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Battered Men - The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Against Men

In the Media

Seattle Times Gender bias no cure for domestic violence, by Lisa Scott, founder of TABS (Taking Action against Bias in the System), in the Seattle Times Oct. 24, 2001. Letters to the Editor in reply, including N.O.W. Legal Defense Fund statement "There is no gender bias in our hope that better laws and public education will protect all Americans from domestic violence."
London Free Press Domestic woes not a one-way street , by Sharon Osvald, in the London Free Press November 6, 2001. "For all the times I stood up and shouted "unfair, unfair," on behalf on my own gender, it's now time for me to defend the other half of the room. Men are getting a bad deal. ..."
Bangor Daily News Battered males: A domestic abuse secret , by Ruth-Ellen Cohen, Of the NEWS Staff, in the Bangor Daily News Oct. 27, 2001. "It took Kevin Juneau almost seven years to end the cat-and-mouse game that was his marriage. In the meantime, he took the insults, punches and slaps his wife routinely heaped upon him."
The Oprah WInfrey Show

The Sunday Times (UK)

Salon on-line magazine

National Post On-Line (Canada)

National Public Radio (NPR) Morning Edition

ABC 20/20

The Oprah Winfrey Show. Wives Who Abuse Their Husbands. Aired March 1, 1999

Spouse Abuse Crackdown, Surprisingly, Nets Many Women
The New York Times (Nov. 23, 1999). By Carey Goldberg.
BOSTON -- Defenders of battered women long struggled to persuade authorities to crack down on brutal men who reigned by the fist at home. But those crackdowns have produced an unexpected consequence: in some places, one-quarter or more of arrests for domestic assault are not of men but of women.
MenWeb quoted and featured.

Deadlier Than the Male. The Sunday Times (UK) (Oct. 24, 1999) featured an excerpt from Melanie Phillips' book The Sex Change Society:
Feminised Britain and the Neutered Male

Hitting below the belt Easy to get, hellish to deal with, restraining orders have become the ultimate weapon in domestic disputes. © 1999 by Cathy Young

How can you stop a fight you can't see? Girls' 'underground' aggression worries educators. © 1999 by Patricia Pearson, Southam Inc. (Canadian National Post)

Fells Acres Child Abuse Case. National Public Radio Morning Edition. Not exactly "battered men," but relevant. Report on difficulty in dismissing questionable child abuse charges against a man, when the women involved were cleared.

ABC 20/20 Report with Barbara Walters. Men Battered by their wives. Aired Sept. 21, 1997

The Booming Domestic Violence Industry The social-work movement that fights domestic violence has grown large on state and federal tax monies. © 1999 by John McGuire

The Hidden Face of Domestic Abuse. from the High Plains Reader. © 1999 by Dakota Huseby

Abused husband demands justice from 'biased' system Former executive claims male victims aren't taken seriously by police and courts. By Jon Wells, from the Hamilton Spectator. © 1999

Warring couples sometimes abuse restraint orders: Judge disagrees, but critics contend civil protection orders `handed out like candy.' By Joanne Plank, from the Bellevue, WA Eastside Journal. © 1999

Lawyer Sentenced to One Year Affidavit falsely put man in jail. By Dan Horn, from The Cincinnati Enquirer. © 1999


Links to Other Media Coverage

ABC News Special Report

ABC News Aug. 4, 1998 Special Feature: Beating Up on Battered Men
and Reader Responses. The readers who responded were grateful to ABC News for bringing this problem to light. Many tell their personal stories.

Battering woman's story forces change in Michigan policy

Shelters must detail help for men By Gary Heinlein and Becky Beaupre / The Detroit News. Shelters for domestic abuse victims must tell the state what services they offer to battered men under a new reporting requirement, said officials in Lansing. "We decided that there had been an oversight and to fix it," said Kate Young of the Michigan Family Independence Agency. A follow on to the Detroit News Special Report: No place to run for male victims of domestic abuse: Shelters, support groups rare for men whose mates batter them at home, which includes Spotlight on Female Abuser: For 13 years, he never hit her .

Metro: Silicon Valley Weekly

Misgivings About Indoctrination in Perpetrator Treatment Programs. An article "Battery Row" from the April 3-9, 1997 issue of Metro (A Silicon Valley weekly). "As domestic violence hits epidemic levels, treatment of offenders has taken a radical feminist turn that some say favors ideology over results." By Ami Chen Mills

NovaNewsNet Battered men search for help. An article from Nova Net News (produced weekdays, excluding holidays, during the academic term by students at the University of King's College's School of Journalism in Halifax, Nova Scotia.) "This week, Heather Clarke, 42, of Lower Sackville, was sentenced to one year of community service for stabbing her husband. Her husband asked the court not to send her to jail because they have reconciled. The two have a history of abuse. In 1992, Clarke allegedly pushed her husband and broke his collarbone. One man, Kennedy O'Brien, was not surprised by this case - his girlfriend abused him too. What can men in Halifax do when they are being abused?"

UK Channel 4 logo

DEBBIE believes her boyfriend provoked her into violence by making her jealous. But she admits he never hit her back. She describes how manipulative she was with her partner. "I thought he had been sleeping with someone else and so when he was in bed once I lashed the duvet back and poured bleach on his genitals. I just thought he deserved it," she says.

"I've had broken ribs, I've had lots of cuts, I've had bruises, black eyes…clumps of hair would be missing where she pulled it out. I've had fingers broken. She's knocked me out once or twice," says one man. He is a nineteen stone security guard.

For a month following this show, Dispatches ran a toll-free support line for battered men. Here's a report on the results.

9pm Wednesday 6 January  Repeated at 1pm on Thursday 12 January 1999
A six foot security guard is knocked unconscious, stabbed and beaten - by his five foot high girlfriend. A weeping police officer describes how his wife tried to suffocate him with a pillow while he was sleeping. In a specially extended Dispatches reporter DEBORAH DAVIES reveals the extraordinary results of the largest ever survey of male victims of domestic violence.

Last year Dispatches exposed the truth about domestic violence against women in a survey which revealed that the law was failing to protect these women. The programme produced a flood of letters from men saying that they were victims too. Now Dispatches talks to men about why they have suffered and have no faith in the police, and to women who were violent to the partners they loved.

The proportion of male victims of domestic violence is small compared to women but the true scales of the problem is hard to assess as little research has been done about it. The Dispatches survey received responses from over 100 men. Dispatches has asked Professor KEVIN BROWNE of Birmingham University - an expert in domestic violence - to analyse its survey. The survey provides a comprehensive picture of the shocking nature and degree of violence that women are capable of on inflicting on their male partners.

Dispatches has interviewed several men who have suffered at the hands of their female partners. "I've had broken ribs, I've had lots of cuts, I've had bruises, black eyes…clumps of hair would be missing where she pulled it out. I've had fingers broken. She's knocked me out once or twice," says one man. He is a nineteen stone security guard.

Many victims describe how they have to suffer in silence, fearful no one will understand. STEVE is a site engineer. "Can you imagine going home and telling your parents that you're being abused? Can you imagine going into work - I was running jobs with 30 men. Can you imagine a man being broken down in tears sitting on a site gate crying?" he says.

The Dispatches survey reveals that the women who attack their partners are often depressed or from a violent background themselves. DEBBIE believes her boyfriend provoked her into violence by making her jealous. But she admits he never hit her back. She describes how manipulative she was with her partner. "I thought he had been sleeping with someone else and so when he was in bed once I lashed the duvet back and poured bleach on his genitals. I just thought he deserved it," she says.

Dispatches revealed last year how the law still lets down battered women. For men the situation is as bleak - because the police often assume it is the male victim who is the aggressor. A serving police officer, DAVID, who is a victim of domestic violence himself reveals how he was at an incident where the husband had been struck over the head by wife. His colleague arrested the husband, although David disagreed.

FIONA has undergone counselling for the violence she committed against her partner feels it is time the issue is addressed. "For years and years, battered women was kept behind closed doors. It's now about time it came out that men do suffer as well," she says.

The First Step Centre run a helpline for people experiencing domestic violence offering advice, information and counselling. Lines are open 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 11am to 4.30pm on Saturday and 2pm to 5pm on Sunday.Freephone 0800 281 281.

For a month following this show, Dispatches ran a toll-free support line for battered men. Here's a report on the results.

Mother Jones November/December 1994 cover Just as Fierce Mother Jones article by Katherine Dunn. In a provocative essay, feminist and author katherine dunn rejects the assumption that women are inherently less aggressive than men. "with the possibility of genuine equality visible in the distance," she argues, "it is self-destructive lunacy to deny the existence of women's enormous fighting heart. we don't just deserve power, we have it. it includes the ability to inflict damage. See also "other views."

I believe some women can be more aggressive than some men; I myself am much more prone to aggressive verbal and even, sometimes, physical ploys when I see myself as not being taken seriously or as seriously insulted. My husband has a small scar on his forearm that provides ample proof of female rage moving suddenly into violence. But even as I would identify myself as a ferocious feminist probably more motivated by outrage than by any other single factor, I do not equate, as Katherine Dunn appears to, female aggression with female violence. They are quite different.

For me the question is not "Are women as aggressive and violent as males?"--of course they can be, and sometimes are. But the two--aggression and violence--are not synonymous. ...

I [also] find it remarkable in an essay more or less embracing the naturalness of female hostility and violence [that] Dunn would select Lorena Bobbitt as an example of someone who should have paid time in jail for having the courage to do what few women have done--strike back at the "root" of the problem--the almighty phallus.

Kate Orland Bere   Durham, N.C.

I am doing a paper for my law journal about evidentiary rulings in cases where battered children use battered women's syndrome analogies, most specifically the Menendez case. In that household, according to evidence presented by the defense and not refuted by the prosecution, the mother was violent to her husband (in both self-defense and aggression) and very violent to her children, using things like pans, knives, brooms, belts, death threats, and fists to show her aggression. A number of commentators, some of whom seem to have not seen any of the testimony, ask "Why the mother?" as if it is impossible to conceive that kids could feel so threatened by their mother that they actually believe she poses a threat to their lives.

I have seen comments regarding the Menendez case that note that even if she was abusive, she was (fill in the blank, please): 1) still their mother, and should be respected; 2) the person who gave birth to them; 3) a woman, so how could she pose any threat to them?; 4) an absolute victim with no free will who was overpowered by her husband; or 5) only abusive to them because her husband was abusive to her, too. I find all these contentions laced with a tinge of disregard for the nature and structure of family violence, because it is obvious that, at least in the home, and at least towards the kids, the mother, the person who is supposed to protect and love, can be as dangerous as the father.

Heidi Howard, law student
Washington, D.C.


Other Resources

Domestic Violence in Washington: 25,473 Men a Year
According to a Nov. 1998 Department of Justice report on the National Violence Against Women Survey, 1,510,455 women and 834,732 men are victims of physical violence by an intimate. In Washington, that's 42,824 women and 25,473 men. That includes 2,754 on whom a knife was used, 5,508 threatened with a knife and 11,016 hit with an object. Here are the data.

Help for Battered Men Practical suggestions, Hotline numbers, on-line resources. Print it out and hand it to a man you think may be battered--your caring opens him up to talking about it.

Men's Stories Here are some personal stories by battered men, and links to sites with more of them. The more we talk about it, the more we tell our stories, the more we increase public awareness that men are battered and encourage battered men to get the help they need. Send us your story, so we can post it here (anonymously, of course, unless you tell us differently.)

What's Wrong with the Duluth Model? The "Duluth Model" is the approach most widely used for perpetrator treatment--but it gender polarizes the "people problem" of domestic violence.. What's wrong with the Duluth Model? It blames and shames men. It's based on ideology, not science. It ignores drinking, drugs and pathology. Only one cause, only one solution. There's no real evidence it works. It ignores domestic violence by women. Women who need help can't get it. It's taught by wounded healers.

Latest Research Findings National Violence Against Women survey shows 37.5% of victims each year are men. Men are at real risk of serious physical injury. Murray A. Straus looks at controversies in DV research. Martin Fiebert examines reasons women give for assaulting men. JAMA emergency room study shows equal number of men, woman victims.


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