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While most domestic violence victims are women, men encounter this problem far more often than you’d probably expect.  Just because the typical male is physically stronger than a woman doesn’t make it any easier to escape the violence or the relationship.  Abused men face skepticism from police and the community, a shortage of resources, and lots of legal obstacles, especially when it comes to getting custody of his children from an abusive partner. Remember: abuse often starts as emotional abuse and escalates to physical abuse.
But no matter what your age, job, or sexual orientation, you can overcome these things and escape the cycle of abuse.  

You’re not alone

If you’re a guy in an abusive relationship, it’s important to realize that you’re not alone.  It happens to men from all walks of life, cultures, and backgrounds.  Statistics suggest that as many as one in three domestic violence victims are male, but men are more reluctant to report abuse by women because they feel embarrassed, fear that they won’t be believed, or even fear that the police will assume they’re the perpetrator of the violence and not the victim just because of their gender. 


An abusive partner may hit, kick, bite, punch, spit, throw things, or destroy your stuff.  They may attack you while you're asleep or otherwise catch you by surprise as a way to compensate for a difference in physical strength.  They may also use a weapon (such as a gun or knife), strike you with an object, abuse or threaten your children, or even harm your pets.


Of course, domestic abuse is not limited to violence. Your partner may also:

  • Verbally humiliate, abuse, or belittle you in front of friends, coworkers, or family, and even on social media sites.

  • Act jealous, possessive, or harass you with accusations of infidelity. 

  • Take away your car keys or medications in an attempt to try and control where you go and who you see.

  • Attempt to control how you spend money or deliberately default on shared financial obligations.

  • Try to manipulate and isolate you by making false allegations to your friends, employer, or the police.

  • Threaten to leave and take your children if you report the abuse.  


Why Guys Don't Leave:

Most people have trouble understanding why a woman who is being abused doesn’t simply leave her partner; when the roles are reversed and the man is the victim, people can be even more confused.  But anyone who’s ever been in an abusive relationship knows that leaving really isn’t that simple. 


 You may feel that you have to stay in the relationship because:

  • You want to protect your children.

  • You feel ashamed.

  • Your religious beliefs dictate that you stay

  • Your self-worth is so low that you feel that this relationship is all that you deserve.

  • There are a lack of resources to help you.

  • You’re in a same-sex relationship but haven’t come out to family or friends, and you’re afraid that your partner might out you.

  • You’re in denial that there’s a problem, you believe that you can help your abuser, or your partner may have promised to change.


Finding Support:

Domestic abuse can have a serious physical and psychological impact, not only on you, but on your children as well.  The first step to stopping the abuse is to reach out to a friend, family member, or someone else that you can trust, or even a domestic abuse hotline. Admitting that there’s a problem doesn’t make you less of a man or a failure as a husband.  You are not weak, and you are not to blame for your partner’s actions.  Sharing details of your abuse can offer you a sense of relief and provide you with some much-needed support, while also building a case against your abuser and protecting your children.


When dealing with your abusive partner:

  • Leave if you can.

  • Never retaliate, as this can quickly lead to police intervention, arrest, or removal from your home.

  • Get evidence of the abuse, whether it’s in the form of police reports, pictures of damage or injuries, hospital documentation, etc.

  • Keep a cell phone, evidence, and important documents like birth certificates, IDs, etc. close at hand in case you need to leave quickly.

  • Obtain guidance from HAVEN’s advocates in terms of your social and legal resources, the possibility of getting a Protection From Abuse order, or recommendations to child custody advocates.  


Moving Forward:

Support from family and friends as well as counseling or therapy can help you move past your abusive relationship into a much healthier future.  After the trauma of an abusive relationship, you and your children may struggle with upsetting emotions and bad memories, but you can heal and move on. Even if you’re keen to dive into a new relationship and discover the intimacy and support that your previous relationship lacked, try to take things slowly.  Make sure you’re aware of any red flag behaviors in a new partner so that you don’t end up in a bad situation again, and try to learn what it takes to build a healthy, stable relationship.




If you're a man in an abusive relationship who is ready to take that first step towards getting help,

please get in contact with HAVEN today!


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