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Domestic Violence: Men Are Victims Too

Domestic violence men
North Hampton in Massachusetts is a domestic violence-free zone. Credit: Ben Pollard, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0

Men are more often perpetrators of domestic violence against women, but men are the victims of domestic violence, as well, experts report. Too often, they feel isolated in situations without proper resources, options, or choices for them to get help.

According to a search on the issue in the US National Library of Medicine, studies yielded prevalence rates of 3.4 percent to 20.3 percent for domestic physical violence against men.

Most of the affected men had been violent toward their partners themselves. It is said that 10.6 to 40 percent of these men reported having been abused or maltreated as children. Alcohol and drug abuse, jealousy, mental illness, physical impairment, and short relationship duration are all associated with a higher risk of becoming a victim of domestic violence.

The reported consequences of violence include mostly minor physical injuries, impaired physical health, mental health problems such as anxiety or a disruptive disorder, and increased consumption of alcohol and/or illegal drugs.

Scientists say men are often less likely to report domestic violence due to social stigma and feelings of shame. This can make it difficult to get a fully accurate picture of how widespread the issue is.

Zack Mackey who works at Lutheran Settlement House told Fox29 recently that men often don’t reach out the way female victims of domestic violence do, “Some of their fears are that they won’t be believed or they’ll be made fun of. Some other fears are that they will be ridiculed. Sometimes they’re scared of retaliation from their partners’ families.”

New study in Germany highlights domestic violence against men

Against this backdrop, a new study on violence in partnerships in Germany is calling for more protection centers for men affected by violence and their children.

Currently, there are hardly any places for men to turn to if they decide to seek protection, Philipp Müller from the Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony (KFN) told the German Press Association (DPA).

“In rural areas, there is virtually no help at all,” he criticized.

In the KFN research project, almost 12,000 men between the ages of 18 and 69 were contacted in an online survey, 1,209 of whom took part. The researchers also conducted 16 interviews with those affected.

According to the results, more than half, namely 54 percent of the men surveyed had already experienced violence in a relationship in their lives. Almost 40 percent cited psychological violence while almost 39 percent cited controlling behavior by their partner. Moreover, practically 30 percent reported physical violence against them.

Although it was mostly supposedly minor acts such as pushing one away, those affected suffered massively from the consequences of partner violence, with 66 percent of them feeling psychologically burdened by these experiences.

There needs to be greater social awareness of the fact that men can also be victims of violence in relationships, said Müller. However, the two sexes should not be played off against each other.

It is mainly women who suffer from violence in relationships, according to the latest situation report on domestic violence from Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office.

In the area of intimate partner violence, the number of victims rose by 9.1 percent to 157,818 in 2022 compared to the previous year. According to the police, 80.1 percent of the victims were female and 78.1 percent of the suspected perpetrators were male.

Related: New Femicide Shocks Greece: Woman Murdered by Her Ex

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