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MEN: SILENT VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

It is an unfortunate truth that justice is often corrupted by normative ideas and gender stereotypes. From Connecticut to California, people form judgments and opinions about the types of crimes certain individuals are capable of and which types of justice they deserve. If a person does not fit within those preconceived standards, then finding help or receiving justice for crimes against him/her can be a difficult and overwhelming process. A prime example of this is domestic violence cases brought forward by male victims. Awareness of domestic violence against men is not a primary directive in most campaigns, and many males will not seek police action, let alone a divorce attorney for various reasons. And so, they suffer alone.

Suffering in Silence

Domestic violence is considered to be one of the most compelling issues in American society. Statistics abound about how 1 in every 4 women will be victims of domestic abuse in their lifetimes and that some suggest that 85% of domestic abuse victims are women. However, the CDC completed a survey in 2010 that pointed to nearly 40% of domestic violence victims being men, and a large percentage of those are married men. The study also found that it is far more likely for men to be threatened with violence and weapons, yet the primary focus of prevention campaigns and services are still geared towards women. Part of the reason for this is that men are less likely to report incidents or seek legal action for a number of reasons:

  • Gender Stereotypes: In Western society, men are perceived to be physically stronger than their female counterparts. As such, it is assumed that they would easily be able to subdue an aggressive partner. Men who do report physical violence are more often ridiculed both by the public and by law enforcement agencies than are women. Men are also subjected to the idea that they should be tough and able to handle anything; realizing that they are being abused can be a devastating blow to their self-perception and expectations.
  • Help Isn't Available: With the majority of awareness and prevention programs being geared towards women, there are very few resources men can access when seeking help with domestic abuse. Also, many homes or outreach programs specifically bar men, and some will only accept boys up to a certain age.
  • Shame and Guilt: Just like women, men can feel ashamed about their situation or even feel guilty, as if they deserve the treatment they are receiving.
  • Fear: Men, too, can be afraid of the repercussions of reporting abuse. Not only is it likely that they will be ridiculed, but there is a very real fear that the authorities won't believe their story. There have been cases in the past where a man has called 911 for help against an abusive partner and then been the one who was arrested. Also, if there are children involved, a man could be afraid that his children will be taken away from him, even if he is completely innocent.

Domestic violence is a serious affair, no matter who the victim is. Abusive behavior is not limited by age, race, gender, socioeconomic status, orientation, or any other factor, and victims are not limited to those labels either. Justice should make no distinctions when it comes to the safety of ourselves and our family. So whether you are seeking help in a case of domestic violence or need a personal injury attorney, contact Cummings Law Firm today; we stand ready to help.

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