Domestic Violence Against Men


Domestic violence is a serious issue that affects both men and women. However — for reasons of funding — public policy has traditionally concentrated on those cases where women are victims and men are abusers. Many people are concerned about the lack of attention given to male victims. Here are some facts to consider:

  • According to a recent CDC survey, 1.5 million American women are severely assaulted by their "intimate partners" each year. It is less known that 835,000 men are also assaulted annually by intimate partners, representing some 36% of the total. (Note: the methodology of this survey has been criticized by men’s advocates as flawed, however this is still a significant finding).
  • Women and men assault each other with roughly equal frequency. This would make the difference in the above figures even closer to parity. However, women are somewhat more likely to be injured, and are more likely to report injuries to police. (It should be noted that there is no standard definition of an “injury”).
  • Women often compensate for their smaller size by using weapons such as knives, guns, baseball bats, and fireplace pokers. One study found that 86% of female-on-male violence involved weapons, contrasted with 25% in cases of male-on-female violence. 
  • Men are usually reluctant to call the police in a domestic dispute for fear of ridicule. Also, police will often arrest the man even when it is the woman who committed the assault.
  • Many women's shelters exist in the United States and other Western nations, but there are very few shelters for men.
  • Child abuse, a related issue, is committed by women more often than men (and even less often by a biological father).

In spite of the above points, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) only offers federal funding to female victims of domestic violence.

Domestic violence hurts us all, either directly or indirectly. While it is important to maintain assistance to women-victims, proportionate aid should also be given to male victims. Rational laws and public policy would help in achieving this goal.

If you or someone you know needs help please see our list of resources.

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© 2003 by Steven G. Van Valkenburg.  Adapted from “What is the Men’s Movement” by Trudy W. Schuett.  Content used with permission of the author.