MALE VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
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.