The Other Domestic Violence: Abuse Against Men

by wrylilt

Although domestic violence against females has drawn advertising, support groups and many forms of support over the years, few people remember that men are also victims.

What's the first thing you think of when I say domestic violence? Probably an image involving a man as the perpetrator and the woman as the victim. But this is not always the case.
National campaigns have been run against domestic violence - usually featuring crying, scared and injured womenwomen. Definitions often run along the lines of "Violence or physical abuse directed toward your spouse or domestic partner; usually violence by men against women."
However this isn't the only type of domestic violence. Since men are usually the stronger member of a relationship, many forget that they can also be victims of abuse.

Disclaimer

If you are a female and you are or have ever been a victim of domestic violence from a man, I'm very sorry that it happened. I would be the first to agree that men can do mean and vicious things to women, and if you're a female victim, it's important that you get help and if possible, seek some sort of legal action against your abuser.
This article is in no way intended to minimalize the suffering of female victims - just to point out that there are many men out there who are also victims of domestic violence.
Any names used in this article have been changed.

Women aren't the only victims of abuse.
Women aren't the only victims of abuse.
Differences Between Abuse Against Women and Men

Generally domestic violence against women involves physical abuse and on some occasions verbal and mental abuse. When a woman is the perpetrator it often takes a different slant. Women know they aren't the stronger gender so they generally commit more subtle, but no less painful forms of abuse such as:
►Parental Alienation - Often a separated woman will attempt to control the partner by using the children - either refusing to let the father see them, claiming that they are being harmed by the father or telling the children lies about the father and/or any new partners he may have.
►Manipulation - Some women will attempt to control the partner by promising things and then not doing them (such as child visits) or claiming that they did not in fact say they would do something.
►Abuse - Some women will take out domestic violence orders (DVOs) against a man, merely out of spite. This can be very harmful for the man's reputation whether there is proof or not that he actually committed abuse.

Example One

Rick and Tina had been married for over 15 years. They lived out of town and had several teenage children.
Tina decided that she wanted to break up with Rick. She moved into a large township about an hour away.
Rick was distraught - he begged and begged for her to come back and finally she agreed. The terms were that he'd buy them a house in town - the only catch was it was to be in her name. Her excuse involved the fact that it was better that way due to insurance and tax reasons based on his business.
Three weeks after moving into the house, Rick came home to find all his belongings on the front lawn and the locks changed. He could not do anything legally, since the house was not even in his name.

Example Two

James and Alison had been married for more than 20 years. Alison never worked for more than a year total during most of the marriage and depended on James for support. The year their mortgage was to be completely paid off she went across country and spent a large amount of money, putting the couple back in reasonably large debt.
James followed her and bought her back but several months later he found evidence that she'd been cheating on him and finally decided that enough was enough.
Alison demanded a large amount of money from the split, due to their house investment. After paying creditors and other bills James was left with not even enough for a house deposit and Alison went on to spend all her money within the next year or two.
Alison later claimed that James had been bashing her, which confused police since she had no physical proof at all. She also claimed that James had been abusing their teenage child, another untruth.

Example Three

Evan and Laura were married over 20 years. During their divorce, Laura bought in a private evaluator who was in fact a friend of hers. He evaluated some of their joint assets at nearly $100,000 despite the fact that they only ended up selling for about $20,000. This meant Evan had to pay Laura $50,000 despite the fact he didn't end up with that much.
Laura also forced Evan to buy back several thousand dollars worth of hobby items despite the fact they were items that their son had used.
Laura continued to tell different stories to family friends and neighbours. Two of their three children now refuse to speak to her after many of the things she told other people about their father.

Why Is It So Difficult For a Man To Deal with Domestic Violence?

If you haven't heard about or experienced domestic violence against men before, you're probably wondering why men put up with this or why there isn't a bigger outcry.
The truth is, men are often less manipulative than women as well as still being in love with the woman. Especially after a long term relationship, the male may be used to women handling all the complicated paperwork and money side of things. This leaves them vulnerable to abuse on every level - from their assets to their children.
In Australian divorce cases some courts are even including superannuation funds (reitrement funds) in the divorce settlement. This gives a woman with a good legal representation the chance to take most of the assets as those come to approximately 50% of the couple's property when the funds are included, despite the fact that the funds are usually not available to the man till the age of 65.

What Can a Man Do?

The sad thing is, domestic violence against men is rarely recognized or dealt with properly. As one man was told when he rang a domestic violence help line "A woman has only to say she has been hurt. A man can be covered in bruises and will still be doubted."
Unfortunately, not a lot can be done. All I can recommend is that male victims of domestic violence try to get as much proof as possible - whether that be from witnesses or written proof (for instance if the partner writes a letter.)

Further Reading & Resources
Updated: 04/13/2014, wrylilt
 
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frankbeswick on 07/08/2013

Once in the staffroom at school I suggested to a group of women teachers that men had rights and should not be verbally abused. They were verbally attacking males with no respect for the fact that I was sitting there. One classroom assistant got up, walked round the table and trod on my foot,[ that was for disagreeing with her.] There was fortunately much more fat than muscle behind the assault, so I was unhurt, but I did not retaliate. I just made sure that I did not contribute to her leaving present a year or so later.

Lilysnape on 07/08/2013

I think there should be more awareness of this

petunia on 06/02/2011

Domestic violence against men is just not discussed enough. Your article will help awareness, I think. I have to admit I have not really ever thought about it, but the stories made me cringe!

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