VEST serves the entire community. This absolutely includes men, teens, and boys who are survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. And although when domestic abuse and sexual assault are discussed, thinking often defaults to male violence against women, violence and abuse against males can be equally devastating. Our agency’s recognizes that violence is a universal social issue and its impact is felt throughout the community. The damage that it does against its victims must be addressed to preserve the health of the community.
Recognizing Domestic Violence Against Men
The Mayo Clinic published a good article describing the aspects of Violence Against Men in an article you can find here. To summarize, intimate partner violence occurs between people who are or have been in a close relationship and can happen in against men in both heterosexual or same-sex relationships . This abuse can take many forms, including emotional, sexual and physical abuse, stalking and threats of abuse. The core of an abusive relationship always involves an imbalance of power and control.
For example, an abuser uses intimidating language and behaviors to control his or her partner. As in the case with women, initially it might not be easy to recognize domestic violence against men. Early in the relationship, your partner might seem attentive, generous and protective in ways that later turn out to be controlling and frightening. Initially, the abuse might appear as isolated incidents. Your partner might apologize and promise not to abuse you again.
Examples of domestic violence include when your partner:
- Calls you names, insults you or puts you down
- Prevents you from going to work or school
- Stops you from seeing family members or friends
- Tries to control how you spend money, where you go or what you wear
- Acts jealous or possessive or constantly accuses you of being unfaithful
- Gets angry when drinking alcohol or using drugs
- Tries to control whether you can see a health care provider
- Threatens you with violence or a weapon
- Hits, kicks, shoves, slaps, chokes or otherwise hurts you, your children or your pets
- Forces you to have sex or engage in sexual acts against your will
- Blames you for his or her violent behavior or tells you that you deserve it
- Threatens to tell friends, family, colleagues or community members your sexual orientation or gender identity
If you’re gay, bisexual or transgender, you might also be experiencing domestic violence if you’re in a relationship with someone who:
- Tells you that authorities won’t help a gay, bisexual or transgender person
- Tells you that leaving the relationship means you’re admitting that gay, bisexual or transgender relationships are deviant
- Justifies abuse by telling you that you’re not “really” gay, bisexual or transgender
- Says that men are naturally violent
Impacts of Abuse Against Men
Domestic violence can leave a person feeling depressed and anxious, and can increase their risk of having a drug or alcohol problem. And since men are traditionally thought to be physically stronger than women, they are often less likely to report domestic violence in heterosexual relationships due to embarrassment. Sometimes people will minimize the impact of the abuse because the victim is a man. Similarly, a man being abused by another man might be reluctant to talk about the situation because it reflects on his masculinity or because it exposes his sexual orientation.
If you are a man that is being abused seek help. It is true that you might find fewer resources for male victims of domestic violence. But remember, if you are being abused, you aren’t to blame — and help is available. In Solano County, contact VEST Solano where our confidential client advocates understand that violence against men is real, and are trained to support and assist you.
Remember. Help is Here.