According to a 2010 national survey by the Centers for Disease Control and U.S. Department of Justice, in the last 12 months more men than women were victims of intimate partner physical violence and over 40% of severe physical violence was directed at men. Men were also more often the victim of psychological aggression and control over sexual or reproductive health. Despite this, few services are available to male victims of intimate partner violence. Click here to read article.
Male IPV victims too often ridiculed, accused of being the batterer or referred to batter programs. DV agencies less helpful than friends, mental health and medical personnel.
This is the first large-scale, nationally-based, quantitative study to systematically detail the help seeking experiences of men who have sustained IPV from their female partners. Results indicate that men who seek help for IPV victimization have the most positive experiences in seeking help from family/friends, and mental health and medical providers. They have the least positive experiences with members of the DV service system. Cumulative positive help seeking experiences were associated with lower levels of abusing alcohol; cumulative negative experiences were associated with higher rates of exceeding a clinical cut-off for post-traumatic stress disorder. Results are discussed in terms of implications for the social service sector and for future research. Click here to read article. More on the help men do or do not receive here
Hundreds of studies show similar rates of female-male and male-female intimate partner violence.
Across 249 studies (213 from the U.S.) between 2000 and 2010, approximately 1 in 4 women (23.1%) and 1 in 5 men (19.3%) experienced physical violence in an intimate relationship, with an overall pooled prevalence estimate of 22.4%. Analyses revealed considerable variability in rates as a function of methodological issues.
Across 111 studies of perpetrators, the overall pooled prevalence estimate was 24.8%. Consistent with prior reviews, pooled prevalence was slightly greater for female- compared to male-perpetrated physical IPV: more than 1 in 4 women (28.3%) and 1 in 5 men (21.6%) reported perpetrating physical violence in an intimate relationship. This pattern of results remained when we calculated pooled prevalence estimates by sample and study characteristics, with few exceptions. Findings underscore the need for interventions that acknowledge the use of violence by women in intimate relationships.
Fiebert’s updated (2012) annotated bibliography examines 292 scholarly investigations; 224 empirical studies and 68 reviews and/or analyses, which demonstrate that women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners. The aggregate sample size in the reviewed studies exceeds 373,800.
Draft recommendation on IPV screening ignores men, ignores studies that IPV screening for males has as much predictive value as screening for men.
The United States Preventative Services Task Force recently released a draft recommendation that clinicians screen women for intimate partner violence (IPV), such as domestic violence. The recommendation report is blind to male victims of IPV , even though the 2010 CDC national survey demonstrated that more men than women are victims of IP physical violence. It ignores studies demonstrating the positive predictive value of IPV screening of men. Its evidence review found only three studies rated higher than “fair.” One was for screening for childhood sexual abuse. The authors of the other two later concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support IPV screening. The evidence review and draft report ignored studies and a significant meta-analysis that conflicted with its recommendation. Ignoring IPV against men harms women, since female-initiated IPV is one of the most important predictors of subsequent female injury. Click here to read article. More on IPV screening here
When offender treatment is the focus, the results suggest that effectiveness could be enhanced by changing treatment programs to address assaults by both partners when applicable. Straus, M.A. (2011) Gender symmetry and mutuality in perpetration of clinical-level partner violence: Empirical evidence and implications for prevention and treatment Aggression and Violent Behavior 16 (2011) 279–288
More on perpetrator treatment programs here. For more research on men and intimate partner violence, check out the MenWeb Online Journal at http://menwebjournal.com/Journal.htm
Primarily for abused men
- MESA Canada provides information for fathering issues affecting battered men.
- Menweb contains several articles about domestic violence against men, including an article from the founder of the first modern women's shelter in the world, and several others.
- The cop and the survivor, a site that deals with the relationship between the police and domestic violence victims.
- Ontario's infamous Bill 117 essentially gives abusers another tool for abuse: they can claim to be victims, and within a couple of days, seize all the assets of their victims. The burden of proof is on the person accused instead of the abuser.
Primarily for same-sex domestic violence victims
Primarily for abused women
- Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence - Their mission is to increase access to justice for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking by mobilizing the legal profession.
- Higher Education Center Against Violenceis a clearinghouse of information and resources on domestic violence.
- Shattered Love Broken lives contains numerous articles on domestic violence.
- Law Runner is a search engine for legal documents.
Domestic Violence Resources
- Common Questions About Domestic Abuse Against Men - Adobe PDF MS Word This flyer serves as a "Q & A" style informational sheet which addresses the need for awareness and services for battered men. It specifically does not focus on promoting the fact that men and women are abused at about the same rate, though it does mention this toward the end of the flyer. The intent is to highlight the lack of resources for abused men which are needed regardless of the prevalence of violence toward them.
- The Fiebert Bibliography - Adobe PDF MS Word - This document is meant to be a companion to the Research flyer above. If anyone tries to discount the research that shows women abuse men, offer them this - the bibliography cites over a hundred research studies which show women are as abusive or more abusive than men in relationships. This 20-page document is a sure way to combat skepticism of the facts about domestic violence.
- Getting the Facts: Research About Domestic Violence Against Men - Adobe PDF MS Word - This flyer summarizes some of the research about domestic abuse against men, and focuses on the fact that the ratio of male and female batterers is close to 50/50 - and that women are as likely to instigate violence as men. This is sure to be the more controversial flyer, but the facts will withstand scrutiny.
- The SAFE abused men, abused gay men, and abused lesbian brochures, are available for service providers and individuals.
What Everyone Should Know About Domestic Violence
* It Doesn't Matter Who You Are
Domestic violence can happen to anybody. It happens to women, it happens to men, to people in all social classes, and to people who speak all different languages. It happens regardless of sexual orientation or religion.
Many people don't realize that domestic violence happens to men, in same-sex relationships, to teens, siblings, and the elderly.
* Facts About Domestic Violence
Many Victims of Domestic Violence Face Enormous Barriers When Trying to Get Help
• One survey highlighted the discriminatory practices of many domestic violence shelters, concluding that lesbian and gay victims “still did not have consistent access to culturally competent services to prevent and address the violence against them.”
(National Center for Victims of Crime and the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. Why it Matters. 2010. http://www.ncvc.org/ncvc/main.aspx?dbName=DocumentViewer&DocumentID=47632)
• One analysis concluded, “the exclusion of men appears to be the norm.”
(Stop Abusive and Violent Environments. Domestic Violence Programs Discriminate Against Male Victims.Rockville, MD. 2010. http://www.saveservices.org/downloads/VAWA-Discriminates-Against-Males)
Although Alarming, About one in 10 American Couples Engages in Intimate Partner Violence Each Year
About one in 10 intimate partner relationships experience some form of partner aggression (slap, shove, punch, etc.) each year.
(For example, the 1992 National Alcohol and Family Violence Survey found 9.5% of men and 9.1% of women in married or cohabiting relationships had experienced inter-partner violence in the previous year.)
Crime surveys (aka..National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) and criminal justice statistics (arrests) are not valid indicators of overall levels of Intimiate Partner Viiolence. National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which collects information on nonfatal crimes reported and not reported to the police from a nationally representative sample of U.S. households.
All Segments of Society are Affected by Domestic Violence...But It Is Largely Seen in Certain Types of Groups
Domestic violence is more common in the following groups:
• Lower income couples.
(Department of Justice. Criminal Victimization in the United States, 2007. February 2010. NCJ 227669. Table 35. http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm? ty=pbdetail&iid=1743)
• Couples who are not in an intact married relationships
(Catalano S. Intimate Partner Violence, 1993–2010. U.S. Department of Justice, 2012. Table 1. http://bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/ipv9310.pdf
• Lesbian and gay partners
(Zahnd E, Grant D, Aydin M et al. Nearly Four Million California Adults are Victims of Intimate Partner Violence. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, 2010.
Partner Aggression Often Goes Both Ways
• A comprehensive review of research conducted with large population samples found 58% of all intimate partner violence is bi-directional.
(Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling. Rates of bi-directional vs. uni-directional intimate partner violence: A comprehensive review. Partner Abuse Vol. 3, No. 2, 2012. http://www.springerpub.com/content/journals/PAKnowledgeBase-41410.pdf)
• A Centers for Disease Control survey found that injury was more than twice as likely when the violence was reciprocal (28.4%), compared to unidirectional violence (11.6%).
(Whitaker DJ et al. Differences in frequency of violence and reported injury between relationships with reciprocal and nonreciprocal intimate partner violence. American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 97, No. 5, 2007.)
Many Are Suprised To Learn That Men and Women Engage in Domestic Violence at Similar Rates
• Female initiation of partner violence is the leading reason for the woman becoming a victim of subsequent injury. Dr. Sandra Stith has called it “a dramatically more important factor than anything else.”
(Stith S, Smith DB, Penn CE, et al. Intimate partner physical abuse perpetration and victimization risk factors: A meta-analytic review. Aggression and Violent Behavior Vol. 10, 2004. pp. 65-98.)
• According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, more than five million men and nearly five million women experience some type of violence at the hands of their partners every year.
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. Atlanta, GA.2011. Tables 4.7 and 4.8. http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/NISVS_Report2010-a.pdf)
Many Factors Can Contribute to Domestic Violence
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has identified over 25 different causes of domestic violence. These include individual, relationship, and community factors. Substance abuse, marital instability, psychological disorders, and other factors are known to often lead to domestic violence incidents.
(Centers for Disease Control: Intimate Partner Violence: Risk and Protective Factors. http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/intimatepartnerviolence/riskprotectivefactors.html)
America is Making Progress in their National Effort to Curb Intimate Partner Aggression
Since the mid-1970s, domestic violence among intimate partners has fallen dramatically, whether violence is assessed by community surveys, (1) crime surveys of non-fatal violence, (2) or FBI homicide statistics. (3)
(1) (From 1975 to 1992. Male victims: From 11.6% to 9.5% of couples). crime surveys of non-fatal violence, (Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001. Table 2. http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=1001)
(2) (From 1993 to 2001. Male victims: From 1.6 to 0.9/1,000 persons. Female victims: From 9.8 to 5.0/1,000 persons. Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001. Table 2. http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=1001
(3) (From 1976 to 2000. Male victims: From 1,357 to 440 murders. Female victims: From 1,600 to 1,247 murders.Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001. http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=1001)
* False Accusations of Domestic Violence
Each year, about 175,000 children are involved in a divorce with a false allegation of domestic violence.
To Learn More About False Accusations:
One study of divorcing couples with custody disputes found that DV allegations were made in 55% of the cases,
59% of which could not be substantiated as true. Other studies have reported similar percentages of divorces
that involve accusations of abuse. Thus, each year, many thousands of children experience divorces in which
false allegations of partner violence are made, allegations that often serve as the basis to deprive children
of contact from one of their parents.
* The Domestic Violence Debate
There is a big debate in the domestic violence community over how to respond to the needs of "non-traditional" victims of domestic violence.
Many advocates against domestic violence believe that domestic violence is mostly a problem effecting women being abused by men. Their theory is that men beat women to maintain patriarchal power in relationships. Because they have this theory of domestic violence, they believe focusing on anything other than heterosexual women victims is a distraction from the real issue.
Stop Abuse For Everyone, (which -- as our name says) is for an inclusive vision of domestic violence. SAFE believes that all victims of domestic violence are important, and is concerned that many victims will not be offered services when needed and SAFE wants to see services being offered for anybody needing them. Men, for example, are not very likely to seek out services from a "women's shelter", unless they've heard that they are welcome there. The same goes for gay men and even in some cases lesbian women. SAFE believes that we should never underestimate the importance of violence against women, but we should look at the big picture of violence in relationships.
Inevitably, both groups clash over statistics. Abused women's advocates point out that hospital records and police records tend to show much higher rates of women being battered. Advocates for all victims point out that these numbers are misleading, because they only indicate people who seek out help. They often site Martin Feibert's bibliography of over 200 studies showing men and women to be equally violent in their personal relationships, and that men and women are equally violent internationally. Abused women's advocates counter than women are injured at much higher rates, and criticize the way the studies in the bibliography were conducted. Advocates for all victims counter that these studies and the statistics in them are widely used even by abused women's advocates, and that research taking into account their criticism has produced the same results.
As you can see, it's a very big discussion, and one that takes a lot of reading to be informed enough about to even discuss rationally. But it also completely misses the point. Both sides will agree that non-traditional victims exist, they just disagree over whether it's 5% or 35% or 50% of the problem. And they disagree over how much emphasis should be put on these victims.
SAFE's perspective is that we should not be looking at the type of person, but instead look at the severity of their circumstances. The same criteria should be used to evaluate all victims/survivors of domestic violence.
Why does this matter to you if you're looking for help? It is because help is hard to come by if you're not a 'traditional victim' of domestic violence. Fortunately, SAFE is here to help.
* Size doesn't matter
One of the problem abused men in particular face is that there is a perception that men cannot be abused because they are on average physically stronger than women. What most people don't stop to think about is that physical strength is only half of the equation. The other part of it is how much of that strength one is willing to use to harm their partner. As one man put it: ''People always looked at me dubiously if I told them that my ex-wife had abused me. I'm much bigger than she was, and I'm sure they find it difficult to understand how that could happen. What they don't understand is that she was willing to stay up all night screaming at me and throwing things at me, she was willing to take it to any level to get what she wanted. I wasn't -- I would give up and give in. And the same thing went for violence -- I just wasn't willing to hit her back.
* Most People Leave An Abusive Relationship a Couple of Times
This is well known in domestic violence circles, but it may be new to you. Often friends of domestic violence victims are amazed to see their friends or family members going back to the abusive relationship. It is agonizing to see, but it is extremely common. Push them to leave, but realize that it is their decision, and ultimately they will have to decide.
Help is Available
Although few services are available, they are out there. See the getting help section of this website.
More information on domestic violence:
Essays on Domestic Violence - contains essays on a variety of topics, including stalking, abused men, sibling violence, and more.
Books on Domestic Violence - books on abused men, same-sex violence, and more.
Websites on Domestic Violence - sites that deal with abused women, abused men, and same-sex victims.
Research on Domestic Violence - research on abused women, abused men, same-sex victims, teen dating violence, and all forms of domestic violence.
Domestic Violence Resources - fliers, brochures, and other materials on domestic violence.
- $100 will allow us to print up domestic violence brochures in a new language. Our brochures are unique, often the first publication to serve these populations in that language, so it can have a huge impact.
- $200 will allow us to pay for phone charges and postal charges for one of our state hotlines and court-advocacy programs for one month. This program helps victims of domestic violence avoid being further victimized by their abusers in the legal system, and helps protect them and their families.
- $300 will help us produce new brochures to address teen dating violence (a huge unaddressed problem), elderly partner/adult child abuse, and severe sibling abuse brochures.
- $1,000 will help pay for a training workshop for law enforcement, social service, legal, military, or shelter/crisis line personnel.
- $5,000 will help pay the salaries of essential staff.
SAFE is on the front lines, offering services to those who need it most, and by supporting us financially, you are directly reaching out a hand to those who are trying to escape violent and abusive relationships. And every bit counts! If you can afford to contribute $5, then that will make a difference for somebody.