In the United States, when most people hear the word “domestic violence”, they often think of female victims.
This is because most victims of domestic abuse are in fact women. However, in the U.S. there are millions of cases of domestic violence involving male victims.
Is It Common?
The truth is, both men and women can be victims of abuse in close, intimate relationships.
Domestic violence against men is a very serious problem in our country. Whether people choose to believe it or not, these cases happen each and every day.
Many people think men cannot be victims of abuse because they are physically stronger than women. Still, reports indicate that countless men of every age are victims of assault, battery, threats and even rape.
While much has changed for women victims, little has changed for male victims. Nowadays, if a female victim were abused by an intimate partner, she could call police and report the maltreatment.
The police would most likely believe her story and arrest the person who has engaged in violence against her.
What Is It?
Unfortunately in cases where men are victims, they feel police, family members and close friends will not believe them. Hence male victims are more likely to keep abuse a secret. They think everyone will assume they are telling lies.
Domestic violence against men is a pattern of physically or emotionally abusive behaviors inflicted by a spouse or intimate partner. These behaviors include physical attacks, rape, coercion, and harassment. Consequently, the goal is to dominate or control the other partner.
Domestic violence against men affects men in heterosexual as well as same-sex relationships.
Facts About Domestic Violence Against Men
According to a report by the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Human Services, an estimated 835,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually.
Perpetrators of domestic violence against men are male and female, with a larger percentage of male offenders in cases of physical or sexual assault.
Male victims of domestic violence are entitled to the same legal protections as female victims.
Male victims can petition the court for a protection order to restrict the other partner from harming, harassing, or contacting them.
If a man was physically attacked, sexually assaulted, threatened with a weapon, or had property damaged or stolen by an intimate partner, he can file criminal charges.
Sacramento Family Lawyer Discusses Domestic Violence Against Men and Restraining Orders
Very little is known about the actual number of men who are in domestic relationships in which women do abuse or commit violence. In 100 domestic violence situations, approximately 40 cases involve violence by women against men.
There are many reasons we don’t know more about domestic abuse and violence against men. One main reason is the incidence of domestic violence reported by men appears to be so low, it is hard to get reliable estimates.
Help for men who are victims is not as prevalent as it is for women, as there are virtually no shelters, programs or advocacy groups for men.
The best route for a man who is suffering from domestic violence is to file a request with a local court for a restraining order.
Two Types of Restraining Orders
- A restraining order is an order made by a court to protect a person from physical pain or injury or from the threat of pain or injury. If you swear to the court that you are in immediate physical danger, the court may give you an ex parte restraining order.
- An ex parte restraining order is a temporary, emergency order for when the requesting party (the applicant or petitioner) is present to talk to the judge.
If the judge agrees you are in immediate physical danger, he will grant the ex parte order and schedule a hearing.
Issues Regarding Domestic Violence Against Men
Men are less likely to report domestic violence due to a range of social factors.
The need to maintain a masculine image and the sense of shame associated with being a male victim may keep men from speaking up. Male victims may fear that friends and family won’t believe or will mock them.
There also may be more of a tendency for male victims to keep silent and work it out themselves. In addition, because men are more likely to be financially independent, they may not seek emergency shelter or other forms of support.
If You Are a Victim of Domestic Violence
Both federal and state governments have hotlines you can call for immediate assistance. You can explain your situation, find information about programs in your area, and get directions to a shelter, if necessary.
Most domestic violence shelters serve men as well as women. Or they should be able to direct you to a shelter that serves men, since government programs are required to be gender-neutral.