Domestic abuse and violence are abhorrent crimes that happen much more often than the average person is likely aware of. According to the United States Department of Justice, it is defined as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. There are several different types of abuse, including physical, sexual, emotional, economic, psychological, or technological, and any behaviors meant to intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound.
Domestic abuse is reprehensible, no matter who it happens to. But unfortunately, it is also often portrayed as a gendered crime. Each year, more than 10 million adults in the United States experience domestic violence, and 1 out of every 10 of those victims are men. So why do they often get overlooked?
Sadly, social stigma can be identified as the root cause for many of these reasons. For one, women are always painted as the victims of domestic abuse, while men are always painted as the perpetrators. In addition, gender stereotypes have given men the impression that they are not allowed to express vulnerability, so their abuse is not met with seriousness, but with humor – or it may even be treated as a joke.
In this blog, we’ll be looking more closely at what domestic abuse for a male victim may look like, as well as some of the red flags and how to recognize them, and getting to the bottom of why many men are afraid to speak out and leave abusive relationships.
What Does Domestic Abuse Look Like?
Physical abuse includes hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, pulling hair, refusing to seek medical care for a partner, and forcing alcohol and/or drug use upon them.
Sexual abuse involves one partner coercing or attempting to coerce sexual contact or behavior without consent on the other, including (but not limited to) marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred, or treating one in a sexually demeaning manner.
Emotional abuse usually involves one partner who undermines the other’s sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem, and includes (but is not limited to) criticism, diminishing one’s abilities, name-calling, or damaging their relationship with their children.
Economic abuse involves one partner controlling or restraining a person’s ability to acquire, use, or maintain economic resources to which they are entitled to, including fraud, coercion, or manipulation that affects their access to money, assets, credit, or financial records.
Psychological abuse may be any form of intimidation, threats of harm to themself/partner/children/family/friends, destruction of property, or forced isolation against a partner.
Technological abuse is the use of technology with the intent to harm, threaten, control, stalk, harass, impersonate, exploit, extort, or monitor a partner.
What Are The Red Flags Of Domestic Abuse?
Some red flags of domestic abuse may be more obvious, such as those that reflect physical or sexual abuse. Other types of red flags may not be as apparent. If your partner does things like:
- Prevent you from going anywhere without them
- Frequently employ gaslighting tactics on you or force you to question your own reality (such as saying things like “you’re imagining things” or “you sound crazy”)
- Frequently employing “love bombing” tactics to smooth over and excuse abusive behavior (such as saying things like “I only get angry because I love you so much”)
- Frequently displays an irrational amount of jealousy
- Uses degrading language toward and about you
- Has frequent mood changes our outbursts of emotional behavior
- Tries to push you to be in a farther place in the relationship before you’re ready
- Humiliates you in public or private
- Controls aspects of your life, such as what you wear, what you eat, who you’re allowed to see, where you’re allowed to go, etc.
If A Man Is Being Abused, Why Doesn’t He Just Leave The Relationship?
Many victims of domestic abuse – regardless of gender – have difficulty leaving their relationship for a variety of reasons. Some reasons why men, specifically, struggle include:
- The victim has been isolated from friends and family, threatened, manipulated, controlled or physically and emotionally debased
- The victim feels ashamed that they are/were unable to stand up for themselves or are less of a man, husband, or father
- The victim holds religious beliefs that command them to stay in the relationship
- The victim’s self-esteem has been reduced so badly that they believe the relationship is all they deserve
- The victim worries that there are no resources available to help them, or they won’t be taken seriously
- The victim has not come out and is afraid of being outed to friends and family
- The victim is in denial and won’t admit there is a problem in the relationship
- The victim wants to protect their children
- And more.
What Kinds Of Resources Are Available For Male Victims Of Domestic Abuse?
As already discussed, one of the main reasons men are afraid to leave an abusive relationship is that they feel there are no resources available to help them, or they may not be taken seriously. This is false. You can get help today. There are many organizations that are standing by, ready to get you the help and support you need. You will be listened to. You will be believed. Below are a few of the available hotlines that victims can call:
- National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1 (800) 799-7233
- National Dating Abuse Helpline – 1-866-331-9474
- National Resource Center on Domestic Violence – 1-800-537-2238
- SAFE Family Justice Center – (951) 304-5680
- RAINN National Network – 1 (800) 656-4673
- Florida Department of Children and Families DV Hotline – 1-800-500-1119
Another way in which you can seek help is through a knowledgeable domestic violence attorney. These individuals can be a tremendous asset to victims because they have experience in the field and understand the realities of domestic violence situations. They will be able to step in, get you the immediate legal protection you need, and connect you with more resources like the ones above. In addition, you can get assistance with filing lawsuits, obtaining restraining orders, filing for divorce, securing custody of your children, getting representation in court, and more.
We Are Here For You. We Believe You. Call The Men’s Divorce Law Firm Today.
We know how sensitive cases like these can be, and you can trust that we will handle yours with the utmost consideration and attention. Call to schedule a discussion with our team and let us step in to support you.