Men Can Be Victimized By Domestic Violence Too
When you think about domestic violence, what do you do picture? Does your mind create images of a large, athletic man physically abusing his wife or girlfriend—a woman who appears to be smaller than weaker than he is? If you are like most people, this is probably pretty close to what you picture.
Realistically, however, you could likely think of at least one man in your life—a friend, colleague, or casual acquaintance—who has suffered abuse from his significant other. Or, maybe you have seen such abuse played out involving strangers in a public setting. A man is out with his spouse or romantic partner, but they do not appear to be having a good time. Throughout the night, you can hear the man’s wife or girlfriend making derogatory comments about the man’s appearance, clothes, food choices, and other behaviors. The situation worsens as time goes by, and before long, the woman is openly scolding the man as he stays silent and just takes it.
While there are countless resources and efforts designed to help battered women and female victims of domestic violence, our society has largely been conditioned to downplay or outright ignore male victims. Part of the issue, of course, is the rise of misogynistic, militant so-called “men’s rights advocacy” groups whose efforts regarding “awareness” are little more than poorly disguised attacks against women. Sadly, men can be and certainly are often victims of domestic violence, including acts of physical and emotional abuse.
Hesitance to Speak Up
Many reliable organizations have recently reported that domestic violence against men is a growing problem. At the very least, the issue is gaining recognition. Men can be victims of abuse perpetrated by opposite-sex or same-sex partners. Unfortunately, any numbers that are offered by such organizations rely almost entirely on estimates and projections because men are often reluctant to speak up and to seek help. Experts believe that many male victims are unwilling to say something for a variety of reasons, such as:
- Ignorance or naivety: Some men do not even recognize that they are being abused because they have not been physically injured;
- Traditional gender characteristics: Boys are largely taught that “being tough” is part of being a man, and that complaining is not “manly.” Reporting abuse is often seen as just whining or complaining;
- Fear of not being believed: Male victims tend to worry that nobody will believe their claims, especially men in heterosexual relationships; and
- Not knowing where to go: Everyone knows that shelters exist for abused women and that there are many other available resources for female victims. This is not often the case for men. A male victim who is not ready to tell friends or family about the problem may feel like there is nowhere for him to go.
Dangerous Cultural Depictions
The entertainment industry is not very helpful when it comes to encouraging abused men to seek help. Movies, TV shows, and even commercials often show the husband, father, or boyfriend character as a nearly helpless oaf who cannot even cook breakfast without starting a fire in the kitchen. Complete story arcs, not to mention countless side plots, are constructed around the man’s incompetence unless and until he does what his female partner tells him to do. These depictions generally avoid showing actual emotional abuse, but they do contribute to the misguided yet pervasive belief that men are the cause of their own problems. Therefore, their problems are not all that serious.
Call a San Jose Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer
When the police respond to a domestic violence call, it is often the man who is arrested, even if he was the actual victim. If you have been falsely accused of such abuse, contact an experienced domestic violence defense attorney in Santa Clara County. Call 408-277-0377 for a confidential consultation with Wesley J. Schroeder, Attorney at Law, today.