Domestic violence, also known as intimate partner violence, is an act that can occur when two people are in an intimate relationship and one of the two is abusing the other. Abuse comes in all forms, and no matter what type of abuse occurs, it can have long lasting effects on the victim. Men are not immune to domestic violence! Even though it is not as common as we may think, men can become victims of abusive relationships. Learn more about domestic violence against men.
Types of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence can take any form, including emotional, sexual and physical abuse. Even threats of abuse are considered a form of domestic violence, mostly because these threats are made to instill fear in the victim. The abuser wants to make the victim afraid, so that they do what the abuser wants. Violence against men can occur in both same-sex and heterosexual relationships.
Signs of Violence Against Men
Since most men do not open up and admit they are being abused, it is difficult to identify all of the tell tale signs. Being able to identify domestic violence against men is not always the easiest thing to do. That’s why they are at great risks of becoming victims of domestic violence-related crimes.
By being able to identify the signs of domestic violence, you will be able to get help for yourself or someone you know who is being abused. According to the Mayo Clinic, you may be a victim of domestic abuse if you are:
- Called names, constantly insulted and put down by your partner.
- Prevented from going to work, school or other regular activities.
- Stopped from interacting with friends and family.
- Told how much you can spend and your spending habits are strictly controlled.
- Told where you can go and what you can wear.
- Closely monitored at all times.
- Subjected to your partner’s jealousy and possessiveness.
- Constantly being accused of being unfaithful when you are not.
- Experiencing worse forms of abuse when your partner drinks or uses drugs.
- Threatened with violence or a weapon.
- Being physically attacked, including hitting, shoving, slapping, choking and kicking.
- Afraid because your partner has physically attacked your kids and/or pets in the past.
- Forced to have sex even when you are not willing or wanting to.
- Blamed for your partner’s violent behavior.
Other signs of abuse that are more common with same-sex relationships include:
- Threats of revealing your sexuality to unknowing friends, family and coworkers.
- Threats of posting pictures of you online that reveal your sexuality and sexual desires.
- Being constantly told that the police will not help gays, bisexuals or transgender people.
- Your partner claiming that if you leave, you are admitting that being gay is a deviant behavior.
- Your partner claiming he’s a man and men are naturally violent.
- Your partner justifies his behavior by saying that you are not really gay.
The Effects of Domestic Violence Against Men
Domestic violence can leave men feeling ashamed and unwanted. Just like abuse towards women, violence against a man can leave him depressed and anxious. He is always unsure of what his partner will do next and fears being abused, or having harm being inflicted upon the ones he loves.
In some cases, domestic violence has lead to victims abusing drugs and alcohol as a means of coping with the pain of the day-to-day abuse. In more severe cases of abuse, especially those where a man feels he has no other way out, the victim may commit suicide as a means of escaping.
What to do to stop the abuse
If you feel that one of your friends, coworkers or family member is suffering from being abused in a relationship, it is important to break the cycle and get him some help. Try talking to him and find out if he is needing any help and work together to find a solution.
If you are the one being abused, start making a plan to get out. Talk to those who you believe can help you and make a plan to end the violence.
Tips for getting out of the relationship
Getting out of a violent relationship can be a difficult task. Trying to leave an abusive partner may make the situation worse and could lead to escalated acts of violence.
When thinking about leaving, it is important to share you plan with someone you trust. Tell this person what you are going through and how you plan to get out of the situation. Make sure it is someone who is not friends with or an acquaintance of your partner. Otherwise, you run the risk of him or her sharing your plans with your abuser.
Have an emergency bag packed and keep in a safe location. The bag should include extra clothes, prescriptions, money and keys. It is also a good idea to keep any personal paperwork in the bag, so you can grab it the moment you have the opportunity to get away. If possible, keep this bag with your trusted friend or at your place of employment to avoid having your abuser finding it.
Before leaving, know exactly where you will go and how you plan to get there. In some cases, it is best to leave the area where you live and go stay with friends or family in another city or state.
If you do not have anyone trustworthy enough to help with your plan, call a domestic violence hotline for advice. Make the call when your abuser is not around. Other places to seek help include healthcare providers, local courts and area counseling centers.
Your abuser uses different methods to keep track of your whereabouts and your day-to-day activities. The latest in technology makes keeping track of someone much easier, but can easily be blocked. Here are some tips to help protect yourself:
- Use your phone carefully: If you need to, consider making calls from public phones or from a friend’s house, because your abuser can check phone bills and intercept cell phone calls.
- Be careful using a home computer: Your abuser could have put a spyware program to monitor e-mails and websites that you visit. Use a computer at work, at the library or at a friend’s house when looking for help.
- Disable GPS devices: This includes tracking devices on your phone and in your car.
- Change passwords: Constantly change passwords for all of your accounts. This way your abuser cannot access your accounts.
- Clear cookies and Internet history: This will stop your abuser from being able to see what you were doing while on the computer.
Domestic Violence Against Men: The Statistics
Though a majority of domestic violence attacks are against women, men can fall victim to both physical and emotional abuse. It seems as if violence against men is more aggressive and more violent than that of violent acts against women.
According to Domestic Violence Statistics, 63 percent of males who have been abused have had deadly weapons used against them by their partner. This is opposed to the 15 percent of females who have had weapons used as part of their abusive relationship.
More and more men are coming forward about their abusive relationships as a result of many campaigns spreading awareness. In 2012, 2,525 men reported to be a victim of domestic violence. That is a big jump to the 259 reported cases in the previous year.
The Lack of Awareness
The fact that men too can be a victim of domestic violence is a widely ignored problem. The biggest reason behind the lack of awareness and for so many turning their heads against the violence against men is that we do not see men as victims.
According to a Daily Finance report, more than 200 surveys have been conducted revealing that men are just as vulnerable to abuse as women are. The biggest reason why this form of domestic abuse is overlooked is mostly because those men who are victimized are looked at as weak and unmanly. This is something no man wants, which is why many of these cases go ignored and unreported.
Because violence against men is not as widely reported as acts against women, there is lack of research into why and how men can fall victim. Much of the information we currently have is largely based on theories off of how and why women are abused. According to the same Daily Finance report, the Department of Justice has refused to fund studies that would research how domestic violence affects men, why it occurs and how to stop it.
Domestic violence can occur when a man is involved in an abusive relationship. Just as with violence against women, domestic violence against men is considered a crime. However, for many reasons, is not taken as serious as violent acts against women. That is why it is very important to be aware of the different types of abuse, how to recognize it and what to do to help men get out of potentially dangerous relationships.