Yes, men can be victims of domestic violence
When you hear domestic violence, the first thing that comes to mind is most likely a man physically abusing a woman. Domestic violence is often portrayed this way in TV shows and movies; however, anyone can be a victim of domestic violence – including men. Sadly, many male victims do not seek help due to the fear of not being believed, embarrassment and shame.
In what ways can men be victims of domestic violence?
Men can be victims of domestic violence in the same ways anyone else can be a victim of domestic violence. Abuse can be physical, sexual, or emotional and at the hands of a man or women. Michigan law states that a person is considered to be an abuser if the victim is: a spouse, former spouse, someone he or she is dating or has dated, someone he or she shares a child with, or someone who resides or used to reside in the same household as the abuser.
Indicators of domestic violence include:
- Extreme jealousy
- Animal cruelty
- Verbal abuse
- Extremely controlling behavior such as withholding money, car keys, preventing a victim from attending school/work, etc.
- Control over how the victim dresses or how they act
- Forced sexual intercourse or disregard of partner’s unwillingness to have sexual intercourse
How many domestic violence victims are men?
The Center for Disease Control’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) studies intimate partner violence (IPV), also known as domestic violence. Their 2015 survey studied four types of IPV – sexual violence, stalking, physical violence, and psychological aggression. They described an intimate partner as “a romantic or sexual partner and included spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, people with whom they dated, were seeing, or ‘hooked up’.”
What they found was that 1 in 10 (12.1 million) men in the U.S. experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and or stalking by an intimate partner and reported some form of IPV-related impact during their lifetime. An IPV impact is defined as experiencing the following:
- being fearful,
- concerned for safety,
- need for medical care,
- needed help from law enforcement,
- missed at least one day of work/school,
- any post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms,
- need for housing services,
- need for victim advocate services,
- need for legal services, and
- contacting a crisis hotline.
Additionally, they found that approximately 1 in 3 (37.3 million) men experienced that same abuse during their lifetime without reporting some form of IPV-related impact. Essentially, 33.6% of men surveyed did not seek out domestic violence services. While 25.1% of women reported some form of IPV-related impact, only 10.9% of men reported the same. This could be attributed to the stigma surrounding men and not being able to “fight off” their abusers and the belief that domestic violence laws and resources don’t apply to them.
Additionally, 43.1% of men experienced their first IPV during the ages of 25+, with 41.2% experiencing the same at the ages of 18-24 and 14.6% under the age of 17.
How a domestic violence attorney can help you
A domestic violence conviction can lead to other legal problems. For instance, a conviction of domestic assault may lead to issues with immigration and/or child custody. An arrest for assaultive behavior may also result in professional licensing issues. This is especially true for individuals who are employed in the medical field or work with children.
Hiring an experienced attorney who understands Michigan’s domestic violence laws is imperative for the future of your career and family.
Sarah Tarockoff is the Paralegal at The Law Offices of Barton Morris. She earned a Paralegal Certificate from Oakland Community College in 2015 and graduated from Oakland University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a concentration in criminal justice. She completed internships at the 52-3 District Court where she aided probation officers in the Probation Department and at Bernstein & Bernstein, where she worked closely with attorneys and paralegals on various litigation-related matters.