The Truth About Domestic Violence Against Men

The Truth About Domestic Violence Against Men

It affects more than just women.
1186
views

Domestic violence. It’s all around us. It’s the cashier at the grocery story who says, “It was just an accident and he’ll never do it again.” It’s your coworker who says, “No, he’s right. I am stupid.” But it also might be the man next to you on the bus, with the bruises on him, and a sense of worthlessness. Domestic violence has been called one of the number one health issues in the US for women, according to Former Surgeon General, Dr. C Everett Koop. However, according to Denis Campbell, about 40 percent of domestic violence victims are male. Many people wonder if the injuries inflicted on men are as severe as they are for women. Perhaps some men are more ashamed that a female is attacking them, and they are afraid to report the abuse. It is a real issue facing men in our society, even if the numbers aren’t as big as domestic violence on females. If we ever want to truly be equal among genders, we have to hold everyone accountable for their actions. Through this paper, I will discuss the differences in domestic violence between men and women, the long-term effects on men from domestic violence, and the theory about testosterone-driven violence, while also giving insight into women who have committed domestic violence.

When women are victims of domestic violence, the chances of someone not believing them are very slim. They tend to wait to report the violence out of fear of angering their abuser, a sense of still needing their abuser, whether it is a place to live or financial security, and because they have convinced themselves it’s not as bad as it seems. Despite these cases, women are still 7 to 14 times more likely to report their abuse than men. When men do report their domestic violence, the police are less likely to believe them. According to Denis Campbell, men are treated as “second-class victims.” The issue is largely overlooked by police and the media, and the actual numbers are vastly underreported. This is due to a fear of appearing weak and unmanly. Our society places expectations on each gender. Men are stereotyped to be strong, and unaffected by the physical actions or words of women. Women are stereotyped as being soft and incapable of violence. If we do become physically violent, it’s considered unladylike, but even verbal and emotional abuse still has a lasting effect. Constant name-calling, isolating the victim from his family and friends, threatening them, or making irrational accusations are all signs that someone might be a victim of domestic abuse (Plus Media Solutions, 2016). As a result of domestic violence, men often develop high levels of anxiety and depression. They feel they can’t come forward about any of their issues. Just as in the case of domestic violence, men’s resulting mental illness is often not taken seriously and goes untreated.

One case of domestic violence is the story of Thomas Parker. He said before the abuse he was never considered a depressed or angry person, but the things his girlfriend said and did to him ruined him. Parker said he came home and found out his girlfriend had cheated on him. When he finally came out of the bedroom after collecting his thoughts, she began hitting him and threatening him with a pair of scissors. According to TIME, female abusers are often not as strong as male abusers but are more likely to resort to using a weapon. Parker said he tried to escape, and even tried to break the bedroom window, but fell to the floor, having an anxiety attack. Parker went 11 months being beaten by his girlfriend, unaware that any services for male victims existed. Some people encouraged him to fight back, but he was taught to never hit women. Parker said his girlfriend’s violence came out of nowhere.

One of the biggest questions regarding the study of domestic violence is how people become violent. Are they born that way, is there a mental reason, or did they one day just snap? Female victims often say their abusers were never violent before. They often blame themselves for what happened to them because of this. Some theories say men are naturally born violent because of their high levels of testosterone. It is believed that this is why men commit 90 percent of all homicides, and 20-25 percent of all men have admitted to committing a sexual assault or rape. Most cases of female crime are petty things, such as theft. When females are violent, they are usually violent toward an intimate partner or relative. According to Medical Daily, a study done shows women are more likely to commit intimate partner violence or IPV. These women have become known as intimate terrorists, and they are more likely to be psychologically damaging than men. The study showed that women have more of a desire to control their partners, and are therefore more likely to be physically and verbally abusive, while men are more likely to be sexually abusive. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 48.8 percent of men have experienced at least one psychologically aggressive behavior. Four in 10 men have experienced some form of coercive control, such as manipulation, threats, or exploitation.

One example of a spontaneous female violent outburst is in the case of Olympic Gold Medalist, Hope Solo. According to a TIME magazine article, she attacked her sister and 17-year-old nephew in a violent, drunken outburst. Solo fought against a push to get her off the Olympic soccer team by saying if NFL players with a history of violence are still allowed to play, she should be allowed to continue her sport as well. The TIME article argues that random acts of violence are a result of misogyny. Women are essentially, fighting back more than ever before, but more often than not, violence from both genders is not directed at each other, but rather at a family member. A 1975 sociological study by Murray Straus and Richard Gelles shows that women reported hitting a spouse just as much as men, and men reported being hit just as often. They initially thought the women were defending themselves, but when asked who struck who first, women had thrown the first hit just as often as men. Same-sex couples also report female violence. A February CDC study found that 44 percent of lesbian couples have experienced violence from a partner during their lifetime, compared to 35 percent of straight women, 26 percent of gay men, and 29 percent of straight men. These statistics show that women are more than capable of becoming violent to a family member or partner, but is it a reaction to misogyny, or is violence caused by biology? According to another article from “The Doctor Weighs In,” the average level of testosterone in men is 20-200 percent, and men with levels over 400 percent are more likely to commit a violent act.

This takes me to the case of Aileen Wuornos, a famed serial killer, and the 10th woman in the United States to be put to death. She was executed by lethal injection in Florida for murdering seven men. All of her victims had either raped or attempted to rape her. Wuornos was found to have extremely increased levels of testosterone, noted by her prominent brow and blood tests. She was found to have higher levels than most adolescent boys. Aileen was described as unpredictable and easily angered. She had a blatant disregard for human emotions and often faced legal charges for substance abuse and violent rages. She is one of 16 women who was executed by lethal injection in the United States since 1976, all of which were executed for murdering men. Another woman who was executed, Judy Welty, was also found to have high levels of testosterone at the time of her execution.

To summarize, men make up about 40 percent of all domestic violence victims, but other studies show women are just as likely as men to commit an act of violence against a loved one or intimate partner, and in fact are more likely to seek psychological control over their partner. It is unclear whether it is biological or sociological reasons that cause females to become violent, but just like with men, some women have become randomly violent. Women such as Aileen Wuornos and Judy Welty had a history of violent outbursts and were found to have increased levels of testosterone at the time of execution. Whatever the reason for violence, it affects both males and females, and both genders should be taught that it is okay to come forward. In the fight to be recognized as equal, we need to recognize we are equally capable of committing violent acts, being victims, and being voices for domestic violence.

Cover Image Credit: Aziz Law

Popular Right Now

To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
1520950
views

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Meditation Is Not A Perfect Practice, But It's Still Worth Your Time

You'll thank me later.

nczupek
nczupek
273
views

I began doing yoga a few years ago, and I instantly loved it. The combination of stretching, mental relaxation, and emotional release is amazing. It creates a sense of zen and peace in my life that I can use during the stress that comes from school, work, and everyday life. But the one part of yoga that I am not in love with is the meditation aspect.

I absolutely dread meditation. I do not know what it is, but I can never quite seem to get my mind to quiet down. No matter how hard I try, there is always a million thoughts running through my brain. "Did I finish that homework assignment?" "Am I breathing too loud? Can other people hear me?" I become so focused on other things happening around me that I just can't seem to calm down and relax.

But meditation is not about just clearing your mind and going completely blank. It is about focusing on a single thought, object, or intention and just allowing those emotions and feelings to overcome you. Focusing on one intention in your life allows you to become focused and re-centered. Meditation is not a set in stone practice, it is adaptable based on each person's needs.

There are seven general types of meditation: loving-kindness meditation, body scanning meditation, mindfulness meditation, breath awareness meditation, kundalini yoga, Zen meditation, and transcendentalism meditation. Each of these general types can be adapted to fit ones specific needs in that time. All seven of these meditations offer stress release options to help with daily stressors and inconveniences.

There is no perfect way to meditate. Meditation can also be as simple as just closing your eyes and simply breathing for a few seconds while focusing on one important thing in your life to help you remain grounded. There is no one set meditation type that works for all people. Some people enjoy all of the forms or even several of them, while others such as myself strictly enjoy the body scanning meditation.

The body scanning meditation focuses on scanning the body for areas of tension and to encourage the release of tension in that part of the body. Once the release occurs, the whole body can begin to relax even more. It usually starts by focusing on the toes and relaxing then moving up the legs, the torso the arms to the fingertips, and all the way through to the tip of the head.

My ideal meditation type is not for everyone. Playing around with the different types of meditations is the best way to find an ideal type of meditation that fits what the body needs. Unlike with most things, practice doesn't make perfect. Practicing the art of meditation just helps to refine the overall calm and zen that is felt.

nczupek
nczupek

Related Content

Facebook Comments