We spend a lot of time focusing on female victims of domestic violence. Too often, we ignore the fact that women can also be the perpetrators. Domestic violence can happen to anyone, anywhere. No matter who the abuser is, one thing remains the same: domestic abuse is NEVER okay.
Female Against Male Domestic Abuse
With so much focus placed on female victims, we often ignore the fact that men experience domestic abuse, too. The National Domestic Violence Hotline reports that 1 in 7 men has been the victim of severe physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner. While some of those cases occur in same-sex relationships, many others occur in heterosexual relationships.
As we’ve explored in past posts, not all abuse is physical. It’s much more common for female perpetrators to abuse their male partners in non-physical ways, including:
- Mental and emotional abuse
- Financial abuse
- Verbal abuse
- Sexual abuse
Any attempt of one partner to control another’s behavior or limit their freedoms can be considered abuse. Male victims of female-perpetrated violence often experience emotional and mental abuse rather than physical violence. Of course, there are instances of physical violence by women against male partners, but it’s far less common. Female abusers more often use psychological, emotional, and verbal tactics to control their male partners – and too often, we ignore the abusive nature of this behavior.
Same-Sex Couples and Domestic Violence
Unfortunately, domestic violence awareness and research have largely excluded the LGBT community. Same-sex couples experience domestic abuse at the same rates – or even higher rates – than heterosexual romantic partners.
While female-to-male violence is uncommon, nearly 44% of lesbians report experiencing physical or sexual violence or stalking by a romantic partner. However, LGBT victims are less likely to report the abuse due to complicated social stigmas and anti-LGBT laws.
Help for Male Victims
Like LGBT abuse victims, male survivors are less likely to report domestic abuse than their female counterparts. As a society, we focus on female victims and male perpetrators, causing male victims to believe they can’t truly experience abuse. Gender roles have taught men that reporting abuse will make them appear “weak” or less masculine. Many men are embarrassed about the abuse and will therefore avoid admitting it to anyone.
Moreover, survivors wrongly assume there aren’t services available for male victims. While it is true that many domestic violence programs are geared towards female domestic abuse survivors, there is help for male survivors. Men can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline to learn more about programs in their area.
Domestic abuse by any partner is never okay. Let’s normalize the conversation about healthy relationships and end the stigma surrounding domestic abuse. Everyone deserves to be safe and respected in a relationship, regardless of their gender, sexuality, or circumstance.