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Violence Against Men

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. was in private practice for more than thirty years. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the states ...Read More

When we speak of abuse the automatic assumption is that it is child abuse or the abuse of women. However, there is a hidden crime and it has to do with the abuse of men. Estimates vary as to the percentages of men who experience domestic violence. Part of the difficulty is that many men do not report the incidents because they feel ashamed to admit to being physically attacked by their wives. The fear is that they will be judged to be weak, feminine and passive. The fact is that women are just as capable of violence as men. In any case, it is thought that one in three victims of domestic violence are man. Because of their reluctance to report this crime, some experts estimate that the incidence is as high as 50% of all cases of domestic violence.

When a case of a battered man is reported their tends to be a stigma against that man. For example, there is a tendency for law enforcement officials to ask such men what they did to deserve being abused by their wives. In one case, a man who called a rape crisis center was told that only women are abused.

Here are some examples of domestic violence against men:

* Kicks, punches, slaps, or bites you (often, but not always, women target a man’s groin)
 * Threatens you with weapons like knives, guns, baseball bats, irons
 * Purposely scalds or burns you
 * Throws objects at you
 * Commits violence against your children or pets
 * Violates court visitation orders by willfully stopping you from seeing your children
 * Verbally humiliates you in public or private
 * Constantly ridicules and makes fun of you
 * Calls you names and berates your self-worth
 * Blames your for her own failures
 * Destroys your personal items
 * Turns your children against you (parental alienation)
 * Threatens to ruin you financially if you leave her
 * Isolates you from family members or family functions, if your family is nearby
 * Destroying fixtures in the home (i.e. cabinetry, walls, appliances)

Of course, the worst case scenario of abuse is when guns or knives are used resulting in death. This what happened to the well known actor/comedian Phil Hartman of Saturday Night Live fame during the late 1990s. His wife, addicted to drugs, shot and killed him while he slept and then took her life. In addition, it is estimated that 72% of domestic violence cases against men involve using a knife.

Just like for women, no amount of violence is acceptable in a relationship and the battered man is never at fault. Battered husband support is available. If you’re a battered man, get help from The Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women (DAHMW): 1-888-7HELPLINE. They are available 24 hours per day and are supportive of male and female victims of abuse. They can also be found at: http://dahmw.org/

Whether male or female, it is important to understand that being abused is not a symptom of weakness. It also has noting to do with blame. No one chooses to be abused.

Your comments are welcome and encouraged.

Allan N. Schwartz, Ph.D.

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