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When people talk about domestic violence, they subconsciously assume that women are the victims. And the crime survey in England and Wales estimated that 1.3 million women and 695,000 men experienced domestic violence in 20191. We can see that domestic violence and abuse (DVA) against men is a seriously underestimated crime. It is not as rare as we might think.

Why aren’t we talking more about male victims of domestic violence? | The Drum

Can men only be the abuser, not the victims?

The current social climate is different for men and women who are victims of domestic violence, with women being told of domestic violence with sympathy and indignation, and men being treated as a ‘laughingstock’. Under this stereotypical perception that men are stronger and women are weaker, male victims are afraid that seeking help will lead to more ridicule and will only seek other help or even commit extreme acts when the situation is critical.

However, many of them simply don’t know who they can talk to about their ordeal, “Going to the police and saying I was beaten by my wife and kicked out of the house is bound to be laughed at by everyone.” Said Chen, a man who has suffered from domestic violence in China, referring to a mentality shared by many men.

Why men are suffering in silenceļ¼Ÿ

There are many reasons why DVA is not reported by men, including fear of retaliation or lack of trust or confidence in the police.

Fear of appearing less than masculine, feeling shame, embarrassment and not being able to live up to their masculine ideals, men choose to suffer domestic violence in silence, unable to even realize that they have become victims of domestic violence.

It is easy to see in this process that patriarchal culture not only oppresses women but also men. The role of masculinity and gender stereotypes have left men in some ways isolated and out of the picture. When it comes to gender discrimination, we all think of all the injustices that women encounter in society. What most people fail to realize is that sexism can actually have a negative effect on men as well, and DVA is one of these aspects.

  1. Rees. 2019. Male domestic abuse victims ‘suffering in silence’[]