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Male victims of domestic violence frequently overlooked


While much of the attention directed at the social problem of domestic violence has focused on battered wives, men are also the victim of domestic abuse, a problem that is frequently overlooked. According a 2010 study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 25 percent of men are the victims of rape, stalking, or domestic violence by a significant other. The study's findings report a decrease in the number of domestic abuse incidents against women, but an increase in the number of incidents against men. This is likely due to the fact that domestic violence against men is still considered a taboo subject among many, as well as a source of shame and embarrassment. In addition, many male victims of domestic violence are in same-sex relationships and may not report the crime due to a fear of having their homosexual status made public. Men are considered to be the stronger gender, so being beaten by a spouse may be seen as a sign of weakness.

The problem of domestic violence is one that is not limited to women. Men also may be abused by a female or male significant other and they are less likely to report the abuse due to the social stigma attached. Frequently, victims of domestic violence have a need to please their partner at all times and to "check in" with them constantly. They may also wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to hide the abuse.

Battered spouses have a variety of legal options to take against an alleged attacker. They may file for a temporary restraining order against the alleged abuser in order to protect themselves and any children involved. They may also seek shelter at state-sponsored centers for victims of domestic abuse and speak with authorities about their legal options. They may also document the abuse through journals or cell phone cameras in order to gather evidence.

Any victim of domestic abuse, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, is entitled to seek help from the abuse. He or she may file a restraining order, obtain a divorce from the abusive spouse and file criminal charges for domestic violence. Any victim of domestic assault need not suffer the abuse, but may seek protection for himself or herself and any loved ones involved in the situation.

Source: Rome Observer, "COLUMN: Men are also the victims of domestic violence," Tim Bates, July 11, 2013

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