Domestic violence claims male victims, too
By JOSIAH RICHARDS
May 28, 2012
In response to a recent article, “Level of violence in domestic assaults troubles Fitchburg-area authorities” (May 8), I would like to offer additional information that may help people in domestic violence situations.
The article makes the potentially fatal mistake of implying domestic violence is limited to men perpetrating violence against women, when in reality anyone can be a victim (or anyone can be a perpetrator. Perpetuating the stereotype of “woman-only victim” further marginalizes male victims of domestic violence. Men often don’t identify themselves as victims due to stigma. Male victims are also turned away by agencies charged with assisting survivors of domestic violence, further revictimizing the survivor of the abuse.
Domestic violence takes on many forms, not just physical. Although most domestic violence service agencies identity four types of abuse, the Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project (GMDVP) out of Boston, which serves all victims of domestic violence, specifically men, identifies five types of abuse: physical, sexual, emotional, financial, and identity. GMDVP sites identity abuse as a form of domestic violence among gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender victims. In the event the victim is “in the closet,” or not open about her or his sexuality and/or gender identity, the perpetrator may use this against her or him to hold power over the victim.
There are only two things perpetrators are seeking: power and control. GMDVP defines domestic violence as “an intentional (consciously or subconsciously) and methodical pattern of abusive tactics used to gain power and to exert control over the partner in order to meet the abuser’s needs.” The Network/La Red, another Boston-based, lesbian and gay domestic violence organization adds “to control the thoughts, beliefs, and/or actions of their partner” to the definition.