Female violence against men

Whenever the subject of domestic violence comes up, there is always a man keen to get in there and make clear that domestic violence is also something women do to men. I find this difficult and problematic. First up, I know a number of men who have been victims of domestic violence. I know it exists. I suspect women generally know it exists, and if we didn’t – there are always men about ready to remind everyone.

All the evidence that is out there suggests that domestic abuse, and domestic violence have a massive gender imbalance in them. The victims are overwhelmingly female, and the perpetrators are overwhelmingly male. Yes, female violence exists, yes, domestic abuse can and does happen in gay and lesbian relationships too. But mostly, this is male on female violence, according to all the statistics I have ever seen.

But here’s the thing. Men who wish to speak up about male victims of domestic abuse often say that the problem is under reporting. Men don’t talk about it because they’re embarrassed. Maybe no one has ever researched this, I don’t know – if you do know of research, I’d like to hear it.

Under-reporting is not an exclusively male issue. Here’s why women don’t report domestic abuse reliably. They are afraid that if they speak up, they will be killed, or their children will be killed, or their family members or pets. Or that they, their children, pets etc will be violently or emotionally punished in response to them speaking out. Or that social services will take their children away. The threat of violence is a reoccurring feature in domestic abuse, even when violence is not yet present. Not a fear of social embarrassment – which, sure, is uncomfortable, but fear of potentially fatal consequences. Fear of what happens if you speak up, and the perpetrator does not go to prison, and knows where you live. Or lives with you. If their name is on the property in some way, you can’t legally change the locks. Where are you going to go to be safe? Many women don’t talk about what they’ve been through until after they have safely escaped. Trying to get out increases your risk of being killed.

When a man is killed in a domestic violence incident, it tends to make national news. Typically, two women die every week at the hands of a partner in the UK, figures from other countries seem to be about the same, or worse. It has to be especially gruesome or also involve children to make the news. It’s not really news after all, it’s commonplace. This is not about victims reporting or not reporting, this is about corpses. This is about how many bodies can be attributed to spousal violence.

So please, can we stop suggesting that hypothetical men being too embarrassed to report domestic violence is somehow comparable, and overlooked, and in need of more care and attention, than the routine murder of female abuse victims.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

6 responses to “Female violence against men

  • neptunesdolphins

    I agree. I do have a son who as a teenager was raped by a woman. When he and I reported it to the police, he was disbelieved. I think that an aspect of not reporting rape and abuse is being told “we don’t believe you.” How do we turn that around with the authorities?

    • Nimue Brown

      Specific issues with actual victims I am always going to take seriously. Failure to recognise that male minors are also minors and should not be sexualised by adults is such a big thing. And the right to everyone to be ehard and have their active consent sought and their lack of consent honoured. Sadly I think long term culture shifts are the only answer here, which does little to help anyone who is suffering right now.

  • Blog Woman!!!

    The attempt to dilute or somewhat neutralize the issue of DA towards women is in itself another exercise in abuse. Whataboutism is about distraction. These people wouldn’t go to a rally for cancer to ask why they’re not talking about diabetes. I don’t much pay them any attention anymore, but rather suggest they hurry to organize their own efforts for your their cause.

  • G. B. Marian

    I don’t know if you’ll be able to access the full article without paying a crap-ton of moolah (unless you happen to be a student or work at a university with an institutional subscription to the website), but here is something that might potentially help you in terms of research on female violence against men and how often it happens. It’s not specifically looking at that, but from what I’m reading in the abstract, the results of this study seem to confirm that male violence against women is indeed far more prevalent.


    And just in case that link doesn’t work:

    Situational contexts of rural violence: A comparison of male and female perpetration

    Callie Marie Rennison, Walter S DeKeseredy
    Journal of contemporary criminal justice 33 (2), 189-206, 2017

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