Female Abusers, Male Victims: A Hidden Side of Domestic Violence

Every year, over 1,500,000 women are victims of violence at the hands of their intimate partners. Most people are well aware of initiative to combat violence towards women. However, how many people know that over 800,000 MEN are victims of domestic violence annually? Yes, there ARE female batterers. Most organizations that deal with domestic violence do not speak about this issue, because often they believe that exposing the truth about male victims somehow negates the experiences of women who are abused. Stop Abuse for Everyone is one of the few resources that I have come across that seems to deal with the issues of male victims WITHOUT coming across as being “anti-women”.

Since October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I wanted to address male victims of female batterers. At first, I did not want to discuss this dynamic, simply because often men who batter women use the rationale that “women do it too” to make their actions more acceptable. But, in light of the recent story about Amber of “Teen Mom” fame abusing her boyfriend on camera, in front of her child, I decided to mention it.

Amber did not lightly slap her boyfriend. She did not gently nudge him. She did not react to violence perpetrated by him with her own use of physical force. Amber ASSAULTED her boyfriend on more than one occasion. She battered him. She grabbed him by the throat. She pushed him, slapped him, punched him numerous times, and kicked him. She BEAT HIM. And, he did not raise a hand against her, nor did he defend himself in any violent manner. The camera crew of “Teen Mom” did nothing to intercede on behalf of her boyfriend Gary, EVEN THOUGH their child witnessed the abuse. And during the reunion show, Dr. Drew Pinsky treated her more as a sympathetic victim under stress than as an abusive individual.

Now, Amber is under investigation for the assaults. Child Protective Services is now involved in the case, and Amber may lose her child due to her actions. The attacks were filmed, so if the prosecutor’s decide to charge her with a crime, they have all of the evidence they need. Hopefully, the authorities will recognize that Amber’s actions WERE battery, and she needs consequences for her actions, just as a man who did this to a woman would be penalized. At the very least, Amber needs to be made to attend anger management and parenting classes. And, in my opinion, custody of the child should be given to Gary UNTIL she proves that she is capable of refraining from such violent acts.

I actually have a friend who was a male victim of domestic violence. His wife would punch him, slap him and kick him during arguments. She was larger than he was, and he never raised a hand against her. She did this in front of their two sons. Eventually, he sought a divorce, and was granted custody of the two boys.

This man is a very sensitive individual who was always taught to respect and appreciate women. And his wife took advantage of that for many years. It was difficult for him, just as it is difficult for female victims of domestic violence, to extract himself from this abusive relationship. But, he did it, and he has raised his sons to be fine young men.

Men are far less likely to report incidences of violence against them by the women in their lives. Often, there is the idea that man CANNOT POSSIBLY be victims, because they are usually bigger and stronger than their partners. But men CAN be victims of intimate partner violence as well.

Questions for a Man to ask himself to determine if he is being abused:

Some things that are worth thinking about when you’re wondering “Was I abused?” include:

* Did she embarass or humiliate you in front of other people, including your friends or family?
* Did she insist that anything you wanted for yourself was selfish and/or wrong?
* Did she withhold affection to “punish” you for any violations of her rules?
* Did she intimidate you in any way?
* Did she threaten you, or threaten to harm herself or anyone else, if/when you left?
* Did she force you to ask her for money, or take your money away from you? Did she have control of the family finances, so you didn’t even know what or when money was being spent?
* Did she prevent you from taking a job you wanted, or going to school? Did she force you, either directly or through manipulation, to quit a job you had?
* Did she make jokes about her treatment of you, insist that she never did anything to hurt you, or blame you for her behavior?
* Did she treat you as if you were her servant?
* Did she ever make you do things you felt were wrong or illegal?
* Did she ever belittle your beliefs, or tell you that your faith is wrong?
* Did she make you leave social gatherings, or restrict your contact with your friends or family?
* Did she make you feel afraid, or like you needed to be “careful” around her?
* Did she make you feel guilty or ashamed about yourself, your feelings, your beliefs, or anything else that makes you a unique individual? If you are a man who needs help with a situation of domestic violence, please contact the following number:
* Domestic Violence Hotline for Men and Women: 1-888-743-5754