Domestic violence against men: Know the signs
Domestic violence against men: Know the signs
Women aren't the only victims of domestic violence. Understand the signs of domestic violence against men, and know how to get help.
Recognize domestic violence against men
Domestic violence — also known as domestic abuse, battering or intimate partner violence — occurs between people in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence against men can take many forms, including emotional, sexual and physical abuse and threats of abuse. It can happen in heterosexual or same sex relationships.
It might not be easy to recognize domestic violence against men. Early in the relationship, your partner might seem attentive, generous and protective in ways that later turn out to be controlling and frightening. Initially, the abuse might appear as isolated incidents. Your partner might apologize and promise not to abuse you again.
In other relationships, domestic violence against men might include both partners slapping or shoving each other when they get angry — and neither partner seeing himself or herself as being abused or controlled. This type of violence, however, can still devastate a relationship, causing both physical and emotional damage.
You might be experiencing domestic violence if your partner:
If you're gay, bisexual or transgender, you might also be experiencing domestic violence if you're in a relationship with someone who:
Children and abuse
Domestic violence affects children, even if they're just witnesses. If you have children, remember that exposure to domestic violence puts them at risk of developmental problems, psychiatric disorders, problems at school, aggressive behavior and low self-esteem. You might worry that seeking help could further endanger you and your children, or that it might break up your family. Fathers might fear that abusive partners will try to take their children away from them. However, getting help is the best way to protect your children — and yourself.
Break the cycle
If you're in an abusive situation, you might recognize this pattern:
Typically the violence becomes more frequent and severe over time.
Domestic violence can leave you depressed and anxious. You might be more likely to abuse alcohol or drugs or engage in unprotected sex. Domestic violence can even trigger suicide attempts. Because men are traditionally thought to be physically stronger than women, you might be less likely to talk about or report incidents of domestic violence in your heterosexual relationship due to embarrassment or fear of ridicule. You might also worry that the significance of the abuse will be minimized because you're a man. Similarly, a man being abused by another man might be reluctant to talk about the problem because of how it reflects on his masculinity or because it exposes his sexual orientation. Additionally, if you seek help, you might confront a shortage of resources for male victims of domestic violence. Health care providers and other contacts might not think to ask if your injuries were caused by domestic violence, making it harder to open up about abuse. You might also fear that if you talk to someone about the abuse, you'll be accused of wrongdoing yourself. Remember, though, if you're being abused, you aren't to blame — and help is available.
Start by telling someone about the abuse, whether it's a friend, relative, health care provider or other close contact. At first, you might find it hard to talk about the abuse. However, you'll also likely feel relief and receive much-needed support.
Create a safety plan
Leaving an abuser can be dangerous. Consider taking these precautions:
Protect your communication and location
An abuser can use technology to monitor your telephone and online communication and to track your physical location. If you're concerned for your safety, seek help. To maintain your privacy:
Where to seek help
In an emergency, call 911 — or your local emergency number or law enforcement agency. The following resources also can help:
Domestic violence against men can have devastating effects. Although you may not be able to stop your partner's abusive behavior, you can seek help. Remember, no one deserves to be abused.
Last Updated: 2011-05-21
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