This is a continuing examination of an issue that has only recently been being given any consideration. Everyone knows there are victims of domestic violence – the media has made certain that everyone is aware of the problem. This is a good thing. It is a problem and that everybody needs to be aware of and do what they can to eradicate. The bad thing is that most people seem to believe that all victims are women and all perpetrators are men. The fact is that there are men victims and women victims. One of the reasons this assumption is made is due to the one sided-ness that this issue is generally discussed from. But one of the other reasons is that male victims, even more so than female victims, fail to report their abusers or seek help and choose instead to silently live with the violence.
There are several reasons for this discrepancy and many of them are peculiar to men victims only.
One of the reasons is that men have a tendency to place the blame on themselves. There is a very funny episode of “The Simpsons” where Homer does not want Marge to go to a counselor because he thinks that all psychiatrists will always place all blame at the feet of the husband. In the case of their particular marriage that may actually be the case but why does the audience laugh at Homer’s fears and see them as somewhat justified. It is due to the fact that this can actually be true. People are now learning that no woman deserves to be abused. Well, they should learn this. It is true. But, on the flipside, it often seems to be the case that if a man gets abused the societal response is that he must have done something to deserve it or he should be able to “handle it.” It is the same argument that was used against rape victims years ago – “She must have been asking for it.” Society has come to realize that was a farcical argument in that case – no woman is ever asking to be raped or abused. It needs to realize that about male victims of domestic violence as well. Sadly, this attitude still prevails in this situation. Even more sadly, many male victims have also accepted the teaching that the abuse is somehow their fault. So they do not report the abuse that after all “they were asking for or should be able to handle.”
It may seem odd but many men feel powerless in certain circumstances. This is a prevalent feeling among male victims of domestic violence. In one study done about men who have finally reported their abuser or been forced to due to circumstances they were asked why they had remained silent for so long. 100% of them reported feelings of powerlessness as being one of the motivators. They simply felt that there was nothing they could do to either fix or get out of the situation.
Domestic violence used to be treated as little more than a personal/private problem. There was nowhere for victims to turn to for help. Thankfully this is no longer the case. There are advocacy centers and hotlines all over the place to help victims. It is interesting to note that many of them have “battered women” or at least “women” is very often somewhere in their title. Some of these places will actually help men but their title makes it so most men will assume that they will not. Some of them actually will not help men. In fact, if a man calls some of these places for help he will automatically be referred to an abusers’ intervention hotline or counseling center. The overall impression that many male victims will get is that there is no help available for them. The result is that they will not seek help because why look for something that is nonexistent?
It is known that many women stay in abusive relationships because the man starts to be extra loving after being violent and they desperately hope he is going to change. Do women abusers use the same tactic or make the same attempts? Yes, they do and male victims are known to fall into this trap just as easily.
It is so often said that no one deserves abuse. This is quite true and it is true regardless of the gender of the victim. If you are in an abusive situation get the help you need. If, due to an abusive situation, you are finding yourself at the wrong end of the law you need a Pierce County / Tacoma defense attorney. Call or e-mail the law office of Smith & White, PLLC – your free case analysis awaits you.