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I was hit in the head with a beer mug . . . requiring stitches. . . . would throw hot scalding coffee in my face. I was slapped, punched, poked and kicked repeatedly. I suffered a broken leg, a broken ankle, and [a] broken wrist. I have been chased with a car and attacked with a chainsaw. . . . sitting on my chest with a butcher knife in hand and the blade at my throat. . . . attempted to smother [me] with a pillow while I slept.

In the publics mind, these true recollections of violence evoke the image of an abusive husband or boyfriend .

In reality they were all perpetrated by a

wife or girlfriend.

The traditional societal view of domestic violence, as

evidenced by legal, medical, and statistical data, involves the notion of men engaging in the domestic abuse of their female partner or spouse, hence making it very difficult to accept that male spousal abuse is a serious problem. This note takes the position that domestic violence against men is in fact a serious social issue that must be fully addressed by overcoming societal perceptions, conducting accurate studies, and enacting responsible legislation. Societal trends indicate that we are becoming more and more concerned with reducing all forms of abuse and violence that manifest themselves in domestic relations.

Therefore, the next appropriate action would be to discard the long held and stereotypical view that violence is considered the province of the male, and accept the reality that women have the same capacity for violence. !ot addressing this issue will result in serious ramifications, not "ust to the men who are abused, but also to society as

a whole. In reducing domestic violence, it is therefore imperative to develop a societal approach, based on education and coordination of efforts between the legal and law enforcement communities, academics and statisticians, domestic violence support groups, and popular culture influences. #omestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, battering, family violence, and intimate partner violence $I%&', is defined as a pattern of abusive behaviors by one partner against another in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family, or cohabitation. #omestic violence, so defined, has many forms, including physical aggression or assault $hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, restraining, slapping, throwing ob"ects', or threats thereof( sexual abuse( emotional abuse( controlling or domineering( intimidation( stalking( passive)covert abuse $e.g., neglect'( and economic deprivation. *lcohol consumption and mental illness can be co morbid with abuse, and present additional challenges in eliminating domestic violence. *wareness, perception, definition and documentation of domestic violence differ widely from country to country, and from era to era. #omestic violence and abuse is not limited to obvious physical violence. #omestic violence can also mean endangerment, criminal coercion, kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, trespassing, harassment, and stalking. *ccording to the +erriam ,ebster dictionary definition, domestic violence is- .the inflicting of physical in"ury by one family or household member on another( also- a repeated ) habitual pattern of such behavior..

The term .intimate partner violence. $I%&' is often used synonymously with domestic abuse)domestic violence. /amily violence is a broader definition, often used to include child abuse, elder abuse, and other violent acts between family members. ,ife abuse, wife beating, and battering are descriptive terms that have lost popularity recently for at least two reasons

There is acknowledgment that many victims are not actually married to the abuser, but rather cohabiting or in other arrangements. 012

*buse can take other forms than physical abuse. 3ther forms of abuse may be constantly occurring, while physical abuse happens occasionally.

+ales as well as females are victims of domestic violence.

These other forms of abuse have the potential to lead to mental illness, self harm, and even attempts at suicide. &iolence by a person against their intimate partner is often done as a way for controlling their partner, even if this kind of violence is not the most fre4uent. +any types of intimate partner violence occur, including violence between gay and lesbian couples, and by women against their male partners. #istinctions are made among the types of violence, motives of perpetrators, and the social and cultural context based upon patterns across numerous incidents and motives of the perpetrator. Types of violence identified by 5ohnson-

6ommon couple violence $66&' is not connected to general control behavior, but arises in a single argument where one or both partners physically lash out at the other.

Intimate terrorism $IT' may also involve emotional and psychological abuse. Intimate terrorism is one element in a general pattern of control by one partner over the other. Intimate terrorism is less common than common couple violence, more likely to escalate over time, not as likely to be mutual, and more likely to involve serious in"ury. It batterers include two types- .7enerally violent antisocial. and .dysphoric borderline.. The first type includes men with general

psychopathic and violent tendencies. The second type are men who are emotionally dependent on the relationship. Support for this typology has been found in subse4uent evaluations.

&iolent resistance $&8', sometimes thought of as .self defense., is violence perpetrated by victims against their abusive partners.

+utual violent control $+&6' is rare type of intimate partner violence occurring when both partners act in a violent manner, battling for control.

*ll forms of domestic abuse have one purpose- to gain and maintain control over the victim. *busers use many tactics to exert power over their spouse or partnerdominance, humiliation, isolation, threats, intimidation, denial and blame. %hysical abuse is abuse involving contact intended to cause feelings of intimidation, pain, in"ury, or other physical suffering or bodily harm. %hysical abuse includes hitting, slapping, punching, choking, pushing, burning and other types of

contact that result in physical in"ury to the victim. %hysical abuse can also include behaviors such as denying the victim of medical care when needed, depriving the victim of sleep or other functions necessary to live, or forcing the victim to engage in drug)alcohol use against his)her will. If a person is suffering from any physical harm then they are experiencing physical abuse. This pain can be experienced on any level. It can also include inflicting physical in"ury onto other targets, such as children or pets, in order to cause psychological harm to the victim. Sexual abuse is any situation in which force or threat is used to obtain participation in unwanted sexual activity. 6oercing a person to engage in sexual activity against their will, even if that person is a spouse or intimate partner with whom consensual sex has occurred, is an act of aggression and violence. 9motional abuse $also called psychological abuse or mental abuse' can include humiliating the victim privately or publicly, controlling what the victim can and cannot do, withholding information from the victim, deliberately doing something to make the victim feel diminished or embarrassed, isolating the victim from friends and family, implicitly blackmailing the victim by harming others when the victim expresses independence or happiness, or denying the victim access to money or other basic resources and necessities. #egradation in any form can be considered psychological abuse. 9motional abuse can include verbal abuse and is defined as any behavior that threatens, intimidates, undermines the victims self worth or self esteem, or controls the victims freedom. This can include threatening the victim with in"ury or harm, telling the victim that they will be killed if they ever leave the relationship, and public humiliation.

6onstant criticism, name calling, and making statements that damage the victims self esteem are also common verbal forms of emotional abuse. 3ften perpetrators will use children to engage in emotional abuse by teaching them to harshly critici:e the victim as well. 9motional abuse includes conflicting actions or statements which are designed to confuse and create insecurity in the victim. These behaviors also lead the victim to 4uestion themselves, causing them to believe that they are making up the abuse or that the abuse is their fault. 9motional abuse includes forceful efforts to isolate the victim, keeping them from contacting friends or family. This is intended to eliminate those who might try to help the victim leave the relationship and to create a lack of resources for them to rely on if they were to leave. Isolation results in damaging the victims sense of internal strength, leaving them feeling helpless and unable to escape from the situation. %eople who are being emotionally abused often feel as if they do not own themselves( rather, they may feel that their significant other has nearly total control over them. ,omen or men undergoing emotional abuse often suffer from depression, which puts them at increased risk for suicide, eating disorders, and drug and alcohol abuse. &erbal abuse is a form of emotionally abusive behavior involving the use of language. &erbal abuse can also be referred to as the act of threatening. Through threatening a person can blatantly say they will harm you in any way and will also be considered as abuse. It may include profanity but can occur with or without the use of expletives.

&erbal abuse may include aggressive actions such as name calling, blaming, ridicule, disrespect, and criticism, but there are also less obviously aggressive forms of verbal abuse. Statements that may seem benign on the surface can be thinly veiled attempts to humiliate( falsely accuse( or manipulate others to submit to undesirable behavior, make others feel unwanted and unloved, threaten others economically, or isolate victims from support system. In 5ekyll and ;yde behaviors, the abuser may fluctuate between sudden rages and false "oviality toward the victim( or may simply show a very different .face. to the outside world than to the victim. ,hile oral communication is the most common form of verbal abuse, it includes abusive communication in written form. 9conomic abuse is a form of abuse when one intimate partner has control over the other partner<s access to economic resources. 9conomic abuse may involve preventing a spouse from resource ac4uisition, limiting the amount of resources to use by the victim, or by exploiting economic resources of the victim. The motive behind preventing a spouse from ac4uiring resources is to diminish victim<s capacity to support himself)herself, thus forcing him)her to depend on the perpetrator financially, which includes preventing the victim from obtaining education, finding employment, maintaining or advancing their careers, and ac4uiring assets. In addition, the abuser may also put the victim on an allowance, closely monitor how the victim spends money, spend victim<s money without his)her consent and creating debt, or completely spend victim<s savings to limit available resources



It should be obvious why society assumes that men are almost never victims of domestic violence=such abuse has been minimi:ed, "ustified, and ignored for a very long time.> %opular culture has had a great impact on minimi:ing the problem of domestic violence against men. ?pon hearing about the topic of battered men, the publics first reaction is usually that of incredulity and amusement. ;istorically, battered husbands have been ignored, ridiculed, and chastised. %rint media has also made battered men a topic for "okes, a common example being the stereotypical cartoon image of a woman chasing her husband while wielding a rolling pin above her head. * researcher has also noted that women are depicted as the perpetrators in seventy three percent of newspaper comics addressing domestic violence situations. /urthermore, surveys regarding public attitudes about slapping have changed dramatically for men, but not for women. +ovies and television have continually presented scenes in which women who, upon being sub"ected to emotionally upsetting circumstances, immediately slap the man who is the cause of them. The audiences reaction can range from that of laughter and cheer to even applause( however, were a man to do the same things, the reaction would be 4uite the opposite. The media is also instrumental in perpetuating this stereotype, and in effect is detrimental to the recognition of domestic violence against men. !ews headlines regarding domestic violence against men have been phrased in such a way as to be sensational and evoke humor.

#ue to gender stereotypes regarding domestic violence against men, social ridicule is the fear that confronts male spousal abuse victims. +en perceive society as expecting them to be the strong, dominant party in their intimate relationships, and therefore are less willing to report incidents of domestic violence. +en are less likely to call law enforcement, even when there is an in"ury, because they feel shame about disclosing family violence, especially since the police adhere to traditional gender role expectations. ;ence, the stereotypical male feels shame and inade4uacy when he reali:es that he cannot keep his wife under control. The impact of domestic violence is also less apparent and less likely to come to the attention of others outside of law enforcement when a man is abused. /or example, it is assumed that a man with a bruised or black eye was involved in a fight with another man, he was in"ured during employment, or was playing a contact sport. Societys disbelief and the humiliation directed towards abused men makes disclosure even more difficult. Since the general public refuses to confront the issue of domestic violence against men, one would assume that in the professional realm of shelters and counseling, there would be more recognition of this problem=unfortunately, this is not the case. *nother reason for abuse against men not being recogni:ed in the area of domestic violence is that unlike the numerous support groups available for women, there are hardly any men<s groups, or more importantly, movements, representing the issues affecting such men. *lso, many therapists and clinicians are resistant in

believing that women are abusers, and hence rarely ask 4uestions of their male clients about the possibility of domestic violence. /or almost thirty years, the battered women<s movement has worked to provide services while, at the same time, advocating for

change in laws and institutions. Since the eighties, there have been programs offering direct services for survivors of domestic violence. ,hile abused women are fortunate to have such resources available to them, the domestic violence movement has neglected to address the problem of abused men in its entirety. This domestic violence leads to another critical factor that has great influence on whether domestic violence against men will ever be acknowledged. *dvocates against domestic violence continually point out that silence regarding domestic violence only increases the probability that this social problem will intensify, yet these same advocates have acted to ensure that there will not be e4ual recognition for all victims. *ccording to #avid @. /ontes, this is due to any discussion of the problem of battered men considered politically incorrect.>7ender feminists, compared to e4uity feminists are primarily, if not exclusively interested in showcasing the maltreatment of females by males in society and are not particularly interested in showcasing the maltreatment of males by females, especially in the area of spousal abuse and child abuse,> says /ontes. These same gender feminists were involved in establishing and operating domestic violence shelters around the country. ,ithout feminists, there might not be the shelters and support available to women today, but it should also be recogni:ed that many shelters across the country have become havens for feminists to gather and promulgate their beliefs,> says /ontes. 9ven within the realm of legal academia, there appears to be a lack of recognition of the problem of domestic violence against men. ,hile there is an astronomical amount of scholarly legal information regarding domestic violence against women, legal writing addressing domestic violence against men is scarce, almost non existent. Interestingly, the stereotypical notion of e4uating domestic violence with abused women is prevalent

even in legal databases. 3f the few legal writings that do mention this papers topic, the ma"ority to critici:e the validity of domestic violence against men, and therefore do not analy:e their own topic as it pertains to abused men. It is very difficult to address domestic violence against men if one must overcome barriers that hinder the flow and discussion of this topic even in the realm of legal academia. /or example, each study uses varied definitions for what constitutes domestic violence( some studies only consider serious assault, while others also include slapping, pushing, and kicking. /eminists have stretched the definition of abuse to also include acts of lying, humiliation, withholding information, and refusing to help with child care or housework.> /urthermore, a general pattern of underreporting by men can also contribute to skewed statistics. *bused men fail to complain to authorities at even greater rates than women due to the negative gender stereotypes that result from men admitting that they have been beaten by a woman. 6onversely, women are more likely to report their victimi:ation than men. ?nderreporting is also prevalent in in"uries sustained during domestic violence episodes. Two thirds of the in"uries reported as part of a domestic violence related physical assault are scratches, bruises, or welts. +ost men would not consider such inflictions of in"ury as an assault and therefore would not report it as such. 9ven if domestic violence victims of domestic violence do seek medical attention, hospital staffs usually fail to identify domestic violence as the cause of the in"uries, especially because men are less inclined to report such in"uries due to social stereotypes. 6ritics argue that even if the studies did indicate an e4ual assault rate, the figures should be ignored because they include women acting in self defense. This is not true in the ma"ority of cases, because mutual abuse is the custom in violent

households. Some research suggests that fifty to eighty three percent of spousal abuse is either bi directional or mutual assault, and that only ten to twenty percent of assaults by women are clearly for self defense reasons. In order to understand that men face similar spousal abuse rates as women, more accurate studies need to be conducted. The result will be undeniable evidence supporting the argument for recogni:ing domestic violence against men. In the interim, while social scientists and academics debate the statistics, it is imperative that appropriate legislation be enacted to address the legal ine4uities facing male victims of domestic violence.