Oftentimes when we speak of domestic violence, we speak of it against women; but the flip side is men are victims of domestic violence as well. That’s right, women can be abusive towards men and other women! If we are going to address domestic violence, which is my intent for the month of October, we have to look at the issue as a whole.
Matter of fact, I try to catch myself from limiting domestic violence survivors only to women when I speak on the radio platform, or when I blog, or when I am in any conversation with Matters of My Heart, LLC. Many times out of habit, I refer to the victims as “she” or “her”, but then try to change it to say “them” or “their” to be inclusive of both men and women. I am guilty of falling prey to tradition. Do you know why? Because people don’t think that men can be abused. And what I love about my job is that I am a true heart researcher!! So I got the numbers for you, but first let me explain the definition of an intimate partner.
An intimate partner by most laws is defined as a current or ex-girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or wife. It does not include dating violence, unfortunately (refer to my previous post about gaps in the current domestic violence law – Day 4). At any rate, keep this in mind when you read the following stats on male survivors of domestic violence, or intimate partner violence as it is so commonly called:
- 1 in 7 men ages 18+ experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner
- 48.8 percent of all men dealt with some sort of psychological aggression by an intimate partner
- 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner where they were scared for their safety or the safety of loved ones
- Men are the victims in about 6 percent of cases of murder-suicide where offender is an intimate partner
- 10.4 percent or approximately 11.7 million men in the U.S. have reported having an intimate partner get or attempt to get pregnant against their agreement to it
- 2 in 5 gay and bisexual men will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime
- 8 percent of males who’ve reported domestic violence have been shot at, stabbed or hit with a weapon
- 5 percent of male homicide victims annually are killed by an intimate partner
These numbers are so alarming to me!!!! I’ve heard so many men in my circle say to me that women are manipulators, they are ratchet, they are sneaky and conniving, they can’t be trusted. But let’s get down to it, psychological and emotional abuse are still considered domestic violence and should be treated as such! Women do play the victim role sometimes (falsely) just to perpetuate the stereotype that only men can be abusers. But this very game is a form of domestic abuse, especially the game of getting pregnant to keep the man.
Domestic violence against men is real and takes just as many forms as domestic violence against women—physical, sexual, reproductive, financial, emotional and psychological. (citation)
Here’s the thing: If we are serious about addressing domestic violence, then we must deal with all of the incarnations of the realities of domestic violence (citation). We can’t just limit to one gender and blame men for the perpetrators, aggressors and instigators of domestic abuse. We must look at domestic violence from all perspectives. That is the ONLY way to combat this cyclical, systemic problem in our society. Women can’t be let off the hook, or given lower sentences if prosecuted in court, or given a pass saying they were using self-defense. “I hit him because he hit me first.” — NO!!! Violence is violence. Period. We can’t not talk about it. We can’t not shine a light on it.
I often hear and read in a lot of literature, that we need to teach our young boys how to respect women. In actuality, we need to teach our children (boys and girls) to be respectful of each other. Yes, we know that domestic violence is cyclical and can be groomed as children, meaning if our children grow up in an abusive home they are more likely to perpetuate that same behavior in their homes when they are adults. So it starts at home, right?
Social media makes it worse. Society as a whole shows women aggressors as a funny thing. Look at the thousands of ratchet videos of teen girl bullies fighting and being video taped laughing at this systemic problem of domestic violence. Before I changed my settings and defriended some folks, my Facebook timeline was flooded with World Star Hip Hop videos of girl fights! When a woman abuses another woman (or girl on girl), it’s funny. It’s entertaining. But when a man does it, he should be stoned. He’s a monster. He’s ostracized, put down and not as forgivable unless he’s rich and famous. Mixed messages. But, again I say, violence is violence. It should not be taken lightly. It’s a systemic issue often overlooked by society. Here’s an awesome video addressing relational violence (from a male perspective):
Why am I so passionate about this? Because I am a survivor but I was also an abuser. I have not hidden the fact that I once used my body and my wits to psychologically abuse my intimate partners. I shared why I behaved that way, which was no excuse either. I also shared how I was able to break the cycle.
Consequently, all of my writings this month for Domestic Violence Awareness month is to shine a light on what is done in the dark, and how we as a society can change the cycle to produce healthy relationships.
I absolutely LOVE this article on women as the abuser, a different perspective: Woman As Aggressor: The Unspoken Truth Of Domestic Violence
What are ways you can see how women can be the aggressors? Are we being fair when men are abused as opposed to when women are being abused? Why do you think men do not report abuse? Let’s talk about it. #Askmeanything
Love you to life,
Founder of Matters of My Heart, LLC
“My past does not define me, it refines me.”