June 16, 2011

Male Victims of Domestic Violence

Why am I letting this happen?
The term domestic violence covers a wide range of unacceptable behaviour within the family and may take many forms. Violence can take the form of emotional or psychological abuse as well as physical assault. Indirect violence (threats, verbal abuse and denigration) may, in certain cases, be as detrimental as actual violence. It has been estimated that in 100 domestic violence cases, 40% of these were against men, 60% against women.
Men who are abused by women often suffer in silence because they are afraid that no one will believe them or take them seriously. In addition to the shame shared by many women victims of domestic violence, men must overcome gender stereotypes. 
Many men are too embarrassed to admit that they are being abused. Traditional gender roles also confuse the matter. A 'real man' is expected to be able to "control" his wife. Aside from the embarrassment over admitting abuse, abused men may feel that they are somehow less of a man for "allowing" themselves to be abused. 
"It hits your self-esteem as a man because you do catch yourself thinking "why am I letting this happen?".
But just like abused women are told when they suffer physical violence, abuse is never the victim's fault. This is no less true just because the victim happens to be male. It's difficult for men to ask for support.

How Domestic Violence Affects Men

The researchers found domestic violence is associated with serious, long-term effects on men's mental health. 
Women are more likely than men to experience more severe physical abuse, "But even nonphysical abuse can do lasting damage."(1) 
Depressive symptoms were nearly three times as common in older men who had experienced abuse than in those who hadn't, with much more severe depression in the men who had been abused physically.

What Makes the Women Turn Violent  Against the Men

Here are just some reasons why a woman turns violent against a man. Same with the above signs, these reasons are also found on men who are violent against women:
  • The woman is an alcoholic. As a result, she is not able to control her impulses and gets easily frustrated. If her partner tries to stop her or tries to reason with her, she might get violent and turn against her partner.
  • The woman has psychological problems. Personality disorders may cause a woman to commit domestic violence against the man.
  • The woman has unrealistic expectations or unrealistic demands. Women who have unrealistic expectations or who give unrealistic demands from their partners or the men get easily frustrated, depressed, anxious or irritable. Such reactions may very well turn them violent. To top it all, these women would refuse to get treatment or to let their men help them. As a result, the cycle continues.

How to Know if You're a Victim of Domestic Violence

The signs that the men are also victims of domestic violence are much, much similar to the signs of domestic violence against women. Here are just some of these signs:
  • The woman calls the man bad names, insults him (publicly or privately) and tries to put him down every chance she has.
  • The woman tries to stop the man from going to work or to public places. She also tries to prevent him from seeing his family members and friends.
  • The woman threatens the man with violence and harm, particularly when she is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  •  The woman actually hits or hurts the man by kicking, punching, slapping, shoving or choking him. Or the woman may do the same things to their children or pets.
  • The woman takes advantage of the man sleeping or resting and assaults him when he is in no position to defend himself.
  • The woman threatens to leave the man and to take their children with her if he will attempt to go against her or to fight back.
  • Despite all of above, the woman blames the man for her behaviour!

Tips for the Male Victim of Domestic Violence

Take the violence seriously  

Many men are inclined to find it amusing when the 'little woman' lashes out at them. (In one survey of college students, 20% of men who had been attacked by their girlfriends thought it was funny). Violence that seems harmless at first can escalate.

The first time she hits you, tell her that if there's a second time, it will be the last time she sees you - and act on it.

Don't hit back
 If you're an average sized man and your partner is an average sized woman, you can do major damage with a single blow. You will feel much better about yourself if you don't retaliate in kind. However, physically restraining the batterer is ordinarily not an acceptable alternative.

Don't keep it a secret
 If you cannot easily leave (because of the children, for example) let someone know what is happening. Overcome the embarrassment and call the police. Talk to a counselor, to your doctor, to family members.
Speak out about your experience as a victim of abuse. Perhaps domestic violence would no longer be perceived as merely a woman's issue.

What To Do In Our Community

Many domestic violence services are aimed mostly at helping a female population. University found that when an abused man called the police, the police were more likely to arrest him than to arrest his abusive female partner. This is partly the result of primary aggressor laws, which encourage police to discount who initiated and committed the violence but instead look at other factors that make them likelier to arrest men. 
When the men tried calling domestic-violence hot lines, 64% were told the hot lines helped only women, and more than half were referred to programs for male domestic-violence perpetrators.(2)
Work to ensure that male domestic-violence victims will not lose their children in custody proceedings. Ms Hines (2) fond that the biggest reason male domestic-violence victims hesitate to leave their wives/girlfriends is concern for their children. If they leave, their children are left unprotected in the hands of a violent mother. If they take their children, when they're found, the children will be taken away and given to the mother. Moreover, the men are likely to lose custody of their children in the divorce/custody proceeding in any event.

When safe, the domestic violence system needs to treat violent couples as violent couples, instead of shoehorning them into the "man as perp/woman as victim" model. Counselling services for violent couples are unnecessarily rare.
Please call our Counselling Service for support and counselling on 02 9542 4029 (Sydney office).

(2)    http://www.clarkprosecutor.org/html/domviol/men.htm

Have you or any of your mates been a victim of domestic violence?
Tell your story to us!



  1. I feel helpless and do not know what to do next. My son is in a Domestic Violence relationship. We have seen the bruises, scratches that are still bleeding,lips busted open etc. The Police are called and my son is the one being blamed.I don't understand the system he is the one bleeding and she has no marks on her but they blame my son. I look for support sites for family's of Domestic Violence just to get some information or support and there is none. It seems to me that men getting abused isn't an issue and it is. We as a family have talked to our son to make him understand he could have a better life, but and he keeps going back to her because of the kids.She has taken his phone away and disconnected his service so as of now we have no way of getting a hold of him. She has total control.We are afraid of what will happen next. I am glad that they are sites about Domestic Violence against men. It is an issue that needs to be made aware of.

  2. Scratches are more commonly defence wounds than direct assaults, unfortunately. The other source of shame for men (why they don't come forward) can be the reverse of being victims: they know perfectly well what they have done is assault their partner etc. and that most people would judge them more harshly for that than for being a victim themselves, so they say they've been a victim. Best way to find out the truth is to ask detailed questions and go to whatever court hearings happen, then you'll get a pretty clear picture. By the way, it's pretty embarassing being women victims, too - we're brought up to think that we can make everyone happy, but with some men, it just isn't going to happen.

  3. Abuse against men or women is unacceptable. Bottom line. An abusive alcoholic destroyed my family, including both my brother and me. In this case for my brother it was male on male domestic violence. But it can go any way- male on female, female on male, female on female, male on male. It's all the same: ABUSE. It's embarrassing for both genders. Humiliating and hurtful and infuriating. And it needs to end.

  4. Just spent the last 2 hours talking to my psychologist and friend about my BPD wife. I am at the point of either killing myself or cutting and running. I have been in hospital for severe stress events which I have been told will kill me if something isn't done to address the situation. Everything I know is a lie and everything I used to enjoy is ashes. There is no joy in my life.

    Over the past 8 years she has systematically destroyed everything that meant anything to me. In frank she owns me, I am a doormat!

    The only thing that keeps me going is my kids and now I am confronted with the hardest decision of my life. My life and the life of my kids or keep living in hope that she will get the help she needs.

    My friend has basically said that the best I cando is leave her and heal myself in order to do the best by my kids. My heart is broken, my soul is shattered and I am wracked with guilt and pain at what must be done.

    Eight years of being manipulated, humiliated, physically and menatally abused, alienated from my family, lost all my friends, financially destroyed and my career in tattters. Enough is enough!

    My friend tells me with his help I have to fix myself in order to be the parent to my kids that they need. She will never help or do what needs to be done to even attempt to fix herself.

    For all of you who live in hope and shame. There is a point when enough is enough. Seek the help that you deserve and don't allow yourself to live with what i have had to endure.

  5. Thanks to all for being so open. It inspires others. malecodependence.com

  6. Worst case scenario is a female abuser that has lined up all her ducks in a row. Namely by manipulating the system and claiming to be the victim. Police and courts will almost always side with women by granting them Protection Orders and accepting domestic violence charges that they know are less than legitimate. If a man ends up in a situation like that, he is screwed and she will always win and retain control to the point that she could probably get away with killing the man as justifiable homicide or self defense. I have seen many men in jails and prison that I believe are innocent, and why are they there? For one, the woman abuser may find another man and the easiest way to get rid of the good, hard working man is to ruin his good name, his life, and future by having him locked up.

  7. The Unspoken Abuse by Edward Charles

    A Story of Domestic Violence: When A Wife Becomes a Feared Companion

    Stories regarding domestic violence have held a home on bookstore shelves for many decades. These tales often involve a woman who is abused and dominated by the very man who should care about her the most. Typically, these books end up being a moving tale of female survival. However, there is another sinister side to these types of stories and those involve the man being the victim while the woman is the controlling and abusive partner.

    Such is the case in the riveting autobiographical book, The Unspoken Abuse, by author Edward Charles. This book provides an insightful and powerful view into the hellish life of one abuse survivor. Edward speaks candidly about the events of his life during this traumatic phase and leaves no stone unturned in revealing the truth behind his experiences. While once thought of as taboo, the author is forthright in his approach to this topic. His sincere hope is that others will learn from his own experiences and draw inspiration from his story.

    One telling review of this book indicates, “I literally started and finished this book in one day. What this man has had to ensure is heartbreaking. It brings to light a very real issue! Women and children are not the only ones to suffer at the hands of an abuser. Very poignant and moving.”

    Edward Charles had high hopes that he had found the love of his life when he met Angie. She was going through a bad divorce at the time that they met and Edward was more than happy to lend her his full love and support. Once they moved in together with Angie’s son, it seems like nothing but calm and love awaited them. This vision was shaken one night when Angie put out a cigarette on Edward’s wrist and embarked on a bizarre and brutal course of abuse towards him. He was not only physically mistreated, but mentally abused as well. With a daughter later in the picture, he struggled harder than ever to make peace with his wife and put an end to her violent tendencies. Reaching out to the authorities seemed almost hopeless, as they had a very difficult time grasping the concept of the wife as abuser and the husband as victim. Once he had finally escaped the grasp of Angie, Edward realized that while the abuse of him had come to an end she was now going to use their daughter as a weapon.

    The author crafts a raw and real picture for the reader. While at times the abuse is difficult to read about, the perseverance and grit of Edward is inspirational. This book unmasks some of the darkest secrets in society, while at the same time providing hope for others in a similar situation. Another review of this book reveals, “I think we all know women like this, but men are ashamed. It is sad that the children suffer so much.”