What About the Men?

12-10-2015 10:14 AM

I get this question a lot when I talk about domestic violence. Inevitably someone asks about male victims. Yes, there are male victims.

However, one of our goals in domestic violence education is to draw attention to the astronomic number of women around our country, who are being abused in one form or another by their partners. And we're calling everyone, both male and female, to stand up against this.

We are not suggesting that all men are abusive. Actually, it's a select population of men who offend over and over.

Lundy Bancroft, an expert in the field and the author of Why Does He Do That, ran a program for abusive men for over 15 years. He cites in his book that between 2 and 4 million women are assaulted by their partners per year in the United States. Attacks by male partners are the No. 1 cause for injury to women between the ages of 15-44. The statistics are not the same for men. The National Domestic Violence Hotline cites that from 1994 to 2010, about four in five victims of intimate partner violence were female.

We know there are male victims. But they are the minority. The biggest proportion of the victims are female. Additionally, what we know is that often when there is a male victim, that abuse has occurred with a male partner.

The Dallas County Adult Intimate Partner Violence Fatality Review Team found that during the time period of 2009-2011 there were 34 deaths resulting from domestic violence in Dallas. Twenty-eight of those victims were women, and six were men. Two of the six men were killed by same gendered partners. So of the 34 domestic violence deaths in this case, 30 were by the hands of a male partner.

Does this mean that women are always kind and never say mean or hurtful things? Absolutely not. However, there is a key distinction to make. Even if a woman is hurtful, says mean things, or even becomes physically aggressive, typically her male partner is not afraid of her in the same way that she is afraid of him. Her behavior is most definitely unpleasant and unhealthy, but it's usually not part of a larger effort to control him.

Jessica Brazeal, LPC-S, is the Director of Professional and Clinical Services at Genesis Women’s Shelter in Dallas. For more than five years, she has worked with adult, teen and children victims of domestic violence at Genesis. As Clinical Director, she supervises 18 clinicians and 1,500 clients every year. Jessica is also certified to treat trauma through Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. Jessica holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Texas A&M University and a master's degree in Biblical Counseling from Dallas Theological Seminary.