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/

Comments

  1. I know and believe that men and women both can be the abusers. I also realize our laws and courts are out of touch with todays domestic problems . But the reason for my comment is a piece by a man with the name of John. He portrayed a mental illness (borderline personality disorder) in a very negative and incorrect way. There will be persons reading these comments (also, friends, family, boy/girl friends, couples (married or not) that have this diagnosis and some may believe his rants and this could cause fear, mistrust, stress of perceived chance of violence from the persons with this disorder, or even falsely placed blame on the person with this very complicated illness if DV would occur. Also think of the embarrassment, confusion of the misrepresented symptoms, even guilt and shame that could affect the person that has this illness. Fear too that they might be miss judged by others. John, don’t let your anger and maybe the shame you felt write incorrect info that might cause harm to another. I feel sad what happened to you and hope you are healing . P.

  2. My little brother was murdered in March 2012 by his girlfriend. He was only 29 years old, she killed him and tried to dispose of his body on a farm in a rural area located in Elbert County, Colorado. The police department wouldn’t put a missing persons report out when we knew something was wrong… we knew who he was with last and nobody would listen to us. We knew what she had done this because he told us she was going to kill him and we all told him “leave her” he said “you don’t understand she is crazy” he told his friends “If I end up missing she did it”…Well she killed him and is now walking free while my brothers four children are without a father. We live in Denver, Colorado and we are putting together a rallying on Oct. 15, 2014 to bring awareness of the double standards of domestic violence. To try and get some understanding from our state as to why his killer has not been brought to justice. Im happy that we have come so far with womens rights its amazing. Im tired of telling my mom the detectives will handle it… NOW IS THE TIME to stand up for our brothers, sons, dads, cousins… Lets stand up for OUR MEN!! I dont know what we are doing but I can no longer stand by and do nothing!!!!

    If anyone in the area would like to support the cause please feel free to email me at [email protected] we need all of the support and help that we can get. We are starting from scratch so any advice or support will be greatly appreciated

  3. A few of the comments here still pass on the stigma about abuse against Men. Being a victim of DV myself, I believe the stats released by this article. I have been married now almost 17 years and I have been abused on average 5 times/yr. Believe me, nothing to brag about but not looking for pity. It’s difficult to leave when children (two of them in my case) are involved. It started off as verbal abuse in private, then verbal abuse in public, then became physical. She’s one of those type of women who maintains a peaceful, friendly personality in public for the most part, but her TRUE personality comes out behind closed doors. I threaten to call the police the last few times but I’m not out to embarrass her or traumatize my daughter so it’s just a threat to get her to stop. The most recent incident was last week.
    I am a strong guy, able to take care of myself. For me the damage is most mental and emotional. It really hurts to know that someone I committed my life to and sacrificed for, thinks so little of me that she feels it’s okay to verbally or physically attack me. I am just biding my time until I can just leave and get a divorce.

  4. John Rooney says:

    I wish that it would become common knowledge what men are suffering. So many people seem to believe that men are never victims of women.

  5. I grew up in a home where DV was a way of life. I somehow survived 14 years of being raped, beaten, verbally and emotionally abused. I was an army dependent, both my mother and stepfather were in the army. In a 3 year period between 11 and 14 I had managed to get 30 counts of run away always to be returned already broken and bleeding , to my parent’s home so that I could endure more for embarrassing them. It wasn’t uncommon for my face to be bruised or cut by my mothers hand. It wasn’t that uncommon for me to have broken bones from either her or my stepfather. The system off base declared it wasn’t their problem it was a military matter. The system on base, felt that I was simply a bad kid who liked to hurt himself. I left home for the last time at 14. Out of a reaction I blacked my mother’s eye during a beating she was giving me. People might like to think we aren’t animals, but instinct will always trump reason in a bad situation. I managed to stay gone and never return. Because even then I had already learned that no one cared at all the damages she had done to me, all they would see is the black eye I gave her.

    Later in my life I married a woman that I was in love with. I was young and stupid and never took her anger into account always forgiving it or doing my best not to be the target of it. Until one night when she opted to stab me with my own knife for simply asking her why she was home so late. I know a lot of people feel that might be a little overboard and maybe even a little made up. But lets face it, people are often unreasonable. As before though, I knew the system would never help me, so I then too left. This time I was able to do so without touching the woman that has harmed me. No one has the right to be abused, and no one has the right to abuse another person.

    My lesson in all of this? The system is broken and only encourages women to be violent towards men as there is no repercussions for her actions. Now I don’t believe all women are like this, But a great many are and it’s making it harder for us men to trust women or trust that it even matters if we try and report being hurt. I have to wonder. How many men that kill their partners in DV do so because they realize that their life is already over and they feel that at least they can remove another abuser from the world. Truth is, I considered that very thing growing up. Was stopping my mother’s abuse of my sisters and I worth losing my life over? I think if I had been stronger and less afraid, I just might have.

  6. Compelling stories here. Allow me to tell mine…

    I was arrested for Domestic Violence Assault in 2011. My life hasn’t been the same since that horrible day. The next day I was late for work because I couldn’t get to my truck that was parked in my dooryard where my now ex=girlfriend was living, with me. Hence, I was “evicted” from my home until she moved out 6 weeks later. My boss fired me on the spot. I had called in to tell the office what had happened. I was kept in a jail cell for 7 hours before a close friend had come and bailed me out at midnight.

    I’ve lost everything I owned except the clothes on my back. As already stated… My job, my house, my dog, a John Deere tractor, an art collection, ski’s, canoe, fishing equipment, etc., etc. Most of all I’ve lost my independence. 3 years later and I still have no job. My previous 2 jobs consumed 25 years of my life. I’m loyal to the company I work for.

    Here’s what happened. You be the judge… My girlfriend had been living with me for a year and a half. I had a good paying job and she had a job that wasn’t as lucrative, for lack of better term. I came up with a budget in which I would pay 2/3rds of all of our combined bills. She would pay 1/3rd. Fair enough. I learned that in couples counselling years ago. Fact is she could never “afford” to pay her share. After several months I had enough of that problem and told her to go. She would cry and promise to pay and that whole girlly girlly show, I gave into it. My mistake. Things didn’t change and she puts her vehicle off the road and it has damage which makes the rig unsafe to drive. Now she needs a dependable vehicle. My credit is stellar and hers is not. I rework the budget and find a way to get her a used vehicle, the loan has to go in my name. My mistake again. In 10 months she made only 2 payments toward the vehicle and still not contributing to the “household” budget. Long story short, she gives me a check for a months payment towards the vehicle and I take it to the bank and the teller tells me “I can’t deposit this check for you” and she hands it back to me. Insufficient funds. I was upset but not over the top. I’d seen this before.

    The incident… I got home and she’s in the wash room doing laundry and I was calm. I walked into the room and held the check up and said ” good try. It bounced.” As I turned to walk out she said..”you should have cashed it sooner when the money was there” and slammed the door shut right to my back. I got to the bank 3 days after she had given me the check. When I heard and felt the door slam I lost my temper. The door was locked and I “broke” through it. I threw an empty jug of laundry detergent at the wall. That wasn’t enough for me so I grabbed another laundry detergent jug that was about half full and threw it at the wall. There, I was over it. She said, “I’m calling the police.” I said, “don’t do that.” I sat down on the couch and she walked by me and picked up the phone and dialed 911. That’s when the lies started pouring out. “He hit me with an ironing board.” “He has guns.” “He’s staring at me.” “I’m scared.” I hollered out “those are lies.” I simply got up and walked outside and then I could hear the Sherriff coming down the country road I lived on. He interviewed me and I told him exactly what had happened. He went inside and interviewed her and came out and said “The stories didn’t match up… You’re under arrest.” She had not a mark on her. The Sherriff admitted this to me. On the ride to jail I asked him why he arrested me and he said because she got sprinkled with laundry detergent. Her shirt had roughly 7 spots of laundry detergent the size of a dime on it. That equaled in law terms… “Offensive Contact.”

    I had never been in trouble with the law before. I was handed a penalty of a One Year Deferred Disposition.” That is, if I stayed out of trouble with the law for one year the charge would be dropped. However, I had to plead guilty to the charge. I was told it wouldn’t show up on my record. Not so sure about that.?? I was told I didn’t have to check off the “conviction box” on an application. No so sure about that.?? Remember, I haven’t been hired in 3 years of searching for work.

    This is the first time I’ve told my story to the general public. I entered myself into counselling the day after the incident. A term came out that was startling to me. It hit the nail right on the head…. “Financial Abuse.” I was a victim of financial abuse. I’m not happy with my actions that day. What I have been through has caused me to be a more patient man. Anger Management helped. Counselling helped. Drawing closer to God and having a Bible study has helped. I feel reformed because there have been many situations that I could have been angry about but, I have maintained an even keel. I am better a person, no doubt.

    I have a point to make. If society is serious about getting a handle on domestic violence, it’s going to have to take a good hard look at the core of what has caused the violence. I certainly have taken responsibility for my actions that day and I’ve payed the price and then some. But, the one who was “stealing” from me is the victim.?? Huh.?? It takes 2 to tango. It takes 2 to debate. It takes to share. It takes 2 to love. It takes 2 to commit domestic violence. Society has to study the perpetrator AND the victim. The victim and their mental state is as important to study as the perpetrator. We’ll never get to the bottom of this thing the way the law is slanted now. Man cannot fix man’s problems.

    All this said, of the perpetrators here, are you working.?? Has it been difficult for you to find work.?? Are there advocates out there for the perpetrators to help them weave into society again.?? If so, I need the links. I’m on skid row for throwing a jug at the wall. Mind you, I understand my wrongs that day. It’s just the penalty seems way out of proportion.

    As my sister-in-law said… She wasn’t scared. “She was pissed.” I cut the funds off and the only way for her to get “even” was to call the cops.

    Am I in denial.??

  7. Tim Poore says:

    My wife beat me for 4 years she has a pain pill addiction along with her Mother and when she couldn’t get them she was a demon she knocked me out twice in front of my son and step daughter threatened suicide told me she hopes I flip my truck on the way to work.on Christmas night of 2013 at
    9 pm or so she went to her mothers house they called the cops and told them I had kicked her in the butt I was sitting in a recliner playing with my sons Nabi he was right beside me when she came in the door told me she was totally flipping my world upside down walked into the kitchen took the ham out of the oven threw it in the sink and walked over to me started to tell me how she didn’t need me anymore she had a 17’000 savings bond bout that time my mom calls I pick up the phone and she just starts punching hitting me and scratching me I’m sitting down my 3 year old son is upset beside me so I put my foot on her chest push her off me get up walk into our bedroom push the door closed put the bed against the door turn on planes for my son I sat on the bed and about that time I hear her running down the hall she hits the door pushes the bed halfway across the room my son then is really scared so I get up grab my coat and give my son kisses hugs tell him goodbye and I proceed to leave as I’m walking out her mom walks in starts saying your going to jail I never said a word to her mom I leave about an hour later I get a call to come to the police station they just wanted to talk to me

  8. Tim Poore says:

    I went to the police station they took my statement and told me I was going to jail over a quarter size bruise on her butt cheeck my face was scratched beat and they ignored everything I told them I was the victim thatnnite this was Dec 25 Jan 1st she was moved in with another man I haven’t and cannot speak to her ever since I haven’t seen my son in nine months and I have lost over 50 lbs since I’m still fighting to see my son everyday the justice system is protecting my son from the wrong person she’s the demon .

  9. Giannerys says:

    I’m a female college student who think that domestic abuse is domestic abuse regardless we is doing that abuse and in the manner we should all be entitle to that same help and benefit. I understand the there is some very cruel and damage man out there but on the other hand there is less female abuser but those not make it ok. also I also believe that part of this behavior my come from a deep issues and that what we need to work on. For example little girls that see their mom getting abuse by their father many of them grow up to be abuser because they think before he those it to me I will do it to him. That those not make it right but I do understand it. I’m a public health major student I will be doing my research paper on domestic violence and how I feel it just not fare. And again I have to say I do understand the female are that majorly of that victim of domestic violence but what can we do to help over all. I’m open to any ideas or information about this subject
    Female are mother and teacher let teach our children that abuse goes both way and is not right in any situation. I will also love to participate in activist /advocate groups feel free to email me

  10. It’s hard for me to hear men talk about the false reporting, because that’s what I’m being accused of. I play the past over and over in my head and there’s no way he wasn’t psychologically abusive, controlling and manipulative. The GAL believed him and not a word I said. He didn’t look after the welfare of the children and now they’re living in a household with his chosen partner who assaulted my 2 yo last week. I called the police, CPS, requested a welfare check, filed a anti-harassment order against her and so far, I have no idea the state of my children because he had a lawyer that ensured the doubt of the court about my innocence. I’m sorry some of you men have gone through this, it sucks. I know I would have my kids if I had a lawyer. My ex is a narcissist and has no ability to connect intimately with anyone, nor does he understand how his actions affect other people. He could run around in a tirade and I was expected to be even keel, with no response, just happy and affectionate. If I got upset, I was called crazy, bitch, worthless and a child. If I got upset about the name calling, I was told I was blowing it out of proportion and making a mountain out of a molehill. He’d kick me under the table when he didn’t like something I said at dinner with friends. He’d text me “shut the fuck up” from across the room when he didn’t like the subject of conversation that his mother in law was insisting upon. Yet, he has my kids. I wish he would have hit me instead of threatening to many times. Then, someone would believe me.

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