In the wake of the sensational celebrity defamation trial of Amber Heard and Johnny Depp, we are discussing male victims of domestic abuse. In the first part of this two-part article, we explained that, while there are fewer male survivors of domestic abuse in the United States, it’s still a serious problem. According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NIPSVS), undertaken by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of 2016, one in nine men (about 11 percent) in the United States “were victims of contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner.” These incidents were classified by their negative impacts, which includes “injury, fear, concern for safety, [or] needing services.”
Men and domestic abuseThis article is not specifically intended to advise men who have suffered domestic abuse, but it’s very important to know that the National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH) is available to anyone in the United States who is experiencing domestic abuse. The NDVH is cost-free, available 24/7, and is confidential.
If you or someone you know needs to escape domestic abuse, contact the NDVH by the following means:
Text: Text START to 88788
Online chat: thehotline.org
Why don’t we hear more about male victims of domestic abuse?One reason the issue of male victims of domestic abuse is not more widely known is that it may be under-reported by the survivors themselves. A review of cases and reports of domestic abuse among men, conducted by the medical journal BMJ Open, found that male victims of domestic abuse face barriers when deciding whether to report their situations or seek assistance. These barriers are:
Why do men remain in abusive relationships?According to an article published by HelpGuide, an independent nonprofit that provides free mental health education and support, men remain in abusive relationships for many of the reasons cited by female victims. These may include:
What resources are available to men who have experienced domestic abuse?Women’s shelters are organizations and facilities that harbor women who are attempting to escape abuse and abusive relationships. Many of these facilities offer shelter and protection not only to abused women but to their children, as well. In 2009, it was reported that in the United States there were around 2,000 women’s shelters. Shelters for male survivors of domestic abuse are much, much rarer. In 2017, news reporting by the New York Post and National Public Radio indicated that there may have been as few as two male-only domestic abuse shelters in the United States at that time. While few existing domestic abuse shelters offer their services to men, the situation is improving. The NDVH (see above) is probably the best source of assistance for male survivors of domestic abuse. It offers its services to all individuals, and can assist men in seeking advice, shelter, and legal aid.
Men respond to domestic violence in the same way women and other people do. According to the Mayo Clinic, domestic violence can lead to depression and a greater risk of other health problems, such as drug and alcohol abuse. That’s why it’s strongly recommended that male survivors of domestic abuse seek help, despite the obstacles they face. Friends, family, medical-care providers, mental health-care providers and the police are also resources men can turn to.