When someone says the words “victim of domestic violence“, the first picture that comes to mind is usually a woman with a black eye, or a split lip. Why? Because statistics show that there are more female victims of intimate partner violence than there are male victims. So it makes sense that with the majority of victims being women, people wouldn’t automatically think “man” when someone mentions a domestic assault victim. But that’s not the only reason.
Fewer men report domestic violence for fear of being seen as “weak”
In many cultures and subcultures around the world, men are perceived as being “stronger” and therefore less likely to be victimized. Men who do become victims of any kind of assault (and specifically assaults at the hands of women) are often viewed as being “weak”, or having sacrificed their masculinity. For this reason, men are less likely to report domestic assaults when they happen, which skews the data considerably.
There is no standardized data on male victims of abuse
Because many men choose not to report the domestic violence they suffer, there are no certain or reliable reports on exactly how many men are victims. Speculation is rampant, and several different studies have shown widely disparate information on how many men are victims of domestic violence in the U.S. Some surveys conclude that as many men are battered by intimate partners as women. Others say men are by a large margin the more aggressive sex. No one is sure.
Divorce often makes domestic violence situations worse!
One thing we have noticed in years of practicing family law in Michigan, is that instances of domestic violence, whether the victims are male or female, increase during divorces. People who abuse their spouses do so for a variety of reasons that usually have to do with mental and emotional issues. Divorce is a stressful time, often exacerbating problems like this and bringing out the worst in abusive spouses. The abuse is even more likely to increase if the abused spouse is the one who initiated the divorce.
Growing awareness is slowly changing cultural “norms”
It will likely be a long time before men feel comfortable reporting that they’ve been victimized by their partners, without feeling emasculated in the process. But awareness of male-victim domestic assault is growing, both in the gay community and in hetero-normative relationships, and cultural norms are slowly changing to embrace a more ‘gender symmetrical’ outlook. Recognition that victims can be male or female, and being a victim of domestic abuse doesn’t diminish your worth as a person is slowly becoming more wide-spread, and victim-shaming is becoming less tolerated.
Do you need help to get out of a violent relationship?
If you or a loved one are trapped in an abusive relationship, and you’d like help to protect yourself (and your kids, if you have any), or want information on the divorce process, call 866 766 5245. Our skilled and experienced family law attorneys understand the challenges you face, and the potential danger you may be in. We are available 24/7 to help you prepare for a safer and better future.