By Alyssa Blake
Domestic abuse is an issue that affects many people — 1 in 4 women experience severe intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner contact sexual violence, or intimate partner stalking with impacts such as fearfulness, compared to 1 in 9 men according to The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Alhough men experience domestic abuse at a lower rate than women, it is still an issue that impacts them.
A study from the National Library of Medicine stated, “The included studies reported prevalence rates between 3.4% and 20.3% for physical violence, between 7.3% and 37% for psychological violence, and between 0.2% and 7% for sexual violence against physically and mentally healthy men.”
Kelly O’Rourke, the research associate for Florida State University’s Institute for Family Violence Studies and the Director of Domestic Violence Coordinating Council, recently shared the impacts of domestic abuse that she’s seen.
“When it comes to domestic abuse, women tend to be more psychologically abusive,” O’Rourke said. “Men can be beat down in the same psychological way as women.”
Hannah Cronic is the victim advocate at Florida A&M University (FAMU) who also shared her knowledge about male domestic abuse.
“Men are much more likely to be victims or survivors of domestic abuse than they are to be accused,” Cronic said. “Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse. It’s not just women. It’s not just non-binary people. Cisgender-men can also be victims.”
For college students specifically, men are almost equally affected by domestic abuse.
“A 2019 study by American Associations of Universities showed that since starting college 10.1 % of undergraduate students have reported intimate partner violence,” Cronic said. “The percentages show that 10% were male, 14.1% were female, and 21.5% were trans and non-binary students.”
Men are often hesitant to report their experiences.
“It makes them feel like they look weak to tell somebody they’re being abused by a woman,” O’Rourke said.
Cronic shared that shame is a reason that she has found that male survivors don’t seek help.
“With male survivors who are abused by a female partner, they don’t want to seem unmanly,” Cronic said. “When male survivors are dating other men there’s fear that people might find out that they’re gay and not help them.”
There is a lack of acknowledgment for male domestic abuse victims and it’s important for there to be resources for victims so that this can change.
“We started a prevention organization, “Going to the Beginning” where we train teenagers on what is domestic violence and abuse,” O’Rourke said. “One of the best things that boys can do is get training like this and spread it among their peers. It’s important to learn how certain cultural practices are problematic and be a better peer to your friends.”
Cronic has also found that talking to other men is helpful to men looking to share their experiences.
“Research has shown that when it comes to issues of violence, men like to talk to men,” Cronic said. “We welcome men into this work because there are certain conversations about masculinity that men just absorb better coming from other men. It’s important for not only preventing violence but also for helping people access resources.”
There are a growing number of resources in Tallahassee for domestic abuse victims.
“Refuge house is the main center to help abuse victims in Tallahasee,” Cronic said. “FSU, FAMU, and TCC also have campus advocates as well.”
It’s important for resources to be available to all domestic abuse victims, including men so that they are able to be open and seek help in unhealthy situations.