National Men’s Health Week: Domestic Violence Against Men

Each year, the week leading up to Fathers Day is celebrated as National Men’s Health Week. This week, several activities are organized to raise awareness of preventable health problems related to men and to encourage early detection and treatment among men and boys.

When we consider health issues among males, most people tend to think of common problems such as heart attacks, prostate cancer, hypertension, liver disease, and other problems often associated with men’s health. A health issue that often goes unnoticed, however, is the occurrence of domestic violence against men.

Statistics do show that partner abuse is much more commonly committed against women than men. In fact, women make up 85 to 95 percent of domestic violence victims. However, men are affected by domestic violence as well.

Very little is known about the real number of men who are being abused by an intimate partner, and the apparent frequency of domestic violence against men is so low that it is hard to get a reliable estimate. The low frequency may be a result of the reluctance among male victims to report an abusive relationship due to fear of embarrassment and not being believed. A male victim may fear he will be perceived as a wimp for reporting abuse, and/or feel as if he has failed to conform to the macho stereotype. Signs of abuse on men are commonly ignored as relating to partner abuse. Instead they are frequently thought of as results from contact sports, injuries at work, or fights with other men, etc.

While the reasons, purposes, and motivations for abuse can differ between the sexes, the use of physical abuse, such as kicking, hitting, slapping, pushing, throwing objects, etc, tend to be similar between male and female abusers.

Although physical harm is likely to be much greater when a man abuses a woman than vice versa, this is not the same for emotional harm. For some men, being called a coward, impotent, or a failure can have a very devastating psychological impact on them.

People usually do not assume men can be victims of domestic violence and, therefore, nothing has been done to encourage male victims to report crimes of relationship abuse. Although it is crucial to end the pervasive issue of violence against women, it is also important to recognize the hidden abuse affecting men as well.

Hubbard House offers shelter for both women and men who need help. If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship please call the Hubbard House domestic violence hotline at 904-354-3114 or 1-800-500-1119.

ABOUT HUBBARD HOUSE

Hubbard House is a nationally recognized leader in domestic violence intervention. Founded in 1976, Hubbard House is a certified, comprehensive domestic violence center providing programs and services to more than 5,000 women, children and men annually in Duval and Baker counties. While Hubbard House is most known for its emergency shelter, the agency also provides extensive adult and youth outreach services, school-based education, therapeutic child care, batterers’ intervention programs, court advocacy and volunteer and community education opportunities. Visit www.hubbardhouse.org to learn more.

By Vicky Krook

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