Male abuse victims should not be ignored

Male abuse victims should not be ignored

Male abuse victims should not be ignored

By Tessa Brubaker

Images and commercials of women abused by aggressive male partners dominate public perceptions of domestic violence. Three in 10 women in the U.S. say they have experienced abuse by an intimate partner, according to The National Domestic Violence Hotline.

However, 10 percent of men also experience domestic violence, and they should not be disregarded. One in seven men age 18 and over have experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime. In 2013, 13 percent of documented calls to the National Domestic Violence hotline identified as male.

This statistic is only from reported cases. Domestic abuse is one of the most chronically under reported crimes, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, so the numbers for men and women are both likely much higher since many cases ago unreported.

Former “Glee” star Naya Rivera was arrested and charged with domestic battery Nov. 25 after she allegedly assaulted her husband while the two were out with their child.

This isn’t the first time a man experiencing domestic abuse went public. In 2013, actress Emma Roberts was arrested for domestic violence against her boyfriend Evan Peters, according to a July 16, 2013 USA Today article. Even after all of the controversy, they are still together to this day. 

These stories of celebrity domestic abuse in the media shine a light on a problem that can affect men globally. However, these stories need to show that male abuse victims need to come forward just as much as women victims do. 

According to HelpGuide.org, many men don’t come forward to report abuse because they’re embarrassed of what people will think, or fear police may assume they are the perpetrator and not the victim because of their gender. Assuming the victim is always female is extremely damaging and prevents those who need help from stepping forward as they may think the authorities wont’ believe them. 

Domestic violence happens in LGBTQ relationships as well. About 33.3 percent of gay men experience intimate partner violence at some point in their lifetime, according to a research review by the William’s Institute of Law. 

We continually encourage women to come forward and report when they experience some sort of abuse, but the specific problems that keep men from coming forward need to be addressed as well. Society needs to encourage men to report problems instead of hiding to protect themselves from being judged by others. It’s dangerous to continue to teach men that they can’t see themselves as victims because this can prevent them from getting the help they need. We need to teach men that being emotional and shining light on abuse does not represent weakness but incredible strength.

Both women and men need support to help disentangle them from abusive relationships. Men need to be told showing emotion doesn’t equal weakness. This can help men reach out and get the help they need and be able to walk away from a toxic relationship. Anyone can be the victim of an abusive relationship, and we need to support all victims as much as we can.

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