Domestic Abuse Against Men Cannot be Ignored

Image credit: American Fathers Liberation

Just like the case with male victims of human trafficking, the male victims of domestic abuse have been suffering silently. Johnny Depp's victory against his ex-wife, Amber Heard, stuck a knife at the heart of the #MeToo movement. Now it's seen that men could be abused by their female partners. How many men didn't have the same support or public outcry that Johnny Depp had? How many men had hashtags trending for them? Men have been underrepresented in domestic violence discussions for too long.

Before we continue, let's explain what domestic abuse is. According to, domestic abuse is "a pattern of one person trying to dominate or control another person." This crime is already underreported. While the majority of victims are women, men still make up a significant portion of domestic abuse cases. 1 in 4 males experience some form of abuse (i.e. stalking, hitting, etc.). It's horrifying. Many people will scoff and claim that these instances are rare, despite what statistics say.

You can easily Google stories of male victims to domestic violence and find several results. Society has this idea that only men can be manipulative and physical. That if a woman hits or verbally abuses a man, he can take it and/or deserves it. I came across one Reddit thread, where several men (and women) shared stories of domestic abuse. On another website,, you can visit the comment section and read heartbreaking stories of domestic abuse. Men are abused, and don't deserve to be ostracized.

This story absolutely blew me away: Actor Will Rastall and actress Eline Van Der Velden did a social experiment, where they both took turns screaming at each other and threatening violence, to resemble a domestic abuse situation, in a span of 90 minutes. When Will screamed at Eline and threatened her, several people stopped to make sure Eline wasn't in danger. Eline said in a matter of seconds of beginning the experiment, someone ran over to make sure she was okay. Very encouraging, right? So what happened when the roles were reversed, and Eline did the screaming and threatening? In the span of 90 minutes, only one person came to see if Will was alright. Even Will himself said that it was embarrassing and hurtful that nobody wanted to see if he was okay.

This leads to the question of why men don't come forward about their abuse. There's several reasons, and believe it or not, these reasons are similar to why women don't come forward.

Reason #1: Fear

The social stigmas that surround male victims pushes them from admitting their abuse. The fear of ostracization trumps them all. Anytime a man admits to someone he has been abused, majority of the time he is laughed at. "You couldn't fight back against a woman?" "You're such a wuss!" "A woman cannot hit or curse like a man!" In the same social experiment I shared, Van der Velden shared how some teenage boys recorded Will being "attacked," laughing at how he was getting "beat up" by a woman. "It was amusing to them that a woman was abusing a man." After all I have described, is it any wonder why men don't come forward? They're seen as the perpetrators only. There is the fear of being seen as the abuser. Again, gender biases have led people (including authorities) to believe if there is a call for domestic violence, the man has committed the atrocious actions. A woman can cause equal damage, emotionally and physically, to a man, as a man can to a woman.

Reason #2: Lack of resources

Unfortunately, because the media and the government only focus on female victims of domestic violence, there aren't many resources made available for men in the same abusive situation. And there is a need for them. Safe houses are necessary, yet there aren't many for men. Whatever resources are available are not highlighted enough, which leads to men not knowing about them.

Reason #3: Don't see themselves as victims

Going back to the first reason, because men are seen only as the aggressors, they do not see themselves as the victim. The media portrays men as the perpetrators. Society doesn't see them that way, so why would a man see himself as a victim? It's also considered weak or pathetic for a man to say he's been abused, especially when there isn't physical violence. The idea that psychological abuse isn't as bad as physical abuse is untrue. It can actually be worse. Many (male or female) will blame themselves for what happened.

What can be done?

I believe awareness is a vital part. As much as it shouldn't have taken such a high profile case to bring awareness to this issue, I'm grateful Johnny's trial has created conversation. Men weren't taken seriously until Depp admitted he was a victim. I have hope that Johnny's victory will lead to more men coming forward. There's going to be a turning point. In an era of equal rights and supporting victims, why are men left out in these discussions? This cannot be the case any longer. Abuse has no gender, and should be addressed as such.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive situation and need help, visit The National Domestic Violence Hotline or you can call them at 1-888-799-7233.

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