Domestic violence doesn’t just happen to women and children. It happens to men, also. While I was doing some research this morning I repeatedly found information for domestic violence rallies for women. I saw a ‘Remembrance Tree’ in front of the Walker County Courthouse in Texas that held a pair of shoes for every woman killed by an abusive partner. In Victoria, TX they celebrated Domestic Violence Awareness Month by hanging t-shirts for the victims, but they only contained women’s names. The Texas Council on Family Violence completely disregards men as victims: “Each year, the Texas Council on Family Violence compiles a list of the women killed by their male intimate partners in Texas.” (highlighted for emphasis)
We’ve all read the statistics. One in four women will be victims of domestic violence…but did you know that 40% of the victims of severe domestic abuse are men? Did you read that? Stop and let it sink in. Forty percent. Forty percent of the victims of severe abuse are husbands and boyfriends.
How many male victims of abuse do you know? I know of three men who have been abused by a spouse or significant other. I’m sure there are more men I know that are being abused and I just don’t know about it.
Why don’t more men report abuse? They are more likely to be ridiculed than women because they aren’t being manly. When a victim is beaten, most often they call police for help, but men who call 911 are often derided by the officers who are supposed to be helping them.
Victims are not weak because they are abused. They are most often trapped in a situation from which they don’t know how to escape, or they fear leaving and what will happen to them. The sex of the victim should not matter.
The Mayo Clinic gives an extensive list of the signs of domestic violence against men who are straight, gay, or bisexual — because violence doesn’t just happen in the heterosexual community — it has no sexual preference.
I think some men don’t realize that certain behaviors are abusive — they think it’s ‘typical female behavior’ — but hair-pulling, name-calling, extreme jealousy, pushing, slapping, etc. are uncalled for and unacceptable.
Our society is taking great strides to bring domestic violence out of the closet and into the light, but sticking our heads in the sand when it comes to abused men is wrong and it makes me wonder if the ‘Women are Victims’ groups are pushing an agenda that really has nothing to do with the victims.
We can put any spin on it we want, color it with any crayon in the box, but the truth is that men can be victims of domestic violence just as much as women. We need to open our eyes, take a stand, bring to light the horrible burdens that abused men are carrying alone because of the way our society treats them and say No More. Then we can begin providing male victims with the same services female victims receive.
If you are reading this and you are a victim or know someone who is, speak out to someone you trust — a friend, a clergyman — and get help. You are not weak — you’ve been strong for far too long.