Advice for Male Victims of Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Against Men

The National Domestic Violence Hotline reports that nearly one-third of women and one-tenth of men have experienced stalking and domestic or sexual violence at the hands of an intimate partner. These people also reported that these events impacted their lives in some notable way.

violencemen.pngHowever, it’s difficult to know how accurate these statistics are because some victims won’t report it for any number of reasons. Many experts claim that violence against men is as common, or nearly as common, as violence against women.

Are You in an Abusive Relationship?

According to Coramae Richey Mann and R.I. McNeeley’s research, women are significantly more prone than men to employ firearms and the element of surprise. Guns, knives, boiling water, bricks, fireplace pokers, and baseball bats are common examples of these weapons.

Intimate partner violence committed by either men or women cannot be justified as self-defense. According to Straus, around 10% of women and 15% of men continue to abuse their partners in self-defense. According to Dr. David Fontes, the head of Stop Abuse for Everyone (SAFE), only a small minority of female abusers are acting in self-defense.

Male Intimate Partner Violence Victims

Studies on domestic violence claims that both women and and perpetrate domestic assault and that, by using weapons and the element of surprise, women abuse their male partners as frequently as the other way around. Approximately one quarter of violent heterosexual relationships fit the feminist “male/aggressor, female/victim” model, which is around the same number as the “female/aggressor, male/victim” model.

Domestic violence rates between men and women are comparable from minor violence to major violence, including murder, and almost half of all other violent heterosexual partnerships are mutually abusive. Extensive research has pointed to the mutual nature of marital violence. Veteran domestic violence researchers Richard Gelles, Murray Straus, and Susan Steinmetz, for example, who were previously lauded by the women’s movement for their groundbreaking work on violence against women, were originally astonished to discover equal proportions of male and female abuse. Their research have regularly proven it since then.

Regardless of how common it is, most people agree that it is happening to some men. Reporting domestic violence is difficult for anybody, perhaps especially for men. We’ll give you a few tips in the paragraphs below.

Don’t Hit Back

The sad truth is that people have been conditioned to believe that men are almost always the violent ones in abusive relationships. There may be a lot of male perpetrators, but there are also a lot of male victims.

According to one survey of college students, 20% of guys who had been assaulted by their girlfriends found it amusing. Even though physical violence may appear to be harmless at first, it can quickly escalate. If she hits you, tell her that if she hits you again, it will be the last time she sees you, and act on it.

It goes a lot deeper than statistics, though. There is, for some reason, a false belief that showing men as victims undermines the credibility of victimized women, so you never see it portrayed in the media.

This problem already exists for men, though, and it has done considerable damage to their credibility. Worse yet, abusers will often try to claim they were the victim. This is a common tactic among many abusers, regardless of gender.

In any case, hitting back may hurt your credibility, especially in the case of female-on-male violence, since the assumption is already that you’re to blame. For this reason, it’s best to avoid physical defense unless you have to.

Documenting Domestic Violence for Your Case

One of the biggest issues both men and women face in reporting domestic violence is a lack of evidence. If you can’t prove what happened and when everything turns into hearsay.

The good news is that you have a lot of options when it comes to gathering evidence. Even if you can’t hide it, there are records that can’t be accessed or altered.

If you’re experiencing domestic violence at the hands of your partner, you need to start recording the facts. Documenting domestic violence could be a huge help should you choose to press charges. But, how do you keep records that hold up in a court of law?

1. Take Pictures

If there’s physical evidence of abuse such as scratches, bruises, or marks, then it’s important to take pictures of these things.

We realize, however, that storing pictures on your phone may not be safe. We suggest either taking pictures of injuries on a disposable camera and finding someplace safe to store them, or, taking the pictures on your phone, sending them to a friend or someone you can trust, and then deleting them.

2. Write It Down

The more details you can provide about the abuse, the more likely you are to win your case. Additionally, creating a paper trail of evidence and a history of abuse can also help you win.

After an abusive episode, we suggest writing down everything that happened, either in a journal or digital document. Be sure to include the following information:

  • The time, location, and date of the incident
  • Details about any injuries sustained
  • If anything was broken
  • Information about witnesses (if there were any)
  • Any threats mad
  • Who you told about the incident
  • If any weapons were used

Write down everything you can remember about the incident, even the seemingly insignificant details. It’s these details that may help you prove your case later on.

3. Document Digital Evidence

Oftentimes, domestic abuse victims are able to build their cases around digital evidence. This includes text messages, emails, social media interactions, voicemails, and more.

If your partner in any way admits to abuse or brings it up via these channels, then it’s important that you find a way to document it (via screenshot or something else) and store it somewhere safe.

We also suggest printing out digital evidence and having someone you trust hang onto it.

4. Seek Medical Attention

If you’ve sustained an injury due to partner violence, then it’s very important that you seek medical attention.

Not only is this important for your physical well-being, but it’s also important for building your case and getting out of your abusive situation. Medical documentation of your injuries can go a long way in court, so be diligent about collecting medical reports.

Plus, doctors and other healthcare professionals can provide you with the resources you need to escape your situation.

5. Store Evidence Safely

We’ve touched on this a bit already, but it’s very important that you store the evidence you’ve collected safely. This is especially the case if you have the feeling that your partner is monitoring your phone or other belongings. Saving voicemails and texts on your phone can be dangerous, but it’s important to keep the information somewhere.

Use online journals that are password protected to write everything down. Create a specific email for sending texts, photos, and other documents that your abuser doesn’t know about. Also, make sure to memorize passwords instead of writing them down.

Consult a Domestic Violence Service

There are multiple ways in which a domestic violence shelter or the National Domestic Violence Hotline 800-799-7233 can help. For starters, it will serve as yet another piece of evidence that you were abused.

The biggest advantage, though, is that these services deal with abuse every day. They will likely know how to help you and may give you advice on how to move forward.

Reporting Domestic Violence – Challenges Men Face

Reporting domestic violence is tough for many people, but it can be especially difficult for men. Fortunately, it’s not impossible.

We’ve offered some advice in this article, but there are a few more things you can do. You may want to do more research to make sure you’re fully prepared.

If you want more legal advice, you can find it on our site. We can tell you what not to do when hiring a domestic violence lawyer.

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