Can Men be Victims of Domestic Violence?
The short answer to this is – yes, men can definitely be victims of domestic violence. A lot of men show up in emergency rooms with serious injuries sustained from domestic violence incidents.
In fact, 1 in 4 men in the United States has experienced physical violence by an intimate partner.
What is Domestic Violence
In California, domestic battery is a crime of violence within the larger category of domestic violence. Domestic battery is governed by California Penal Code 243(e)(1). Penal Code 243(e)(1) defines domestic battery as a battery upon an intimate partner.
There are more serious domestic violence charges under Penal Code 273.5 that can be either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the level of injury and case circumstances.
Additionally, domestic violence can include mental or physical abuse at the hands of an intimate partner.
Important Definitions to Understand
A battery is the willful or unlawful use of force or violence on someone else. Making contact with another person is enough. The touching does not have to cause pain or injury of any kind.
An intimate partner can be the defendant’s current spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, fiancé, mother or father of the defendant’s child, a co-parent, or a person the defendant has or had a dating relationship with.
Misconceptions about Men as Victims of Domestic Violence
There are many misconceptions about domestic violence – one of the largest being that men can’t be “victims” for various reasons. Some such reasons include:
- Violence initiated by women against a man has often been seen as self-defense
- Women cannot inflict serious injuries on a man, as she is obviously the one who is physically weaker
- Women are typically “smaller” or shorter than men, so that does not fit the idea of domestic violence
- Police enter domestic violence situations assuming the female is the victim
- Typically women cry or are more emotional than men when they are hurt or need help
A lot of the time, the reason male-victim cases are not discussed, is because they aren’t reported. It is much less likely for a man to report violence against him by his female partner.
Besides the above-mentioned misconceptions about domestic violence, another big misconception is that same-sex couples are rarely involved in domestic incidents.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. A lot of the time, same-sex domestic violence incidents are more dangerous than heterosexual domestic violence.
Same-sex domestic violence victims often experience multiple “types” of violence, including:
- Threats of ‘outing’ when the victim has not openly admitted to being a lesbian. In such a case the victim continues to withstand abuse for fear of other people knowing.
- Acts of psychological domination
- Physical violence
- Threats with weapons
Additionally, just as male victims often don’t report violence against them by their female partners, same-sex victims often don’t report violence against them.