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Battered Men - The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence

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Note: If you have been the victim of domestic violence, 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.

Check out MenWeb's listing of resources for battered men.

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.

Domestic Violence Against Men In Colorado   Domestic Violence Against Men In Colorado

This is a site designed to help male victims of domestic violence. This is not a site for women-haters. Everyone deserves freedom from domestic violence - women, children, and men. There are quite a few domestic violence service centers and websites that help women victims but few reach out to the male victim.

 Click here to go to the Men's Activism Web siteLots of good resources here
Active men's rights message boards
including one on domestic violence

Oregon Counseling   Oregon Counseling
Oregon Counseling: Non-Profit Consumer Protection Information, Education, Referral & Research

Handout on domestic violence against men. Referral resource.

Reason Online

Arrest that man! Police too-often arrest a man even when there's been a mutual scuffle that has been sorted out, the woman is not afraid for her safety and the woman does not want him arrested. That's the point of "Domestic Violence" by Cathy Young, in the April, 1998 issue of on-line Reason magazine.

"When Did You Last Beat Your Wife?", an piece by Erin Pizzey, founder of the first modern shelter for battered women, for The Observer (July 5, 1998), a major Sunday paper in England, as an op-ed piece to an article containing a "politically correct" feminist view on family violence.

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

Parential Alienation Syndrome. A 1997 summary from the Journal of Forensic Psychiatry
The Parental Alienation Syndrome, so named by Dr. Richard Gardner, is a distinctive family response to divorce in which the child becomes aligned with one parent and preoccupied with unjustified and/or exaggerated denigration of the other, target parent. In severe cases, the child's once love-bonded relationship with rejected/target parent is destroyed. Testimony on Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) in legal proceedings has sparked debate. This two-part article seeks to shed light on the debate by reviewing Gardner's work and that of others on PAS, integrating the concept of PAS with research on high conflict divorce and other related literature. The material is organized under topic headings such as parents who induce alienation, the child in PAS, the target/alienated parent, attorneys on PAS, and evaluation and intervention. Part II begins with the child in PAS. Case vignettes of moderate to severe PAS are presented in both parts, some of which illustrate the consequences for children and families when the system is successfully manipulated by the alienating parent. Part III is devoted to some difficult but effective interventions implemented by the author, her husband Randy Rand, Ed.D., and other colleagues.

What is PAS? From Dr. Gardniner's Web site

Dr. Martin Fiebert References Examining Asaults by Women on Their Spouses or Male partners: An Annotated Bibliography by Martin S. Fiebert, Department of Psychology, California State University, Long Beach. E-mail: This bibliography examines 95 scholarly investigations, 79 empirical studies and 16 reviews and/or analyses, which demonstrate that women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners. The aggregate sample size in the reviewed studies exceeds 60,000. An earlier version of this paper appeared in Sexuality and Culture, 1997, 1, 273-286. Portions of this paper were also presented at the American Psychological Society Convention in Washington, D.C. May 24, 1997.

Abused Men: The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence by Philip W. Cook. Phil's Web site has lots of good information. He also has information about his pamphlet Are You (or Someone You Care About) a Male Victim of Intimate Partner Violence? Signs of domestic violence, how men cope, why men stay, what men should do. Prepared by Phil Cook. Available from Arrowdot Productions, PO Box 951, Tualatin OR 97062 Min. 25 @ 20¢, $6.34 inclu. s/h. MenWeb has a review of the book and an article of Phil's, based on this book.

Holzman's Domestic Violence Against Males page

Sorting out the reasons couples turn violent Data on violence between men and women tell only part of the story. From the APA Monitor, published by the American Psychological Association. For years, Irene Frieze, PhD, wanted to keep rather quiet about her unexpected findings on dating violence. She was worried about how the mainstream media might spin her results, and how they might be interpreted by the feminist groups that had long lauded her work. Why the hesitancy? Frieze, a psychology professor at the University of Pittsburgh, and her colleagues had found in surveys of 300 college students that women appeared more likely than men to start physical altercations with a dating partner, usually in the form of slapping, shoving or pushing. ... But it’s not an easy topic to discuss. Some feminists deride the validity of such results, while men’s groups point to them as evidence that males are the unsung victims of domestic abuse.


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.

Alternatives to Anger

Jerry Medol's highly-successful gender-neutral and male-positive Kansas City project, Alternatives for Anger. "Our mission is to support and train men and women to stop reactionary and violent behavior; to use anger for empowerment and enrichment of life and for finding healing and joy; and, to be an advocate for people who are conscientiously taking responsibility for their feelings, behavior and needs."

Check out MenWeb's listing of resources for battered men.

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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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