In response to domestic violence and the victimization of women, I would like to discuss how domestic violence affects men. The rates for domestic violence of men are grossly under-reported. Why? Because who do they talk to? Sometimes the police aren’t empathic, their friends might tell them they are a coward or worse laugh at their injuries, work isn’t concerned that they have been assaulted and can’t perform on the job, there are no shelters for men, usually no anger management courses for women and little counseling/prevention services directed at the verbal and physical abuse of men.
So why do men stay in abusive relationships? For many of the same reasons that women stay. Economic dependence, low self-worth, they believe that the problems are their fault so they can somehow fix them or worse, that they deserve the treatment they receive. And if a man tries to protect himself and causes injury to the women, he can be in serious trouble, regardless if it is self-defense. Some men are afraid to leave their children alone with an unstable partner and might also be afraid that they won’t be allowed to see their children or that she’ll turn the children against him.
So why should men report being assaulted? Because domestic violence is not a gender specific problem and no one deserves to be battered. And until we offer the same support and empathy that women receive, it will continue to a biased, under-reported and only partially addressed social issue.