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MenWeb online journal ISSN: 1095-5240
February, 2012

Battered Men - The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence

Dating Violence Against Men

CDC Surveys:
Men More Often Victims of Dating Violence

2004, 2009 Youth Risk Behaviors Survey

According to the Centers for Disease Control, now more males than females are victims of teenage dating violence. Their 2003 Youth Risk Behavior Survey report found "that 8.9% of students (8.9% of males and 8.8% of females) reported PDV victimization during the 12 months preceding the survey." But the 2009 survey shows 9.3% of females, 10.3% of males were victims of physical violence.

2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey: Dating Violence

Here's what the 2009 report says:

During the 12 months before the survey, 9.8% of students nationwide had been hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend (i.e., dating violence) (Table 12). [Table 12 shows 9.3% of females, 10.3% of males. But the text does not mention this disparity - like they're trying to hide the fact.] The prevalence of dating violence was higher among 11th-grade male (11.5%) than 11th-grade female (9.1%) students. Overall, the prevalence of dating violence was higher among black (14.3%) and Hispanic (11.5%) than white (8.0%) students; higher among black (14.3%) than Hispanic (11.5%) students; higher among black female (14.8%) and Hispanic female (11.4%) than white female (7.2%) students; higher among black female (14.8%) than Hispanic female (11.4%) students; and higher among black male (13.8%) and Hispanic male (11.7%) than white male (8.8%) students. The prevalence of dating violence was higher among 11th-grade male (11.5%) and 12th-grade male (11.4%) than 9th-grade male (9.1%) students. Prevalence of dating violence ranged 7.4% to 17.8% across state surveys (median: 11.1%) and from 8.0% to 18.5% across local surveys (median: 12.0%)

Centers for Disease Control (2010), "Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance --- United States, 2009" Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: Surveillance Summaries June 4, 2010 / 59(SS05);1-142

2003 Youth Risk Behavior Survey

Here's what the 2003 report says:

By using data from the 2003 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), CDC analyzed the prevalence of physical dating violence (PDV) victimization among high school students and its association with five risk behaviors. The results indicated that 8.9% of students (8.9% of males and 8.8% of females) reported PDV victimization during the 12 months preceding the survey and that students reporting PDV victimization were more likely to engage in four of the five risk behaviors (i.e., sexual intercourse, attempted suicide, episodic heavy drinking, and physical fighting). (emphasis added)

Among all 14,956 students, 8.9% reported experiencing PDV victimization. The prevalence of PDV victimization was similar for males (8.9%) and females (8.8%) and similar by grade level (range: 8.1%--10.1%) (Table 1). Prevalence of reported PDV victimization was greater among blacks (13.9%) than whites (7.0%) and Hispanics (9.3%). In addition, prevalence of PDV victimization was greater among black males (13.7%) than white males (6.6%) and higher among black females (14.0%) than white females (7.5%) and Hispanic females (9.2%).

Centers for Disease Control (2006), "Physical Dating Violence Among High School Students --- United States, 2003" Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report MMWR Weekly, May 19, 2006 / 55(19);532-535

Assault and Sexual Coercion

What can you do?

Check out Books for or about Dating Violence.
Return to the MenWeb section on Battered Men.

Find out more about battered men


National Center for Victims of CrimeThe National Center for Victims of Crime says that that as many as 45 percent of females and 43 percent of males reported being the victim of violence from dating partners at least once.1

Note: If you have been the victim of dating violence (hitting, kicking, coerced into sex, stalking) please e-mail me and tell me about it. What happened? Did you tell anyone about it? Why or why not? Did you seek help? Why or why not? If you did seek help, did you get it? May we publish your story here? We'll do it anonymously, unless you give specific permission to use your name and/or e-mail address.

Know a young man who may be the victim of dating assault or sexual coercion? Print out this page and give it to him. Often, it'll be enough to get him to talk to you about it -- if not right away, perhaps in a bit. And talking to another man about it is the first step in healing -- in survival.

CDC rejects its own National Violence Against Women survey to maintain that six times as many men are victims of domestic violenceThe Centers for Disease Control "cook" the data and ignore their own study on domestic violence to gender-polarize the issue of dating violence, but many studies show that women initiate dating violence about as often as men.

Date Rape

Sexually Aggressive Women, by Anderson and Struckman-Johnson. Book cover. Order on-line
Order on-line

Date rape? You can't be serious! But we are. "Date Rape" is being coerced into having unwanted sex. There are lots of forms of coercion—physical force, as in traditional "sexual assault" or rape, is only one.

Peter B. Anderson, Ph.D.
Peter B. Anderson, Ph.D.

Dr. Peter Anderson of the University of New Orleans wrote an article a few years back, "Sexual Victimization: It Happens to Boys Too." You can read it here. It's worth the read.

Alan W. McEvoy, Ph.D.
Alan W. McEvoy, Ph.D.

Also check out Male Rape: It happens! Not just in prison or among gay men. It's by Dr. Alan W. McEvoy, author of the book If He is Raped

How does a woman force a guy to have unwanted sex? According to expert Cindi Struckman-Johnson, women are most likely to use psychological pressure such as verbal pleading and arguments, emotional blackmail, and deception. Another common approach of sexually aggressive women is to take advantage of a man's intoxicated state. A typical scenario, according to male victims, involves a predatory woman who encounters an inebriated man (or contributes to his drinking) and pursues him until he falls asleep or passes out. The woman then manually or orally stimulates him to erection and mounts him for sexual intercourse.

Sexually aggressive women only occasionally resort to force tactics, which we define as intimidation with size, threats of harm including blackmail, physical restraint, physical harm or use of a weapon. In most cases, the force was not extreme. Women locked men into cars, blocked their retreat from a room, grabbed at them, threw them down on beds and floors, sat on them, and tied them up. In some instances, women pinched, slapped and hit men who tried to stop their advances. A few men reported that women blackmailed them into having sex by threatening to divulge damaging information to parents, employers or girlfriends.

A (male) member of the Board of the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs told me of the son of a friend. When he wasn't aggressive enough, his date grabbed him by the crotch. The boy was too humiliated to want to tell anyone about it. What would be the outcry if a boy grabbed a girl by the crotch at that dance?

Unwanted sex? So he got lucky, right? Wrong! Unwanted is unwanted, for men as well as women. Men, like women, feel cheap and slimy after an event like that. It interferes with their sexual relationship with the woman they meet later and want to be romantically involved with. It objectifies women as well as men— a "hot topic" for feminists. It treats both parties as objects in which to "get off" in recreational sex, rather than people with whom to form a "whole person" romantic relationship.

It's also abusive. Abuse is about "power and control," as proponents of the "Duluth Model" of domestic violence are quick to tell you. Yes, women use sex for "power and control." And a woman who forces a man to have unwanted sex is exerting "power over."

Books on Dating Violence

What can you do? Talk about it. Too often, men feel a "double shame," the shame that a woman date-rape victim or battered woman feels, and the "man's shame" of not wanting sex or being beaten up by a woman and being mocked or laughed at for it. Don't wait until she cuts you open with a kitchen knife. If she's unreasonably jealous or controlling, if she's a "control freak," if she slaps you around or throws things, if she starts to destroy things that are personally important to you, don't ignore the signs! It's not going to get any better! Watch out for your own safety!


Martin S. Fiebert, Ph.D.

Books on Dating Violence

Men, as well as women, are subject to dating assault.

Everything on this site for battered men applies to boys and men physically assaulted by a date, a girlfriend or a partner, too.

Click here to find out if you are abused

Click here to continue

S.A.F.E. logo

S.A.F.E. ( 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.

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.

1 National Center for Victims of Crime, "Statistics: Teen Dating Violence." "A study of over 1,000 high school students found that 45 percent of females, and 43 percent of males, reported being the victim of violence from dating partners at least once (O ’Keefe,1998). O’Keefe M.; Trester L. (1998). "Victims of Dating Violence Among High School Students." Violence Against Women, 4(2): 195-223.


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