Let’s be honest, when we think of domestic violence, the image that comes to mind is the scene of a woman being physically attacked by a man. That’s what the majority of us imagine.
While many people are inclined to believe that the majority of domestic violence is male on female (and according to almost all experts on the topic this is in fact the case), a number of men are also victims of such abuse.
In a recent article entitled “Women Battering Men: The Other Side of Domestic Abuse” written by Roni-Weisberg Ross, a psychotherapist based in Los Angeles, the author provides provocative and riveting information detailing the ways in which some men are victims of this troubling epidemic. In her article, Weisberg-Ross states the following:
“Now to the specific topic at hand. When we think of domestic abuse we mostly think of men battering women partners or and to a much lesser extent, women battering their female partners in a lesbian relationship. But when it comes to women battering men, most people would say that they don’t imaagine such a situation due to the fact that, on average,men are physically stronger and therefore more capable of defending themselves. However, women do batter their male partners and in much larger numbers than anyone would imagine.”
I, myself, became aware of this fact several years ago when a male student informed me that he was the victim of physical and verbal abuse from his at the time fiancée. The couple eventually separated. In another case, when I was a graduate student more than a two decades ago, there were unsubstantiated rumors of a certain female graduate colleague who was physically and psychologically abusive to her husband. Several years ago I was chairing a panel at a conference that discussed issues facing men in the 21st century. During the question and answer session one audience member announced that his wife was so abusive, both physically and mentally, toward him that he eventually walked out of the relationship after six years of marriage. He simply could not take it anymore. Truth be told, I doubt that his experience was an aberration.
Common examples of men being victimized by domestic violence:
- Calls you names, insults you or put you down
- Prevents you from going to work or school
- Take away your keys or money
- Regularly threaten to leave or make you leave
- Stops you seeing family members or friends
- Use children as pawns
- Manipulate you with lies and contradictions
- Hit, kick, shove, punch, bite, spit or throw things when upset
In many cases where the female is the aggressor in domestic violence, the abuse is more likely to be verbal as opposed to physical (although violence does frequently occur) such as belittling her husband or boyfriend’s manhood, his level of success or lack of, economic status, sexual performance, intelligence athletic ability etc. … For such men, this can be a nightmarish existence. Anxiety, flashbacks, unresolved anger, isolation, depression, sexual dysfunction, strained relationships with children, physical illness, resorting to or increasingly depending on alcohol or other drugs are just a few of the many situations that can often result from being in such a precarious environment.
Similar situations undoubtedly happen happen in gay and lesbian relationships as well. It is an undeniably harrowing predicament to be in. The reason these tormented men (like many women) stay in such dysfunctional relationships vary. The primary reasons are low self-esteem, denial of the actual situation, fear of ruined reputations, financial dependency and, in some cases, for a number of men, they fear that, if they leave, they will relinquish their parental rights. If you are a man who is the victim of domestic violence you should:
- Leave if possible – Such a situation is unhealthy
Never retaliate – Do not allow yourself to be provoked or manipulated into resorting to violence
Get evidence of the abuse – This will go along way in allowing you to build a convincing case against your abuser
Obtain advice from a domestic violence program – There are many resources out there to assist you with your situation
Confronting domestic violence does not make you any less of a man, rather it is a step in acknowledging your manhood and humanity. Domestic violence is a vice that no one, regardless of gender, should endure.
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