Women as the abusers?

What about male victims of domestic violence? Current statistics tell us that 1 out of every 4, and perhaps as many as 1 in every 3 women will, at some time during her life, be a victim of domestic violence. The statistics for male victims of domestic violence run the gamut of reports, commentaries, news and statistics. I researched and could not find two statistics that matched. One of the biggest drawbacks in getting a clear ratio of male victims of domestic violence is that men are hesitant to disclose they are being abused. Society tells us men should be “real” men, alpha males, heads of the household, that there is shame in admitting you are being abused by a woman. But, more male victims of domestic violence are starting to speak up and speak out about their situations.

Abuse, no matter what crayon we choose to color it, is still abuse, whomever the perpetrator may be. When the page holds a picture of male victims of domestic violence, it puts a bit of a different spin on our topic. A big problem in such circumstances is the limitation of available shelters where men are accepted. They, too, may need not only a safe place to go, but food, a warm bed, as well as proper and adequate counseling. Another conundrum is that of men presenting themselves to the Court. They may be explaining their case while a judge chuckles inside, hopefully not out loud. He/she sees the size difference between the two partners. The judiciary must be aware that small women can become very aggressive, if they are so inclined to be so. And, small women may carry guns, too.

Most of you who read my blog know I was one of those “1 in 4,” and that I passionately advocate for women who are victims or struggling survivors of domestic violence. Now society is opening windows for us to get a peep into the status of male victims of domestic violence. They are asked, “What did you do to make her mad enough to hit you,” “What did you do to drive her to that level of anger?” or “Did you hit her first?” And that most famous of all questions asked every victim of domestic violence: “Why didn’t you just leave (or walk away)? Most men I know have been raised to believe it is totally out of bounds for a man to strike a woman. But, what about women initiating the abuse against male victims of domestic violence? Perhaps it begins with nagging, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, and maybe escalates to physical aggression. Roles are reversed, but abusive actions are very similar. Emotional and verbal abuse can be used by a woman against a man, just as well as men against women.

Domestic violence is what it is—a power and control issue. It goes both ways. No matter the gender of the aggressor, it is wrong, and we must speak out against it. So, this one is my soapbox for the male victims of domestic violence. Swallow your pride. See a counselor, a pastor or call the domestic abuse hotline in your area. You deserve to be free from such mistreatment, too. And remember, avoid having to fight back. Speak out, or get out, before it escalates to a physical or dangerous level. There are agencies and advocates who truly care about male victims of domestic violence. The author of this post just happens to be one.

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  1. Evalina van Wijk says:

    Dear Caroline,
    I did my PhD on your topic-The lived experiences of male intimate partners of female rape victims in Cape Town South Africa.
    If you are interested to read it please contact me

    • Carolyn S. Hennecy says:

      Please feel free to share a link with our readers, if you have one. If not, email the attachment to me and I will get it posted here.

  2. Trying to find help and protection for our family. My partners ex-wife has perpertated abuse against my partner (now ex-husband) and continues to harrass him multiple times a day. The two boys who they share custody of are very effected by her behaviors, as is my daughter who we try to protect as much as possible. It’s been two years dealing with the courts and we have received no support and the attorneys continue to say “just deal with it”. We have even contacted CPS several times and they don’t even return the calls. Even though she has a history of mental illness, has lost custody once, and had multiple restraining orders against her the lack of help is obviously due to the fact that it is male victim.

    • Carolyn Hennecy says:

      The State of your location has a great bearing on what is available. If you google FAMILY JUSTICE ALLIANCE, see if they have a location within driving distance, or call their 800 number. Good luck.

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