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Domestic Violence Against Men

by Sabrin

One of our readers pointed out an important point that men are often victims of violence at the hands of their partners as well.

The rates between men and women differ quite a bit:

  • Intimate partner violence is primarily a crime against women. In 2001, women accounted for 85 percent of the victims of intimate partner violence (588,490 total) and men accounted for approximately 15 percent of the victims (103,220 total). (www.endabuse.org)

However, this may be due to the fact that men are more unlikely to report such incidents:

  • Women are seven to 14 times more likely than men to report suffering severe physical assaults from an intimate partner. (www.endabuse.org)

Unfortunately, domestic violence occurs with both genders. Here is a good resources available for men to identify and learn how to deal with abuse: http://www.wadv.org/maleabuse.htm

How do you think such incidents are accounted for and dealt with in the South Asian community and how do you feel the statistics for such cases may differ?

3 Comments

BhavanaMar 22 2008 - -

I have 4 very different points. 1. I am in no way saying that men are not abused. But I think our world's understanding of what constitutes abuse against men is very weak and steeped in patriarchy. Many desi men I have spoken to have felt that not having full control of their wives, or women utilizing laws to prosecute abusive husbands is a form of male abuse. This is the understanding of many men, that denying men patriarchal rights constitutes abuse. There has to be a way to engage with men constructively around both challenging this perception and defining male abuse... 2. I feel a little weird about what the WADV listed as one of the signs of an abusive woman. That is, her "unrealistic expectations, assumptions and conclusions." I think one tactic of abuse is when abusers make victims feel as though they are being unrealistic and crazy in their relationships. I find this statement an oversimplification of what may actually be abuse in the opposite direction. 3. In thinking about abuse, I don't know if it's always so simple as abuser and victim. Retaliation can also take the form of violence - I'm not trying to validate or blame the victim for his/her actions. I am trying to say that the struggle for power and control is not one-sided, and maybe this merits more analysis. (Maybe there already is, I don't know...) 4. This is a small point, but there is a link on that WADV Male Abuse page to a site called "Abuse Excuse." This is the site of Dean Tong and while he has appeared on several news shows as a domestic violence "expert," he was also arrested on charges of dv. On his site, he advocates that most of the accusations of child abuse (and domestic violence) are false, and pulls in all kinds of reasons such as mental illness, parental alienation syndrome, and vindictiveness as reasons that (primarily) women accuse (primarily) men and thus deprive families of fathers. Though I think everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I suggest being really careful with such a "resource" - it seems more like a rationalization of why abuse is not a valid excuse for breaking up families.

Abused menMar 23 2008 - -

A point to be noted is that often men who are sexually abused don't see it as abuse, they see it as 'Oh man, that woman was all over me' and often take pleasure in it. So it's not really abuse, you would think, but if we're thinking in terms of 'what applies to women should also apply to men', this IS abuse. A woman in his position wouldn't be flattered by the male attention when it's sexual in nature, for her it is a sure-shot case of violation. So, when we're talking about abused men and women, the contexts and definitions are different. Some men would probably think it's kinky sex if a girl solicits sex by holding a knife to his throat. Women are less likely to think that way. Again, I'm not condoning violence against men at all. I just think we should understand and accept that definitions differ.

LQTNov 19 2008 - -

I think it's important to realize that abuse not only in heterosexual relationships but in same sex relationships as well. A vast majority of males who experience abuse experience it in same sex relationships. Just another perspective to keep in mind.

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