Join our Virtual Candlelight Vigil in Honor of Underserved Victims

October is National Domestic
Violence Awareness
month (DVAM) and the
newswires are filled with
information on benefit walk/
runs such as, “Walk a mile
in her shoes,” “Break the
Cycle” bike rides and Candle
Light Vigils all to honor
and remember domestic violence
murder victims and
survivors. The focus and
theme of these annual benefits
is on ending men’s violence
against women. However,
not all domestic violence
fits into that category,
some victims are male and
some perpetrators are female.
Intimate partner violence
(IPV) against men, especially
against men by female
intimate partners, has
always been a hot button
issue. The mere mention of
male victims in a gathering
of domestic violence advocates
and things turn really
bizarre. Eyes roll and disclaimers
abound, “We know
that men are victims but
women are the most injured
and prevalent victims so…,”
and “men don’t need help
like women, men have jobs
and can leave anytime they
like,” and “male victims are
so rare, they hardly ever call
our women’s hotline.”
However, there has been a
little softening of views
over the last few years on
who can be a victim and
perpetrator. Some may still
discount, scoff and laugh at
the notion that men can be
victims but more and more
are shaking their head in
agreement when the issue is
raised.
Still each October DVAM
continues to be 99.9% about
ending men’s violence
against women even though
studies such as this one by
the Bureau of Justice (2007)
indicate that:
*about 96% of females experiencing
nonfatal IPV
were victimized by a male
and about 3% reported that
the offender was another
female.
*about 82% of males experiencing
nonfatal IPV
were victimized by a female
and about 16% of males reported
that the offender was
another male.
I know numbers and
statistics are important, it’s
how we determine where
and how much government
funding is needed to prevent
and protect victims.
However, given the fact that
male victimization
(straights, gays and
transgender) is highly under
reported how can we as a
country put all our efforts
and money into one
gender’s victimization over
another’s?
I realize that men don’t help
their cause any by not coming
forward and reporting
their victimization but then,
who would they come forward
to? They are, for the
most part, ostracized by the
very system that fights to
have victims voices heard.
From what we have learned
here at DAHMW speaking
with men and the few
studies that have been done
we know that some of the reasons that
male victims of heterosexual and same
sex domestic violence don’t seek
assistance are similar; the myth that IPV
is about a man beating up a woman, the
lack of legal and social service protections
and resources available to them, the
belief that they deserve the abuse, the
fact that they love their abusers, and the
fear that no one will believe them or help
them because they are a man. There is
also the very real fear that they will be
laughed at should they talk about the
abuse.
Each group has unique reasons for not
seeking assistance too. A gay man may
fear being “outed” to his family,
employers, police, religious institutions,
and the community by his abuser and a
heterosexual man may feel that he will
Kaitlin Nichols, Director of Education
and Outreach for The Network/La Red
stated that, “Even then, it depends what
letters of the alphabet of LGBT that
you are…for a gay man it is more difficult
to find shelter and help. All shelters
should, but that does not mean they
will.”’
This DVAM please acknowledge and
support under served victims and
survivors of IPV and sexual assault
by taking part in our virtual Candle
Light Vigil.

Go to:
http://tinyurl.com/2w6eqdy
light a candle for a male victim and/
or survivor of domestic violence.
Each candle you light will stay lit for
just 48 hours so please remember to
come back and relight your candle.

Source: Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women www.dahmw.org