Help for Battered Men
Why Men Don't Do Anything About It
Here’s some information from Phil Cook’s pamphlet for battered men. (Ordering information: see Phil's Web site. Why not order a handful and try to get your local DV shelter program to put them out?)
As my wife and I discussed this and reviewed case histories we're familiar with, we came up with five major, interrelated categories why a man--or a woman--might stay in an abusive relationship:
What will my friends, family, colleagues and neighbors think?
I probably deserved it.
It's not that bad.
If people got to know her, they'd see what a creative, or loving, or wonderful person she is.
It's too hard to do anything.
Another reason for staying is to protect the kids. The research shows that people--women as well as men--who assault their partners are likely to assault their children, too. If he leaves, chances are he'll never be able to come back. In today's climate, there's a good chance she'll be able to allege that he has assaulted her or assaulted or even sexually abused the kids, and get a protection order on her say-so, barring him from seeing the kids. This was a common theme in many of the battered men's personal stories here on MenWeb. Sorry, guys, but if you need to come up with a safety plan and plan out a way for you and the kids to leave the abusive relationship, you also need a "dose of reality" about what some of the risks and problems are. They aren't insurmountable problems, and many guys have overcome them, but they are difficult ones.
But there's another factor, too. If a man is being battered and trying to protect the kids, and he calls 911, too-frequently he is the one who ends up being arrested. This was another common theme in many of the battered men's personal stories here on MenWeb. At a minimum, he may experience problems getting the police to believe that he's been assaulted or that he needs police help. Family violence researcher Murray A. Straus observes:
Men are also less likely to call the police, even when there is injury, because, like women, they feel shame about disclosing family violence. But for many men, the shame is compounded by the shame of not being able to keep their wives under control. Among this group, a "real man" would be able to keep her under control. Moreover, the police tend to share these same traditional gender role expectations. This adds to the legal and regulatory presumption that the offender is a man. As a result, the police are reluctant to arrest women for domestic assault. Women know this. That is, they know they are likely to be able to get away with it. As in the case of other crimes, the probability of a woman assaulting her partner is strongly influenced by what she thinks she can get away with.
One man's story. Why don't men seek help? A male therapist who had to deal with abuse issues in his own life posted an answer to that on Usenet. Doug Flor was formerly a project coordinator for the Department of Child and Family Development and the Adolescent Development Research Program, Institute for Behavioral Research, The University of Georgia
S.A.F.E. (http://www.safe4all.org) concentrates on domestic violence against straight men, gay men, and lesbian women, because few services exist for these groups. Personal stories, a comprehensive listing of Web resources and books, info on local shelters and groups that help battered men or offer services for abusive women, suggestions on how you can make a difference in the lives of people affected by abuse. E-mail list and Bulletin Board.
Links to other info on the Web
Including media coverage of the topic