Staying healthy (23)
- Cosmetic surgery: What to know beforehand
- Vaccines for adults: Which do you need?
- Cancer prevention: 7 tips to reduce your risk
- see all in Staying healthy
Dental care (7)
- Oral health: Brush up on dental care basics
- Oral health: A window to your overall health
- Calcium and calcium supplements: Achieving the right balance
- see all in Dental care
Skin care (17)
- Sunless tanning: A safe alternative to sunbathing
- Best sunscreen: Understand sunscreen options
- Skin care: 5 tips for healthy skin
- see all in Skin care
Nail care (1)
- Fingernails: Do's and don'ts for healthy nails
Eye care (9)
- Eye injury: Tips to protect vision
- Contact lenses: What to know before you buy
- LASIK eye surgery
- see all in Eye care
- Sleep aids: Understand over-the-counter options
- Napping: Do's and don'ts for healthy adults
- Sleep tips: 7 steps to better sleep
- see all in Sleep
Mental health (11)
- Empty nest syndrome: Tips for coping
- Self-esteem: 4 steps to feel better about yourself
- Self-esteem check: Too low, too high or just right?
- see all in Mental health
Healthy relationships (9)
- Domestic violence against men: Know the signs
- Domestic violence against women: Recognize patterns, seek help
- Forgiveness: Letting go of grudges and bitterness
- see all in Healthy relationships
Healthy at work (12)
- Travel workout: Fitness tips for business travelers
- Workplace exercises: How to burn calories at work
- Desk stretches: How-to video collection
- see all in Healthy at work
Domestic violence against men: Know the signs
Domestic violence against men isn't always easy to identify, but it can be a serious threat. Know how to recognize if you're being abused — and how to get help.By Mayo Clinic staff
Women aren't the only victims of domestic violence. Understand the signs of domestic violence against men, and know how to get help.
Recognize domestic violence against men
Domestic violence — also known as domestic abuse, battering or intimate partner violence — occurs between people in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence against men can take many forms, including emotional, sexual and physical abuse and threats of abuse. It can happen in heterosexual or same sex relationships.
It might not be easy to recognize domestic violence against men. Early in the relationship, your partner might seem attentive, generous and protective in ways that later turn out to be controlling and frightening. Initially, the abuse might appear as isolated incidents. Your partner might apologize and promise not to abuse you again.
In other relationships, domestic violence against men might include both partners slapping or shoving each other when they get angry — and neither partner seeing himself or herself as being abused or controlled. This type of violence, however, can still devastate a relationship, causing both physical and emotional damage.
You might be experiencing domestic violence if your partner:
- Calls you names, insults you or puts you down
- Prevents you from going to work or school
- Stops you from seeing family members or friends
- Tries to control how you spend money, where you go or what you wear
- Acts jealous or possessive or constantly accuses you of being unfaithful
- Gets angry when drinking alcohol or using drugs
- Threatens you with violence or a weapon
- Hits, kicks, shoves, slaps, chokes or otherwise hurts you, your children or your pets
- Assaults you while you're sleeping, you've been drinking or you're not paying attention to make up for a difference in strength
- Forces you to have sex or engage in sexual acts against your will
- Blames you for his or her violent behavior or tells you that you deserve it
- Portrays the violence as mutual and consensual
If you're gay, bisexual or transgender, you might also be experiencing domestic violence if you're in a relationship with someone who:
- Threatens to tell friends, family, colleagues or community members your sexual orientation or gender identity
- Tells you that authorities won't help a gay, bisexual or transgender person
- Tells you that leaving the relationship means you're admitting that gay, bisexual or transgender relationships are deviant
- Justifies abuse by telling you that you're not "really" gay, bisexual or transgender
- Says that men are naturally violent
Children and abuse
Domestic violence affects children, even if they're just witnesses. If you have children, remember that exposure to domestic violence puts them at risk of developmental problems, psychiatric disorders, problems at school, aggressive behavior and low self-esteem. You might worry that seeking help could further endanger you and your children, or that it might break up your family. Fathers might fear that abusive partners will try to take their children away from them. However, getting help is the best way to protect your children — and yourself.
Break the cycle
If you're in an abusive situation, you might recognize this pattern:
- Your abuser threatens violence.
- Your abuser strikes you.
- Your abuser apologizes, promises to change and offers gifts.
- The cycle repeats itself.
Typically the violence becomes more frequent and severe over time.
Domestic violence can leave you depressed and anxious. You might be more likely to abuse alcohol or drugs or engage in unprotected sex. Domestic violence can even trigger suicide attempts. Because men are traditionally thought to be physically stronger than women, you might be less likely to talk about or report incidents of domestic violence in your heterosexual relationship due to embarrassment or fear of ridicule. You might also worry that the significance of the abuse will be minimized because you're a man. Similarly, a man being abused by another man might be reluctant to talk about the problem because of how it reflects on his masculinity or because it exposes his sexual orientation. Additionally, if you seek help, you might confront a shortage of resources for male victims of domestic violence. Health care providers and other contacts might not think to ask if your injuries were caused by domestic violence, making it harder to open up about abuse. You might also fear that if you talk to someone about the abuse, you'll be accused of wrongdoing yourself. Remember, though, if you're being abused, you aren't to blame — and help is available.
Start by telling someone about the abuse, whether it's a friend, relative, health care provider or other close contact. At first, you might find it hard to talk about the abuse. However, you'll also likely feel relief and receive much-needed support.Next page
(1 of 2)
- Understanding intimate partner violence. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/dvp/ipv_factsheet.pdf. Accessed Feb. 21, 2011.
- McHugh MC, et al. Intimate partner violence: New directions. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2006;1087:121.
- Barber CF. Domestic violence against men. Nursing Standard. 2008;22:35.
- Du Plat-Jones J. Domestic violence: The role of health professionals. Nursing Standard. 2006;21:44.
- Domestic violence. American Psychiatric Association. http://www.healthyminds.org/Main-Topic/Domestic-Violence.aspx. Accessed Feb. 21, 2011.
- Raising children to resist violence: What you can do. American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/resist-violence.aspx. Accessed Feb. 21, 2011.
- AAMFT consumer update: Domestic violence. American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. http://www.aamft.org/imis15/Content/Consumer_Updates/Domestic_Violence.aspx. Accessed Feb. 21, 2011.
- Reid RJ, et al. Intimate partner violence among men: Prevalence, chronicity, and health effects. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2008;34:478.
- Violence against women: What is abuse? U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.4woman.gov/violence/signs. Accessed Feb. 22, 2011.
- Women's health: Domestic violence. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/publications/patient_education/bp083.cfm. Accessed Feb. 22, 2011.
- Safety planning list. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.4woman.gov/violence/planning/safetyplanninglist.pdf. Accessed Feb. 22, 2011.
- Internet safety. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. http://www.ncadv.org/protectyourself/InternetSafety_121.html. Accessed Feb. 22, 2011.
- Southworth C, et al. Intimate partner violence, technology and stalking. Violence Against Women. 2007;13:842.
- Violence against women: Court order of protection. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.4woman.gov/violence/prevent/civil.cfm. Accessed Feb. 22, 2011.
- Pitt EL, et al. Violence and trauma: Recognitions, recovery, and prevention. In: Makadon HJ, et al. The Fenway Guide to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health. Philadelphia, Pa.: American College of Physicians; 2008:253.
- Issues: Domestic violence. National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. http://www.ncavp.org/issues/DomesticViolence.aspx. Accessed Feb. 22, 2011.
- Hamel J, et al. Family Interventions in Domestic Violence. New York, N.Y.: Springer Publishing; 2006:9.
- Andersen TH. Speaking about the unspeakable: Sexually abused men striving toward language. American Journal of Men's Health. 2008;2:29.
- Hines DA, et al. Characteristics of callers to the domestic abuse helpline for men. Journal of Family Violence. 2007;22:68.
- Houston E, et al. Intimate partner abuse among gay and bisexual men: Risk correlates and health outcomes. Journal of Urban Health. 2007;84:681.