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Domestic violence against men
Domestic violence is a global epidemic, impacting millions of people across the globe each and every day. However, when most of us think about domestic violence or spousal abuse, we think of violence against women. In fact, there are countless documentaries, books, videos, support groups, foundations that raise awareness and provide support to women who are victims of domestic violence. However, domestic violence is not just a crime against women; it is a gender neutral issue that affects nearly as many men as women.

In fact, according to a study conducted by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1 in 4 men have been victims of physical violence (emotional and physical) by a spouse or domestic partner. While many would expect the ratio of women to be significantly higher, the study indicates that 1 in 3 women are domestic violence women; only slightly higher than the number of male victims.


Additionally, one in 10 men has experienced rape or stalking by an intimate partner. Despite these facts, our culture clings to narrow definitions of gender. 

While domestic violence against men is a global issue, men in certain countries are victimised by their female counterparts more than others. For example, men in India are statistically more likely to be victims of domestic violence than in other countries primarily because Indian law does not recognise female on male violence as a crime.

Before we explore the topic further, it is important to understand what domestic violence is.  In general, domestic violence is the "willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another." This can include physical violence, like rape, or emotional abuse.  While the means of abuse may differ from victim to victim, the primary component of domestic violence is one person's desire to maintain control, power, and dominance of the other.

(see, What is Domestic Violence? - (n.d.). Retrieved from

In the United States, men suffer from domestic violence like their Indian counterparts. However, U.S. laws do provide some relief for men. Of course, despite having these laws in place, U.S. men are less likely to obtain justice against a female abuser based upon existing gender bias. Unlike the U.S. laws, Indian law does not recognize domestic violence against men as a crime.

Under U.S. law, a man who is victimized by women can attempt to seek a restraining order from the courts to protect him or his children from continued abuse. However, in India, violence against men by women is essentially ignored or treated as a joke. There are no laws in India to protect men from domestic violence.

Even a cursory review of Indian legal cases reveals a myriad of instances where men who have been beaten by their wives, some to the point of permanent injury, are victimized a second time by the legal system.  In fact, there are some men who have been killed by their spouse, and yet the legal system does nothing about it.

So why is domestic violence against men ignored in such a manner? In India and many other countries around the world, there is a general belief, albeit misguided, that men simply cannot be victims of domestic violence. This is due to the antiquated notion that men are stronger than women and thus, women cannot physically or mentally abuse a male. Society is unsympathetic towards abused men and finds it easier to mock and make jokes about a man who is beaten by his wife than it does to find a solution to the problem. The gender bias against men must be addressed as the strength of a man means nothing when it comes to abuse by a female. Men suffer just as much, if not more, than abused women.

Because of this existing gender bias and its influence over legal systems, men often remain silent about being victims of abuse by their spouse. There are a number of reasons why men do not speak out more freely about such abuse. The following is an overview of some of the most common reasons.

The Legal System

As mentioned above, due to existing gender bias the legal system looks differently upon a woman who alleges abuse versus a man. Prosecutors and judges have preconceived notion's about the ability of a woman to victimize a man. There are so many court rulings that exist where a man attempts to obtain a restraining order because of abuse by his wife only to have the reason for the abuse questioned by a judge. In other words, the judge inquires as to what actions or abuse the man engaged in order to have angered his wife to the point of such violence. Most men believe that they will never obtain justice and will only become victims of the legal system.


Most men are taught from an early age that they must be strong. Many boys are told that it's not manly to express emotion, fear or to cry. As these boys grow into men these lessons stick with them. When they find themselves a victim of domestic violence their gender conditioning and pride prevents them from taking steps deal with the violence.


Another factor is that statically men become significantly depressed when they suffer domestic abuse. This may be partial because they know that most people will mock them or not believe them or worse, believe that they are the aggressor and that the woman is only fighting back to defend herself.


One final factor that drives men to internalize abuses is the fear that they will lose access to their children or relatives. Often, courts will limit or eliminate a man's access to their children because they believe that the tension or violence that exists in the home is not in the best interests of the children, despite the fact that the woman may be the cause of the violence.

The bottom line is that men are afraid to speak up about abuse because of the way that society looks at gender roles. This is something that must change. Men need to protect themselves from violence from woman and join support networks like Confidare who provide support and awareness.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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