by Andrea Watson | December 28, 2020
It is true that most reported Domestic Violence, or Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is perpetrated by men against women. Still, it is not uncommon for men to be victims of violence perpetrated by women. This happens far too often and we can’t ignore the problem. Everybody deserves to live an a safe, violence-free environment whether that be with a partner or not. IPV can take different forms, including stalking, sexual or physical violence, emotional abuse, and threats of abuse. It happens in both heterosexual and same-sex relationships. Let’s take a closer look at this problem, shall we?
When abuse against men is portrayed in the media, it is often done so in the context of humor. We always revile those men who are abusive towards women, and we often step in to change the situation. But when we see a man being abused, what do we do? In far too many cases, we laugh. This is sick and wrong. Take a look at this short video to see the difference in reaction:
The male victim of IPV often will not report it or seek help until it becomes a crisis. By this time, they are actually “Intimate Terror Victims” and are at a much higher risk for developing PTSD (American Psychological Association, 2011). Men cite such reasons for keeping quiet as, they don’t think people will believe them, they are afraid to be seen as less masculine, or worse, the peers and authorities he should trust will laugh at him, just like the people in the above video did (Rob Whitley, Ph. D., Psychology Today, Nov. 19, 2019)
What kind of man can be abused? Beware the misconception that a victim has to be small, soft or weak; this is simply untrue. Abuse can and does happen to men of all statures and body types, from big and burly to small-framed and timid. So what does IPV look like? What kinds of things happen to men? Well, here is a list provided by the Mayo Clinic. If your partner does any of these things, you might be experiencing Domestic Violence:
- Insults you, calls you names, or puts you down
- Prevents you from going to work or school
- Stops you from seeing friends or family members
- Tries to control how you spend money, where you go, or what you wear
- Acts jealous or possessive or constantly accuses you of being unfaithful
- Gets angry when drinking alcohol or using drugs
- Tries to control whether you can see a health care provider
- Threatens you with weapons or violence
- Hits, kicks, shoves, slaps, chokes, or otherwise hurts you, your children, or your pets
- Forces you to have sex or engage in sexual acts against your will
- Blames you for her or his violent behavior or tells you that you deserve it
- Threatens to tell family, friends, colleagues, or community your sexual orientation or gender identity
A gay man may encounter things like this from their partner:
- Tells you that authorities won’t help a gay, bisexual, or transgender person
- Tells you that if you leave you will be admitting that gay, bisexual, or transgender relationships are deviant
- Justifies the abuse by telling you that you are not “really” gay, bisexual, or transgender
- Says that men are naturally violent
It is true that men are more likely to suffer psychological abuse than physical abuse, but that doesn’t mean that the effects are benign. When a man becomes victimized by his partner, he can suffer severe psychological trauma such as depression, PTSD, or suicidal thoughts. Another pervasive problem is that police are less likely to arrest a woman for domestic abuse than they are a man. It is clear, given the stigma, that more help and resources are needed for men experiencing IPV (APA, 2011).
I would like to end this post by telling you the story of one man who goes by the pseudonym Tami. I found this story here. Perhaps this will help more fully illustrate what it is like to be a male victim.
When Tami first met his former girlfriend, she gave him a long story all about the abuse she had been through in other relationships. He thought, (as is common in these types of situations), “I can be her savior!” He wanted to show her that not all men were bad; some are actually supportive and loving. They eventually moved in together and he began to support her emotionally and financially. Soon they were almost completely dependent on each other.
Her control over Tami started suddenly. After an argument while they were on holiday, Tami’s girlfriend was furious at him and began slapping him around the head. Then she tried to justify it by telling him about her troubled childhood. He decided to never not stand with her again. Over the years, the emotional dependency grew and Tami became a slave who had to get everything right. There were rules for every tiny thing in day-to-day life. Nothing was ever good enough for Tami’s girlfriend and every time he got something wrong or “stepped out of line” he received a blow to the head.
Eventually Tami, a bundle of nerves, ended up in an emergency room with cuts and broken bones. He never defended himself, never hit back. He was so busy trying to please her and get everything right that he had no time to reflect on his situation. She controlled his social contacts, and even his contact with his family. It eventually became more apparent that help from the outside was not forthcoming.
Despite all the physical violence, Tami says the psychological damage he suffered was worse. Tami’s girlfriend had a device she called “her joker”. It was a recording device and she would stand in front of Tami, beating, slapping, and scratching herself while she cried out “No! Stop it! That Hurts!” while recording the whole episode. She used this against him as blackmail. He did finally escape the situation. One day he called a ride to take him home from work early because he had a sore throat. During that ride he decided not to go home ever again.
Men who are victims of IPV need a place where people will listen to them. They should not be made to feel like they just need to “man up” or pull themselves together. Abuse is abuse, no matter who perpetrates it. It is always wrong. If you or someone you know is a victim of Domestic Violence, please consider calling The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7200. They are here to help, whether you are a man or a woman. You can find their website here. Male victims of IPV serious need us to help. Eliminate the stigma, put to rest those sexist views and attitudes that hold men back from seeking help. Advocate, fight, and never give up. Men are just as important as women. Until next time,
7 thoughts on “Intimate Partner Violence Against Men”
Very well written. Would like to go into more details on what makes some people so heartless & typical.
Very important topic, and the video you added just shows why men don’t report it. Thank you for such a well written post!
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Absolutely. Thank you for reading and watching the video.
This is so sad but a reality. Thanks for sharing this post to raise more awareness on domestic violence 🖤
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Absolutely. Thank you for reading. The more of who us who know, hopefully the easier it will be for men to seek help.
Thank you for bringing this up. It is so important to shed light on the men who suffer and let them know there is help.
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Thank you, I agree. I feel like men should be able to seek help when they need it. None of this is fair.