Many people don’t take men seriously when they say they’re victims of domestic violence, reports Joseph Cordell in a recent HuffPost divorce article. Violence against men is a significant problem and, as Orange County attorneys that witness the aftermath of spousal abuse, we know how serious it is.
A few years ago the National Centers for Disease Control reported that 40 percent of victims of severe physical domestic violence were men. In addition, more than half of the domestic violence assaults involving deadly weapons were against men!
Cordell states that men are less likely to report domestic violence, due to fear, ridicule, or the need to “be a man.” Agencies lack the appropriate data to do additional research because so many cases of male spousal abuse are unreported.
As attorneys, we’ve witnessed judges and juries receiving a claim that a man is a victim of spousal abuse as a tactic to garner sympathy, place blame on the female, or as a desperate attempt to win a custody battle. This is not always the case, and we wish we had accurate statistics to prove it. It’s probably no surprise that men have a much harder time proving that they are the victim of domestic violence.
Cordell offers these five points to men dealing with domestic violence:
1) Call the police: Don’t wait for things to get physical. Threats are a form of domestic violence, which includes verbal, emotional and financial conduct as much as physical. Follow the officer’s advice and don’t state that you “don’t want your spouse going to jail.” Follow their instruction and let the police handle it.
2) Get psychological help for your spouse: Your spouse may have mental health or substance abuse issues that lead him/her to become violent. Your spouse may have been raised in an environment with domestic violence. Understanding mental health dynamics will help you both to repair the relationship, if possible.
3) Request child custody evaluations: If child custody is disputed, request that your family undergo custody evaluation. Ask for an evaluator trained in domestic violence treatment.
4) Attend separate counseling: Don’t try family counseling or joint counseling until you and your spouse go through separate counseling successfully. Reason: Family counseling may allow the perpetrator to blame the victim and make him/her take partial responsibility.
5) Find the courage to speak up: You can’t receive help if you don’t ask for it! Talk to your family, friends, attorney, or whoever will listen and not judge you. Contact your community mental health department for help lines and counseling.
The worst thing to do is let domestic violence or spousal abuse go unreported. We see victims of domestic violence in Orange County and Los Angeles regularly and we take male and female victims seriously. We are happy to help those victims overcome abuse, and we hope anyone struggling finds the courage to speak up and be heard.