Underreporting makes it difficult to tell for sure, but some research suggests that domestic violence against men may be as prevalent as it is against women. Regardless of the gender of the victim, domestic violence tends to affect men and women in similar ways. Reported feelings of fear and shame are common from both male and female victims.
No one deserves to endure abusive treatment. Male victims have the same rights as female victims to seek help and escape the situation. However, while reporting abuse or leaving a situation of domestic violence is often difficult for men and women alike, male victims may have special concerns that typically not affect female victims, and may never even occur to them.
Men who endure abuse from their domestic partners may be afraid the call authorities to report the violence. They may fear that law enforcement will not take the abuse seriously or, worse yet, that authorities will arrest them rather than the abusive partner. This is a particular concern in cases of female-on-male violence because of the perception that women are always the victims and men always the abusers.
Male victims may find that they have to go to greater lengths than women do to prove that they are victims to persuade law enforcement to take them seriously. The Crime Report tells of one man who had to strap a camera to his belt to record his ex-wife’s abusive behavior. She reportedly threatened to falsely accuse him of assault if he reported the abuse, but the video he recorded corroborated his story.
The situation for male victims of domestic violence can become even more complicated if there are children involved. According to FindLaw, a man may fear that if he leaves the home with the children, his partner and/or the authorities may accuse him of kidnapping them. On the other hand, if he leaves without the children, he may be putting them in danger. For this reason, fathers who experience domestic violence may feel that they have no choice but to stay and protect their children.
Fortunately, as awareness of domestic violence against men rises, help is increasingly available for male victims who need it.