Men Can be Victims, Too

Based on surveys, the facts are that most sexual offences are committed by men against women. What may not be quite as evident is that men are abused, too, both physically and sexually, by women. These disruptions of domestic harmony are referred to as Intimate Partner Violence, or IPV. Due to their reluctance to admit the incident ever happened, there are no totally reliable statistics on exactly how many men experience IPV, but some 2018 data from Canada suggest that as many as1 in4 victims, or 25 %, are male. According to 2018 statistics in the United States, 85 % of domestic violence cases are women, and 15 % of cases are men. There are sets of statistics  that have been broken down further into different categoriesfor an interesting perspective on the situation.

IPV, which can be in the form of physical or sexual violence, psychological aggression, or stalking, is a very real and concerning global problem. Society still dictates, openly or moresubtly, that menmust be the alpha presence in the house, and they should never be shown to be weaker than a woman. Men may be embarrassed; may worry that they will not be considered credible; or that their female counterparts will tell a different story, expecting to be believed over the man, which does happen.Even in this burgeoning age of equality, some unwritten, antiquated standards persist, making men reluctant to report assaults by females.

Men aremore likely to use physical force to maintain control over their partners, so injuries to women are generallymore severe than those that men sustain. Women are not exempt from using violence, but when they do resort to it, it usually consists of throwing things at their partners, kicking, biting or spitting. In extreme cases, a woman may attack a man with a lethal weapon in his sleep, sometimes after years of sustained abuse, so she does not have to face physical retaliation. 

More frequently, however, women use verbal and non-verbal methods to coerce. They can verbally abuse men at home, belittle them in front of friends, family, and colleagues or on social media. Mommy may threaten to not let Daddy see his children if he leaves her or reports her to the police. If she controls the purse strings, she could damage their financial situation and run up credit cards. A woman could destroy her domestic partner’s belongings or threaten to harm their children or pets. She can be possessive, unreasonably jealous, suspicious, or spread rumors about him.

Both men and women can use manipulative behaviours or physical force to gain power and control over their domestic partners, but data shows that men are more violent and women more verbally manipulative. There are, of course, exceptions to every rule; these are not absolutes.

The consequences of Intimate Partner Violence extend past the couple involved. Survivors of domestic violence are at risk for long term health issues such as depression, PTSD, effects from physical injuries, and anxiety. These can result in loss of productivity at home or at work; relationship problems with others;and financial difficulties related to mental and physical health care, lost wages from time off work,and possible legal costs. If there are children involved, things can be scary and complicated for them, too.

These can be frightening times, but no one needs to go through them alone. Man or woman, you are of value to your family, your friends, and yourself. Seek help at an Emergency Room if needed for treatment and/or documentation of the incident. In the United States and Canada, call the appropriate  Domestic Violence and please enter ongoing counseling to help you cope with the trauma. Such hotlines are for everyone, man or woman.


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