In previous years domestic violence was defined by men's attitudes towards women, which influenced them to feel they had the right to control their partners, therefore using violence if necessary. As a result of this domestic violence there on was perceived by the public to be violence against women. Kevan (2011) identifies that men are more likely to portray aggression and they make up the majority of perpetrators in public places. This argument has often been used by , however they have not taken into consideration that the violence used by men in public places such as football matches and night clubs are often against other men and not directly with women or individuals that they often know.
In recent years the stereotype of women being non violent has changed, and female violence has become a more public affair. Due to changes in society women are now drinking more and this has resulted in women being arrested for violent behaviour outside their homes. The typical stereotype of what a victim of domestic violence looks like would be a female, small and oppressed and the abuser would be portrayed as a male who is large and aggressive. However stereotyping can be dangerous and may leave the vulnerable individuals feeling like they do not fit around this stereotypical description and that they will be made fun of, which will subsequently prevent them from seeking help or support (shelter 2012)
Gelles’s (1997) states that women are equally as guilty of domestic violence towards their male partners, as males are to their female partners. He identifies that there is overwhelming information to state that violence to women by men is more damaging both physically and emotionally. However mankind Initiative (2012) states that domestic violence against men is more damaging as it destroys the males sense of pride, their self esteem and their stereotypical persona of being a strong masculine male who is the head of the family and the one who has the most power in the family.
Connell (2002) states that men and boys are more likely to control public spaces such as streets and playgrounds, they hold authority in many families and are relatively free from rape and domestic violence due to the stereotypical power that they hold. Connell (2002) also states that men receive much more emotional support from women without having the social obligation to reciprocate. Therefore due to this there is a taboo on the free expressions of emotions in males, especially vulnerability. This makes it harder for men to be able to report domestic violence or to confide in family and friends Generally speaking, men do not integrate themselves to others by talking about their feelings and this also makes it harder for them to confide in orders regarding being victims of domestic abuse (Connell 2002). Men are not known to confide in other male friends, family or colleagues due to the fear of being mocked, and there sense of pride being dented, leaving them with emotional and psychological pain as well as physical (Pandora 2009)
Often men are not able identify that they are victims of domestic violence or criminal assault, and as a result are unfortunately unlikely to be able to seek help (Pandora 2009). Social prejudice will also contribute to why males are less likely to report domestic abuse than women. Men find it more difficult than women to let other people know that they are in fact victims of domestic abuse and to ask for or to seek help. Men will have the pressure of not being taken seriously due to stereotypes and will be afraid that they will be criticised for allowing their partner to abuse them as men are portrayed to be stronger than women. The media also influence the decisions of males in reporting domestic abuse as the media mocks a man who is being abused, and makes a man being abused by his wife a figure of fun, by portraying him as weak and pathetic and no man wants to have this label attached to them (Pandora 2009).
Other factors which may contribute to some men staying quiet and continuing to be victimised with domestic abuse include wanting to continue to have contact with their children. They may feel that if they report the domestic abuse they will no longer be able to see their children and they do not want this therefore they continue to stay in the relationship and suffer from abuse from their partner. Some men feel that people will not believe them due to domestic violence being associated with women and that their partner can lie and say that they were in fact being abused by their male partner, which will be more believable to others, although this is not the case (Connell 2002)
Research carried out by Stets and Strauss (1990) suggests that men are 5 times less likely than women to talk about domestic violence to their friends and family. With a very small percentage of 1-2% (Stets and Strauss 1990) 0f men who are assaulted by their female partners reporting domestic abuse to outside agencies such as domestic abuse help lines or the police. This indicates that men may feel embarrassed, ashamed at their situation, similarly to women they may also think that it was a one off and that it will not happen again, or like previously discussed in this report they may not have acknowledged that they are in fact victims of domestic violence
There are numerous educational campaigns for women regarding domestic violence which are continuously advertised in public places and through the media, where a large sum of money is being spent in order to encourage women to seek help. However there is no similar service for men. Domestic violence in males has not been properly recognised and until there are similar campaigners for men as there are for women, it is unlikely that the correct statistics of men requiring help and support will be known.
More services and information is needed to encourage men who are victims of domestic abuse to seek help which allow them to have the encouragement and support to not feel ashamed of their situation. Men are not always aware of the service that they have on offer to them until they decide to confide in another person or if they come across advertisements stating what to do if you are a man in a domestic violence situation. Therefore more publicity needs to be made on domestic violence against men to enable them to report abuse that they may be suffering without suffering the extra pressure of how society perceives them ( Pandora 2009)
This assignment has explored and discussed domestic violence which arises against men. This essay has focused on why men are less likely to report domestic violence than women, the norms of society and the cultural aspects of domestic violence against men has also been explored in this assignment. I have used secondary research within this report carried out by R.W Connell, Pandora (2009)
Gelles, R. J, (1997) Intimate Violence and Families, 3rd Ed, Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications California
Kevan, N. (2011) The invisible domestic violence – against men. [Online] Available at: [Accessed: 28.4.12]
Mankind Initiative (2012) WHAT IS DOMESTIC ABUSE? [Online] Available at: [Accessed: 28.4.12].
Pandora, K. (2009) The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence: Men Abuse in Intimate Relationships. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 28.4.12].
R.W. Connell, R.C (2002) Masculinities, 2nd Ed, University of California press
Shelter (2012) Domestic abuse against men. [Online] Available at: [Accessed: 28.4.12].
Straus, M. A., & Gelles, R. J. (1990). Physical violence in American families: Risk factors and adaptations to violence in 8,145 families. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.
Thomas, D. (1993). Not guilty: The case in defence of men. New York: William Morrow and Company