When was the last time you saw a Lifetime movie about a man struggling to escape his abusive wife? Chances are, you may have never seen such a movie. Domestic violence against men is a very difficult to subject to discuss in today’s culture for a number of reasons, but from Hollywood’s perspective, the concept has provided little more than comic relief or as a punchline “of a larger, depressing narrative,” according to Anne P. Mitchell, retired family law professor at Lincoln Law School of San Jose. Violence perpetrated by women against men is especially challenging, because, while cultural morality says that men should not hit women, the same is not necessarily true in reverse.
In 2010 and 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted studies based on the responses of more than 18,000 telephone participants. The results in both years estimated that more 5.2 million men had experienced violence from an intimate partner in the previous 12 months compared to less than 4.8 million women. This is not to suggest that violence against women is not a serious problem; it is. But violence against men is also a problem and both need to be addressed.
Karla Ivankovich, adjunct professor of psychology at the University of Illinois, Springfield observed, “Reports are also showing a decline of the number of women and in increase in the number of men reporting.” She went to explain that the social outcry associated with domestic violence against women does not exist to the same extent for men because society, as a whole, does not know how to handle it.
Why Do Men Stay Silent?
Experts suggest a number of reasons why most male domestic violence victims are unwilling to come forward. In some cases, the man is hesitant to get the abuser in trouble, according to Mitchell. In others, says Ivankovich, the man fears that people will think he is lying, or worse, that he is actually the abuser. Mitchell agrees, indicating that, all too often, a man will call the police to report domestic abuse by a female partner and he is the one who gets arrested.
Mitchell also points out that many men feel trapped in their situation due to the perceived way in which divorce laws empower women. Abused men believe that if they try to get out and file for divorce, they are likely to lose their children. Courts, she says, tend to think “that it’s better to have one happy parent than two unhappy parents—and when it comes down to it, the father is not that necessary.
Domestic Violence Attorney
For many advocates against domestic violence, abuse is abuse regardless of gender. There should not be a stigma associated with a man seeking help for intimate partner violence. If you have been the victim of domestic violence and need legal assistance, contact a compassionate family law attorney in Orland Parktoday. We proudly help both men and women seek the protections they need, while fighting to safeguard their legal rights regarding children and property. Call 708-518-8200 for your free consultation.