Domestic violence in men

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28% of the domestic violence victims in Tennessee in 2017 were men. If you’re a male who is in an abusive relationship, you are not alone.
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36% of the murder victims in domestic violence cases in Tennessee in 2017 were men. It’s a slightly disproportionate number that proves a point: abusive relationships are dangerous for men or women.
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As many as 25% of all men — 1 in 4 — have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner.

While domestic violence disproportionately impacts women, men can also be victims in abusive relationships — even heterosexual relationships.

In fact, of the 143 cases the Scott County Family Justice Center served in its first 10 months of operations, 25 — or a little more than 17% — involved men as victims. Statewide, men accounted for 28% of the victims of domestic violence in 2017, the most recent year for which statistics have been tabulated.

Domestic violence with men as victims should not be stigmatized, and men should not be afraid to seek help.

Just as is the case in relationships in which the man is the abuser, domestic violence against men takes on all forms — it can be physical, verbal, sexual or emotional; any means a partner can use in an effort to control you. An abusive partner may hit, kick, bite or throw things — of the ways women are physically abused by violent men — or the partner may use a weapon, attack you while you’re sleeping, abuse or threaten your children or harm your pets.

It’s important to realize that growing up in an abusive home can be just as harmful for children when women are the aggressors as it is when the men are the aggressors.

There are several reasons why men stay in abusive relationships. Overwhelmingly, they’re embarrassed. Societal norms dictate that the male is the breadwinner in the families, and men who are the victims of an abusive relationship often feel that they have failed that role. They’re embarrassed by what their families and friends will think of them if they reveal that they’ve been abused by their spouse or partner. They sometimes believe that law enforcement will be reluctant to believe them. And they feel the court will not award them custody of their children.

If you’re experiencing any of the following, you may be experiencing domestic violence.

• Your partner is verbally degrading, calling you names or insulting you.
• Your partner attempts to prevent you from going to work or school, or stop you from seeing family or friends.
• Your partner tries to control how you spend money or where you go.
• Your partner acts jealous or possessive and constantly accuses you of being unfaithful.
• Your partner is physically aggressive — hitting, kicking, shoving, slapping, choking you, your children or your pets.
• Your partner threatens you with a weapon or with threats of violence.
• Your partner forces you to have sex, or to engage in sexual acts against your will.

Finally, a sobering statistic: While men were victims in 28% of domestic violence cases in Tennessee in 2017, 36% of those killed as a result of domestic violence were men. It’s a slightly disproportionate number, and it drives home an important point: society may see men as the source of physical strength in a relationship, and indeed they usually are, but weapons are equalizers, and men who stay in abusive relationships can place the lives of themselves and their children at risk.

The important thing for men to know is that they are not alone. If you are a man in Scott County who is a victim of domestic abuse, there are other men within the community who are facing the same issues you’re facing. Law enforcement have an obligation to protect you just as they would protect any other victim. They will also not hesitate to protect your children.

Call the Scott County Family Justice Center, or stop by our offices. We can help you develop a safety plan. And, if you’re ready to leave an abusive relationship, we can help you with the next steps: obtaining an order of protection, seeking custody of your children and referring you to the resources you’ll need to pick up the pieces and move on with your life.

» For more resources, visit Male Survivor

Healing for Men

Men Healing, a 501(c)3 non-profit, offers “Weekends of Recovery” for men who are survivors of sexual trauma as a child or an adult.

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