What is Intimate Partner Violence Against Men?

Felicia Dye

Intimate partner violence against men refers to situations where males are victimized in relationships. A man can be victimized in numerous ways by either a female or another male. Unfortunately, in most communities there are fewer resources for these individuals, and less action is taken against the perpetrators. Obtaining reliable statistics on the prevalence of intimate partner violence against men can also be problematic due to law enforcement tactics and limited reporting.

It has been found that in situations involving a male and a female, law enforcement officials tend to arrest the male regardless of the circumstances.
It has been found that in situations involving a male and a female, law enforcement officials tend to arrest the male regardless of the circumstances.

There is an unfortunate tendency in society for abuse in intimate relationships to be associated with a man harming a woman. This is a drastically false misrepresentation of reality. Women are commonly abusers of men. Men who are in homosexual relationships are also subjected to abuse by their same-sex partners. The term that is commonly used to describe these situations is intimate partner violence against men.

An estimated 15% of men in homosexual relationships have been victims of domestic violence.
An estimated 15% of men in homosexual relationships have been victims of domestic violence.

A man can be abused in the all of the ways that a woman can be abused. This includes adverse mental and emotional treatment, such as abandonment and ridicule. It includes minor and major violence such as slapping, biting, and stabbing. Men may also endure sexual abuse if they are forced to commit certain acts or are intentionally hurt by their partners while engaging in intimate activities. If and when cases involving intimate partner violence against men are brought to court, justice is commonly less effective than it is when the victims are women.

There are also usually fewer resources dedicated to intimate partner violence against men. There are a number of reasons why this is the case. Society's attitude toward men as victims is one major problem. Men are less likely to report incidents because of the reaction that they will get. In some instances, reports of abuse by men are underrated and dismissed. Another major problem is that domestic violence laws in many jurisdictions require the primary aggressor to be arrested. It has been found that in situations involving a male and female, law enforcers tend to arrest the male regardless of the circumstances.

Determining the prevalence of intimate partner violence in homosexual relationships is plagued by more obstacles. For example, much of the domestic violence legislation specifically outlines whom the laws pertain to. In some instances, the wording specifies that the partners must be of the opposite sex. As a result homosexual victims must address violence under general crimes, such as assault and battery or harassment. Furthermore, in conservative or traditional communities, homosexuality may be ostracized, which can prevent individuals from reporting incidents.

Most reported domestic violence incidents involve female victims, making statistics on male victims extremely difficult to obtain, as they are less likely to come forward.
Most reported domestic violence incidents involve female victims, making statistics on male victims extremely difficult to obtain, as they are less likely to come forward.

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Discussion Comments

Jan Brown

Thanks for writing this insightful article on male victims. Public awareness is key to social change. Jan B.

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