Men as Victims of Abuse in Heterosexual Relationships

By Toby D. Goldsmith, M.D., and Maria Vera, Ph.D.
11 Nov 2000

While it occurs far less often than men battering women, women sometimes batter their male partners. How often women abuse men is the subject of much debate.

Studies report that women are victims of domestic violence at least three times more often than men. However, some men's groups argue that information on battered men is inaccurate. One reason for this, they say, is that some data have probably been kept out of studies because it is politically embarrassing.

Also, a woman hit by a man is more likely to be seriously injured than a man who is hit by a woman. For this reason, male victims are less likely to seek medical attention or other help. So critics say that statistics based on reports to professionals or reports of hospital treatment don't reflect the true number of male victims.

Male advocates also argue that men don't get equal protection under the domestic violence laws. They say the courts and police practice a double standard -- when men are injured and report the attack to the police, they are not taken seriously. They say a man who slaps a woman will probably be arrested, while a woman's violent actions will probably be dismissed as harmless.

Men who are in an abusive relationship should report the situation to law enforcement. They may also want to seek help from a mental health professional such as a counselor or psychologist.

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 29 Mar 2015
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