Domestic violence against men by women is not well recognized but is another of the several types of domestic violence commonly found in our society.
Although most domestic abuse cases that are reported are of abuse against women, men in this country are also abuse victims. Typically, people only think of abusers as men.
Surprising, some statistics reveal that for every 100 domestic abuse cases, 40 of them are cases of abuse of men by women. It means that 300,000 to 400,000 men are victims of some form of domestic abuse every year. The numbers could be even higher, but many men are hesitant to report incidents of violence by their spouse.
When a man is the person being abused, he's not as likely to speak up because of the stigma attached. He may feel that no one will believe him or that he's exaggerating the situation. Very often, men have no one to turn to, or if they did, they'd find it difficult to express that they're being controlled by a woman.
Abuse of men has risen sharply in the last few years, but no one knows exactly how many cases there are, since many men don't report incidents.
The types of abuse of men by women can be similar to what abused women experience. Men may be pushed, slapped or hit, have objects thrown at them, or may be threatened with a weapon. The domestic abuse isn't always necessarily physical. Many women use abusive or hurtful language.
Accusing a man of being a failure or a coward has a different psychological effect than it would on a woman. Many men can be more seriously affected by emotional abuse than they are physical violence. While men usually resort to physical violence, women who emotionally humiliate their spouse, especially in public, can inflict serious emotional damage.
It's very difficult to recognize a man who's a victim of domestic abuse. First, although there are statistics to support estimated numbers of men being abused, there are no accurate numbers. It's also difficult to get reasonable statistics, since most men never report the incidences.
Social service agencies and advocates have done little to encourage men to report incidents of domestic abuse. Another difficulty is that there are numerous resources for women who are victims of abuse, but the community at large has done nothing to address the problem of men who are victims.
Since the actual harm done to men in most cases of domestic abuse is emotional rather than physical, the impact on the community isn't as great. The stigma attached prevents many men from reporting abuse by their spouses. If someone has suffered a noticeable injury, most people assume it was caused by another man, or by playing sports. A lot of people wouldn't believe a woman could inflict an injury on a man that's so serious.
Like men, some women are more prone to violence than men are. Women who are abusers usually fall into one of three categories.
Alcoholism: One of the worst problems is that many women who abuse their spouses are alcoholics. Alcohol is responsible for triggering violence in many cases, and women in particular who have a history of alcohol abuse, become easily angered and frustrated, and are more likely to hurt someone else, usually the person closest to them.
Psychological Problems: Psychological disorders account for many cases of domestic abuse against men. Women with personality disorders are often violent and abusive. One of the conditions that may be responsible is borderline personality disorder, which occurs more often in women than in men. This disorder also causes women to lie, become suicidal, have mood swings, or be prone to alcohol abuse.
Unrealistic Expectations: The third category is the woman who has unrealistic expectations of the relationship she's in. She blames her emotional state which may have been caused by past trauma or alcohol, on her husband or partner. They feel there's something wrong with their partner and not them. When the man doesn't meet her expectations, she turns on him.
What often triggers an incident of domestic violence by a woman against her spouse is she's upset about something and he attempts to work through the situation. When her temper gets worse, he gets defensive and doesn't want to discuss anything. The abusive woman may feel he doesn't care or understand her. He may feel he can't discuss anything without fear of her losing his temper.
Situations like this can go on for months, but sooner or later, something will happen and domestic violence against men can be the result. It's especially damaging if these arguments take place in front of the children, and they must listen to abusive comments about their father. He may reach his limit and slam his fist down on something. She may then egg him on by asking if he's going to hit her next.
No one should be the victim of abuse, whether physical or emotional, and it will take a serious toll on everyone involved.
A man may stay in an abusive relationship because he somehow feels it's his fault. He may be blaming himself for events in the past that he had no control over but is assuming responsibility for. It may be a case of co-dependency. The man may feel dependent on his wife either emotionally or financially.
Some abused men stay in relationships that are harmful because there are children in the home. He's afraid his wife will tell the children he's a bad person, or he might be afraid of her getting sole custody and not being able to see them again.
Since men sometimes do not have the domestic violence help resources available that women have access to, they can always call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE or the National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800 4-A-CHILD.
In addition to these resources, a man should also contact an attorney that specializes in family law to find out exactly what his options are for domestic violence against men.