When most people think about domestic violence, they picture a woman being abused by a man. While it’s true that 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, the statistics regarding domestic violence against men are equally horrifying. A 2010 survey conducted by the CDC and the Department of Justice shows that, in that year, more men were victims of domestic violence than women. The survey also revealed that over 40% of all severe physical violence is directed at men.
Women and Violence
People change, and so do relationships. The stresses of daily life, taking care of a family, and the desire to make more money can take their toll on anyone, men and women alike. And yet, as a society, we tend to think of men as being the ones who lash out when they can’t handle anger or stress.
But that’s simply not true. Dr. Elizabeth bates, of the University of Cumbria, along with partners at the University of Central Lancashire, conducted a study to assess the physical aggression and controlling behavior exhibited by both sexes. What they found was shocking: women exhibit a stronger desire to control their partners and were even more likely to use physical aggression than men.
Domestic violence committed by women generally involves less physical harm than a man might, but that doesn’t make it less wrong. A woman who’s petite and has little muscle tone can still inflict a lot of physical and psychological damage on her partner. Women may be more inclined to use household items as weapons to leverage the odds in their favor and men, held back by the social and cultural backlash of hitting a woman, are less likely to retaliate.
Violence in Homosexual Relationships
You might think that the dynamic in a same-sex relationship would decrease the odds of domestic violence happening, but you’d be wrong. The CDC reports that lesbians and gay men experience both domestic and sexual violence at rates equal to or higher than those in heterosexual relationships. This particular study addresses both men and women, but still demonstrates that women can become violent in any type of intimate relationship.
How Violence Against Men Affects Children
Every year, more than 3 million children witness domestic violence in their own homes. Regardless of whether the act is committed by a man or a woman, domestic violence has a massive impact on children. Not only can it be permanently traumatizing, but it can pose great risk to the safety of the child. They’re more likely to suffer neglect and have health problems down the road. They’re also more likely to intervene when the domestic violence dispute is between their parents, placing them at great risk for injury.
Fathers who have children and an abusive partner are in a tricky situation. If they seek help, it might break up the family, a fear that persists despite the fact that the violence itself is already causing the family dynamic to crumble. Fathers also have to be concerned that the police, judge, and jury in a domestic violence case will side with the mother, especially if she is lying about how the events unfolded. Many women will simply claim that they were acting in self defense and that the male actually hit them first, in order to get custody of the children. Without hardcore evidence such as pictures, audio, or video, fathers may find their children in the hands of their abusive partner permanently.
What Options do Men Have?
Unfortunately, the odds are in the woman’s favor. Under current Colorado law, the best course of action for a man who is being abused is to leave the abusive partner before he ends up in jail as a result of her attacks and accusations. It is far better for a man to leave the abusive household before he has a chance to be wrongly charged with domestic violence.
If you have proof of your injuries or visible bruising, scratching, etc., you have the grounds to file a restraining order and make her leave the house. You could also go the route of waiting until she is away from home, packing your belongings, and leaving on your own. In any case, it’s likely that you’ll experience some skepticism from police or courthouse employees when claiming abuse by your wife/partner. The moral of the story for men is, before you make a single move, talk to an attorney.
Speak Up: End the Cycle
We’ve covered a lot of facts about domestic violence, but the number one fact about domestic violence is that most incidents are never even reported, especially when it’s a man suffering the abuse. For the chain to be broken, it’s critical that you speak up and talk about domestic violence against men. Sharing your story can encourage those in a similar situation to seek help before it’s too late. It could even help save a life.
Unfortunately, domestic violence is not just a women’s issue. Anybody can commit domestic abuse against their loved ones, and it happens all the time. These cases should never be handled alone. Colorado’s “fast track” procedures are an even better reason to speak to an attorney who knows the nuances of domestic violence laws.
The outcome of a domestic violence case can affect every aspect of your life, including where you live and even your right to own a gun. Don’t wait until it’s too late If you’ve been charged with, or have been a victim of domestic violence, call the attorneys at Wolf Law today. Your call and consultation is free and confidential.