Intimate Partner Violence Amongst Men
This blog is dedicated to all individuals that have been subjugated to violence, abuse, and distress within their relationships even though this blog specifies abuse towards men. Readers’ discretion is advised.
This topic is a little more distressing than others.
However, I have found that this topic is important to discuss especially for those individuals that believe there is no way out, that nobody would understand, empathize, or care for their well-being after being subjugated to some form of abuse by a partner.
If you have been keeping up with the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard case, you may have come to realize the severity of intimate partner violence—no matter what stance you take within this case—one thing is imminent, men are and can become victims of abuse by their partner.
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is defined as intimate partner (whether current or former) who perpetrates violence through physical, sexual, psychological, stalking, and coercive acts (Douglas & Hines, 2011; Miller & McCaw, 2019). The CDC has considered IPV to be a national and social health problem affecting thousands of people each year (Douglas & Hines, 2011).
Past research has concentrated on IPV amongst women, however, as time has passed, more cases on IPV amongst men have risen and have become an important focus for our society, community, and health departments.
In 2010, a study conducted to measure IPV, 37.3% of women have experienced some form of sexual, physical, or stalking by their partner and 30.9% of men had experienced the same by their partners (Miller & McCaw, 2019).
Alongside this, 23.9% of women and 13.9% of men experienced severe physical violence by their partner where medical attention was needed (Miller & McCaw, 2019).
As we can see through these statistics, men experience a high percentage of IPV from their partners, so why are we not talking about it more?
Well according to Campbell-Hawkins (2019) in her study amongst African American males who experienced IPV, some barriers for obtaining help included fear of being viewed as weak by their society, culture, and peers.
Men will less likely seek out help when experiencing abuse due to their community’s stigma on what being a “man” consists of.
However, as we have seen through the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard case, it does happen, and it can lead to violence, aggression and abuse.
Even though the stigma on men says they “should” be stronger and able to defend themselves amongst women or their partners; these toxic ideologies can perpetuate suffering in silence for men.
Let’s talk about some of the abuse and IPV men can experience from their partners.
- Physical abuse
- This includes hitting, slapping, scratching, shoving, pushing, pinching, biting, hair pulling, throwing things to hit the person, destruction of property.
- Psychological/Emotional abuse
- Humiliation (i.e., “you’re not man enough,” “you’re a coward,” etc…)
- Shaming, invalidating feelings (i.e., “quit being so sensitive you’re a man.”),
- Isolation of family friends (i.e., severe jealousy), threats (i.e., removal of children, lawful consequences, self-harm/suicide threat if left, etc…)
- Stalking and harassing either at work, home, social media, phone calls, to family members, and so on.
- Chronic infidelity
- Sexual abuse (yes, men can be sexually abused by their female partner)
- Manipulation in doing something they do not feel comfortable during intimacy.
- Threatening their masculinity (different from toxic masculinity) if they do not engage in specific acts.
- Inserting foreign objects into the body without their permission.
These are some examples of IPV amongst men.
However, this does not minimize the abuse women go through as well, many of these examples also apply for women and other parties.
For men, it is also important to be aware of these examples and seek out help. There is help for you through no judgement and unconditional positive regard.
Remember, you are a person and should be treated as such.
This isn’t just a “woman” issue, it is a man issue as well and being aware, empathetic, and active in ending IPV in general is a community, society, and individual duty.
If you are or have experienced some of these examples, please do not hesitate to contact the National Coalition against Domestic Violence (NCADV) 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224
If it is an emergency, please call 911 immediately.
Elda Stepp, PhD, LPC, LMHC, CART
Campbell-Hawkins, M. Y. (2019). Intimate partner violence (IPV) and help-seeking: The experiences of African American male survivors (Doctoral dissertation, Walden University).
Douglas, E. M., & Hines, D. A. (2011). The Help Seeking Experiences of Men Who Sustain Intimate Partner Violence: An Overlooked Population and Implications for Practice. Journal of family violence, 26(6), 473–485. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-011-9382-4
Miller, E., & McCaw, B. (2019). Intimate partner violence. New England Journal of Medicine, 380(9), 850-857. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMra1807166.