involved in meth abuse are the low intensity and the high intensity with the binge level in between. The first is when the drug is snorted or swallowed for that extra perk that sees you through a busy day at work and keep up with demanding housework. Most people doing more than one shift, or working overtime, multitasking as a matter of routine all resort to meth as a means to keep up. Binge users smoke or inject the drug to experience the euphoric rush that is supposed to be out of this world and are highly addictive.

This can bring about a high that can last up to 16 hours, during which the abuser feels invincible and is therefore terribly aggressive. The abuser continues the drug intake in an effort to maintain the high, which however, is never as good as the first and eventually becomes non-existent.

By now the addict is totally addled, but with no accompanying highs, but rather the opposite. This is the dangerous tweaking period when the addict is overcome with absolutely hopeless despairs and the mother of all depressions take over. Now alcohol and heroin may be consumed in a bid to get over this black period.

Then comes the crash where the abuser goes into an almost lifeless state for anything up to 3 days. The only way to get out of this black hole of despair is more meth, and that is why 93% of those in rehab return to the drug. This leads to the high intensity user whose only aim is to avoid the crash and retain the elusive high.

A meth addict in the tweaking phase is a muddled mass of frustration, aggression, hallucination, and irrationality. They are highly suspicious and paranoid. If drunk it adds to the recklessness which leads to unprovoked attacks, and other criminal acts.

Domestic violence incidences can reach new levels at the hands of a meth addict. The effects of the drug are not limited to the user but spills over to include each and every member of the family.

Social service agencies have revealed how out-of-home placements of children have become increased due to meth addiction in care-givers. Thousands of children are abused and neglected. The National Conference of State Legislatures found the distressing fact that about 10 percent of meth users were introduced to the drug by their parents or close relatives. The Drug Enforcement Administration reports that in 20 percent of drug busts made last year, children were present. Domestic violence statistics have begun to consider the implications of meth abuse in their compilations.

Meth is also the drug of choice for women who choose this lifestyle. Besides helping to keep up with the multi-tasking required of a working mother, it is also known to help with weight loss. A startling fact reported by a federal survey of all people arrested for crimes reveals that over 11 percent of women had used meth, as opposed to 4.7 percent of men. What starts as a low intensity use and a harmless pastime can quickly slip into the danger zone. Both domestic violence victims as well as abusers can be meth addicts. This puts the lives of innocent children at great risks according to police reports.

While you feel you have control and can stop whenever you choose to, thousands of testimonies from devastated addicts state the opposite. The power of the addiction is such that it takes over without the addict being aware of it. This brings out the paranoia, the uncontrollable anger and rage, and the frustration of knowing that your life is no longer in your hands, but in that little piece of white, odorless, bitter tasting chemical which now has total control over you and through you, your family.

Please feel free to leave a comment to let me know if this article helped you, or what other topics you would like to see on the site. I started this site to help others, so I want to make sure you are getting the most from it. God Bless.

Domestic Violence and Depression

More and more people are reporting incidents of domestic violence to the police. If you are a victim of domestic violence you will be aware of just how frightening it can be. The question that many people ask is what are the causes of this violence, is the person just a lunatic or are there other reasons behind it.

According to the latest reports alcohol has a large part to play in leading to cases of domestic violence. In the example of a husband hitting his wife when he is drunk, this is typically what can happen. For the sake of making this article easier to read, I shall call the husband John and his wife Linda.

Domestic Violence Statistics - Girl Thinking of SuicideJohn is a really nice guy when sober. Linda is very much in love with him and hopes that they will grow old together. John is a great father to their two children, is helpful around the house and is a great cook. The problem occurs after he has had rather too much to drink. John now becomes a whole different person, he starts to accuse his wife of having an affair, becomes abusive and very argumentitive. Linda realising he is drunk attempts to walk away to leave John to his bad mood, this only adds however to his anger and he starts to become violent.

The next morning John can not believe what he has done and is full of regret and remorse. He can not say sorry enough and begs for Linda’s forgiveness. He promises that it will never happen again and states that he will give up the alcohol if that would make his wife happy.

Linda is not sure what to do, she would love to forgive and forget but feels that it is very likely that it only happen again in the future if she does.

In many cases people like Linda will forgive their partner or husband a number of times before eventually losing patience with them.

My advice for John would be to stop drinking alcohol straight away. This seems to be the cause of all of these problems, therefore you need to find something else to have an interest in.

Another cause of domestic violence is known to be depression. Some people who are normally very relaxed can become very angry and abusive when in a deep state of depression. They can take their problems and frustrations out on their partner much like in the example above.

A few days or weeks later when the person in question is feeling a lot happier, they will not believe what they have done.

Whether it is because of depression or alcohol, one solution to this domestic violence problem could be to attend some form of anger management program, that is for people like John.

Domestic Violence Shelters

Shelters are run, funded, and managed either by governments or by volunteer non-government organizations. According to a 1999 report published by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, there are well over 2000 groups involved in sheltering abused women and their off-spring.

Before you opt for moving with your children into a sheltered home or apartment, go through this check list.

1. It is important to make sure that the philosophy of the organizers of the shelters accords with your own. Some shelters, for instance, are run by feminist movements and strongly emphasize self-organization, co-operation, and empowerment through decision-making. Other shelters are supervised by the Church or other religious organizations and demand adherence to a religious agenda. Yet others cater to the needs of specific ethnic minorities or neighbourhoods.

Domestic Violence Statistics - House in Hand2. Can you abide by the house rules? Are you a smoker? Some shelters are for non-smokers. What about boyfriends? Most shelters won’t allow men on the premises. Do you require a special diet due to medical reasons? Is the shelter’s kitchen equipped to deal with your needs?

3. Gather intelligence and be informed before you make your move. Talk to battered women who spent time in the shelter, to your social worker, to the organizers of the shelter. Check the local newspaper archive and visit the shelter at least twice: in daytime and at night.

4. How secure is the shelter? Does it allow visitation or any contact with your abusive spouse? Does the shelter have its own security personnel? How well is the shelter acquainted with domestic violence laws and how closely is it collaborating with courts, evaluators, and law enforcement agencies? Is recidivism among abusers tracked and discouraged? Does the shelter have a good reputation among them? You wouldn’t want to live in a shelter that is shunned by the police and the judicial system.

5. How does the shelter tackle the needs of infants, young children, and adolescents? What are the services and amenities it provides? What things should you bring with you when you make your exit – and what can you count on the shelter to make available? What should you pay for and what is free of charge? How well-staffed is the shelter? Is the shelter well-organized? Are the intake forms anonymous?

6. How accessible is the shelter to public transport, schooling, and to other community services?

7. Does the shelter have a batterer intervention program or workshop and a women’s support group? In other words, does it provide counselling for abusers as well as ongoing succour for their victims? Are the programs run only by volunteers (laymen peers)? Are professionals involved in any of the activities and, if so, in what capacity (consultative, supervisory)?

Additionally, does the shelter provide counselling for children, group and individual treatment modalities, education and play-therapy services, along with case management services?

Is the shelter associated with outpatient services such vocational counselling and job training, outreach to high schools and the community, court advocacy, and mental health services or referrals?

8. Most important: don’t forget that shelters are a temporary solution. These are transit areas and you are fully expected to move on. Not everyone is accepted. You are likely to be interviewed at length and screened for both your personal needs and compatibility with the shelter’s guidelines. Is it really a crisis situation, are your life or health at risk – or are you merely looking to “get away from it all”? Even then, expect to be placed on a waiting list. Shelters are not vacation spots. They are in the serious business of defending the vulnerable.

When you move into a shelter, you must know in advance what your final destination is. Imagine and plan your life after the shelter. Do you intend to relocate? If so, would you need financial assistance? What about the children’s education and friends? can you find a job? Have everything sorted out. Only then, pack your things and leave your abuser.