Not a Two-Way street: Men are NOT the victims of what is meant by Domestic Violence and Abuse


Just as some mental problems are more prevalent among women (e.g. depression) or men (e.g. alcoholism); many crimes are very, very highly correlated with gender. Men commit near 100% of forcible rapes, 90% of murders, etc. It is a simple fact that men are usually larger and physically stronger than their female partners. It is true that men are far more often raised to enjoy and practice fighting, boxing and wrestling skills. Far more significantly, we live in a world where men globally have dominated women, physically, politically and economically, a stubbornly-held patriarchal domination which is deeply rooted in history and pre-history. So it is hardly surprising that men are the perpetrators of controlling or violent partner abuse.

But there is an adage in journalism that “When a dog bites a man, that’s not News; but when a man bites a dog, that’s News!” So perhaps on that impulse, the national press has always had a seeming fascination with the lurid possibility of “battered husbands” and frequently run articles with quotes and citations suggesting that this is a real but hidden problem. Many of these originate from so-called “Men’s Rights” groups, which proclaim that there are just as many battered husbands as battered wives. (The problem is not seen they say because the battered husbands are always just too embarrassed to tell anyone. As if women aren’t!)

Incredibly, in response to these claims, some funding for battered women’s programs has been reduced, on the grounds that equal funding should go to battered men. More indirectly, some authors and agencies and legislators have sought to linguistically de-gender the crime, describe it in phrases like “family violence,” and obfuscate the reality that this is a crime that men commit against women. (Domestic abuse among Lesbian and Gay male couples does also occur of course.)

Are there instances in which men are physically dominated and assaulted by their female partners? This does occur, often when a man has become weakened by a factor such as illness, injury, or old age. Even in these circumstances abuse by a woman is unusual and when it does occur, it is most often motivated by self defense, fighting back and other protections. Even in these instances, the language “battered husbands” is not useful especially in light of the thousands and even millions of women known to have suffered or been murdered at the hands of a male abuser.