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Men Are Victims of Domestic Violence Too

 Posted on March 17, 2016 in Domestic Violence

domestic violence, Naperville family law attorneyWhen thinking about domestic violence, our minds tend to picture a female victim on the receiving end of emotional or physical abuse. While the numbers on female domestic violence victims are certainly startling, domestic violence advocates across the country are hoping to bring attention to the fact that domestic violence affects men as well. Men in same-sex and heterosexual relationships can and, unfortunately, often do become the victims of domestic violence. In fact, according to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey conducted in 2010, one American man is abused by a spouse, intimate, or domestic partner every 37.8 seconds. That is over three million male victims each year in the United States alone. Those numbers may pale in comparison to statistics on female domestic violence victims, but advocates believe the issue still deserves more attention.

Advocates say that male victims of domestic violence struggle with seeking help similarly to female victims. Men also question if they will be believed and helped by authorities, and fear possible retaliation from their abuser if they seek help. Male and female victims commonly face these worries, and many unfortunately suffer in silence without reporting their abuse. Advocates say, however, that there is another barrier that keeps men from seeking help. They say men tend to believe that domestic violence laws and support systems are built only to protect women. Is that true?

The Police Will Help

Experts suggest men often worry that the police will not intervene in a situation where they are being abused by a female or by a same-sex partner, but that this perception is simply not true. Officers are trained to handle a variety of domestic violence situations, and will know how to respond appropriately to male victims. A victim, either male or female, can assist the police by providing evidence of the abuse they have received. Victims are encouraged to document all instances of physical or emotional abuse in any way possible. Photos of injuries, written documentation, and medical records can all be helpful to authorities. If a victim feels unsafe keeping this documentation in the home with their abuser, they can seek the help of a friend or family member.

Shelters Are For Men Too

Another common misconception is that domestic violence resources are only available to women. This makes sense, as many shelters have female-centric names that send the message that they are only open to women. As awareness grows, agencies across the country are changing to be more inclusive. In New Jersey, for example, the Coalition for Battered Women was recently renamed the New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence, and the organization released a statement saying their help is available to any and all victims of domestic violence.

Domestic Violence Laws Protect Male Victims

Male victims also commonly believe that state laws covering domestic violence tend to favor female victims, so they choose not to report their abuse. Most states, however, have immediate remedies for victims of domestic violence, no matter their gender or sexual orientation. Most states also use gender-neutral language in their laws addressing domestic violence.

While advocates say legal help is available to anyone, victims, male or female, are encouraged to seek the help of a lawyer. A family law attorney can help advocate for the rights of the victim and can help guide them through the legal system. If you are a domestic violence victim in the Naperville area, the qualified attorneys at Pesce Law Group, P.C., can help you immediately. An Order of Protection can provide immediate relief to you and your children and will also work vigorously on long-term solutions. Our team works to protect families. Call 630-352-2240 to schedule a consultation with a skilled Naperville family lawyer today.


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