Domestic Violence Against Men And The Difficulty In Recognizing It

Domestic Violence Against Men Difficulty Recognizing It

Just like domestic violence against women is a harsh reality of our society, so is domestic violence against men. Unfortunately, most people fail to acknowledge and recognize the dangers and prevalence of men as victims of domestic violence, due to years of social conditioning, brainwashing, and gender stereotyping.

Key Points

  • Gender stereotypes make it difficult to view men as victims and women as perpetrators of domestic abuse.
  • Female perpetrators tend to use different methods of abuse than men, often relying on psychological abuse and manipulation.
  • Male victims of abuse often feel isolated, embarrassed, and emasculated, making it difficult for them to come forward.

Very little is known about domestic violence among heterosexual or “straight” men. There have been few studies conducted that include men as victims, and those that have been completed focus primarily on same-gender relationships, holding to the commonly-held stereotype that an adult straight man cannot be abused by a female partner.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 out of 9 men has reported experiencing intimate partner violence, though it is probably fair to assume that this statistic does not take into account the tendency of men to underreport domestic violence due to gender roles and the accompanying embarrassment.

Related: Misandry: How We Rarely Think About This Invisible Hatred of Men

In my experience working with survivors of domestic violence, I find that female abusers usually operate differently than males, partially due to their inability to overpower male partners, who tend to be more physically intimidating, and also due to how females are socialized in our society.

Female abusers usually resort to non-physical forms of abuse on a psychological level, such as revenge-seeking behaviors (spreading rumors or revenge postings on social media), stalking, and emotional abuse. Women know logically that they will most likely not be able to physically surpass a man’s capabilities, but they have enhanced other, more cunning skills: psychological warfare.

Unfortunately, I find that this form of abuse is capable of more harm due to it being a lot harder to spot and even more difficult to prove. Few legal structures exist to curtail non-physical forms of domestic violence, making these tactics go unnoticed—and unstopped—for longer than physical violence would be tolerated.

domestic violence against men
Domestic violence against men

There is a great deal of shame among male domestic violence survivors, with feelings of weakness, emasculation, and embarrassment being some of the common sentiments I hear expressed. Not only are these men combating trauma from the abuse, but they also suffer from fighting against societal stereotypes.

Many abuse survivors share common themes of self-doubt and frequent questioning of their abuse, but when the abuse is non-physical, these feelings exacerbate an already present uncertainty. This can lead to people, including the victim, asking “But is the abuse really that bad?” or “How much damage can one woman do?”

Until recently, the idea of heterosexual men being victims of domestic violence was barely considered. Gender stereotypes in our culture leave little room for cishet (“straight”) men to admit to being victims of any form of violence at the hands of a woman.

While it is true that the majority of domestic violence victims are female, this leaves only a small space for men who come forward needing support. It’s a little bit like priority seating on a rescue boat: women and children first. Due to not fitting our gender role expectations, male victims of abuse do not receive equal protection in the eyes of the law.

Related: Abuse Knows No Gender: Real Life Examples Of How Women Abuse Against Men

Due to the intimate and tight-lipped nature of domestic violence, it is normal that victims feel isolated, and it is common for them to feel that they are the only ones with this experience. Being a male in our culture adds another element of shame, due to our socialization of men as being unable to discuss feelings and concerns with others.

Most people would assume that a man would be able to stop any unwanted actions of domestic violence and therefore don’t take it too seriously when these cases inevitably present themselves. This creates an environment that is not conducive to supporting men through domestic abuse.

If you think you are experiencing, or suspect a man you care about might be going through an abusive situation, here are some signs to look out for:

  1. Extreme jealousy or possessiveness from the partner — not being able to attend functions or go out with friends alone or allow other forms of privacy.
  2. Being scared of his partner’s reaction to texts/calls/social media requests from other women.
  3. The partner tells very personal details about the partner or the relationship out of malice, “making fun” of him.
  4. The partner threatens to kill herself if he does/does not behave in a certain way or do a certain thing asked of him.
  5. Having other people do their dirty work — asking friends to drive by his house, or otherwise checking up on him.
  6. Bragging about trying to get him fired from his job or another “punishment” for leaving the relationship.

Want to know more about domestic violence against men? Check this video out below!

Domestic violence against men


Seelau EP, Seelau SM, Poorman PB. Gender and role-based perceptions of domestic abuse: does sexual orientation matter? Behav Sci Law. 2003;21(2):199-214. doi: 10.1002/bsl.524. PMID: 12645045.

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Accessed 12/15/2021.

Written By Kaytlyn Gillis 
Originally Appeared On Psychology Today 
Domestic Violence Against Men pin
Domestic Violence Against Men And The Difficulty In Recognizing It
Domestic Violence Against Men Difficulty Recognizing pin

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Up Next

23 Dark Signs Of Religious Trauma and How to Heal

Dark Signs Of Religious Trauma Syndrome and How to Heal

Ever felt a tug at your soul or questioned your beliefs? Let’s explore the lesser-known signs of religious trauma and how to reclaim your peace from its impact.

If there’s any topic that has impacted my life so deeply – and yet I’ve been putting off writing for over ten years – it’s religious trauma.

The topic of religious trauma is such an inflammatory topic, and one that has harmed so many people, that I’m going to try and approach it as delicately as I can.

Religious trauma is pervasive and more widespread than I believe most people are aware of. After all, the foundation of most modern societies are based on religious ideals, whether you live in the east or west.

So to get this out of the way be

Up Next

The Narcissistic Stare: How A Narcissist Uses Stare To Control You and 5 Ways To Protect Yourself

Narcissistic Stare | Why Do Narcissists Stare? Coping Tips

The human gaze holds immense power, capable of expressing emotions, desires, and even hidden intentions. Among the many intriguing forms of eye contact, the narcissistic stare stands out as an enigmatic phenomenon that both fascinates and perplexes. 

But what is the narcissistic stare? Well, have you ever encountered someone whose gaze seemed to penetrate your very soul, leaving you feeling exposed and uncomfortable? 

Let us delve into this fascinating concept, exploring what is the narcissistic stare, why do narcissists stare and the different variations it takes on, including the malignant narcissist stare and the female narcissistic stare.

What is the Narcissistic Stare?

Up Next

8 Harmful Signs of Mental Illness in Women: A Comprehensive Guide For Identifying Red Flags

Harmful Signs of Mental Illness in Women And Treatment

Recognizing the signs of mental illness in women is crucial when addressing specific mental health issues that women face. It’s crucial to understand that the causes of these struggles affect not only women but everyone, and yet, our experiences can be uniquely different.

Mental illness, also known as mental health disorders, includes a variety of conditions that impact your mood, thoughts, and behavior. From depression and anxiety disorders to schizophrenia, eating disorders and addictive behaviors.

However, researchers have identified that although all genders suffer from mental health issues, women in particular show completely different symptoms and impa

Up Next

5 Stages Of A Narcissistic Relationship (And How To Escape Their Trap)

Stages Of A Narcissistic Relationship: Toxic Cycle

From euphoria to despair, the toxic relationship cycle leaves lasting scars. Learn the stages of a narcissistic relationship to protect yourself from the emotional rollercoaster and avoid lasting trauma.

Narcissistic relationships often go through a painful cycle that is a predictable outgrowth of narcissistic personality disorder. Central to understanding a narcissist’s behavior is that their relationships are transactional.

Their impaired boundaries and lack of empathy prevent them from seeing other people as separate three-dimensional beings with needs and feelings of their own.

Up Next

Disenchanted Childhood: The Effects Of Self Centered Parenting on Children

The Harmful Effects Of Self Centered Parenting on Children

When you are on the opposite side of self centered parenting, it can have far-reaching effects on you and your psyche. Growing up with selfish parents can take a heavy toll on your mental and emotional health, and these effects can be felt even when you are an adult.


Self absorbed parents create role-reversed relationships with their children in which the child psychologically caters to the parent.

Children show psychological responses to selfish parents depending upon the child’s personality.

Some children acquiesce to self-focused parents’ demands, while ot

Up Next

8 Signs Of Mommy Issues In A Woman and How It Haunts Her For Life

Signs Of Mommy Issues In A Woman: Maternal Scars

We often hear about “daddy issues” in pop culture, but less frequently discussed are “mommy issues”. Just like men, women can have unresolved emotional conflicts stemming from their relationship with their mothers. These signs of mommy issues in a woman, if left unaddressed, can manifest in various aspects of a woman’s life, affecting her relationships, self-worth, and overall mental well-being.

But what are the signs of a woman with mommy issues, and more importantly, what can you do when it comes to dealing with mommy issues? Let’s delve into the intricate world of mommy issues and find a way towards healing.

Up Next

People Who Only Take From You: 11 Signs Of Toxic Takers In Relationships

People Who Only Take: Signs Of Takers In Relationships

There are certain people who only take from others, and choose to be entitled and arrogant about it for their whole lives. Such toxic takers or self centred people demand and expect too much from others, whilst doing nothing in return. This article is going to talk in detail about the signs of people who only take and give nothing back.


People who demand too much from others have high self-esteem with anxiety and are inept at self-care.

Takers experience a higher mortality rate than those in give-and-take irelationships.

Expecting too much from others is lea