It’s not just women who are victims of domestic abuse – men are too

Published on 07.09.22
Published on 07.09.22

A recent headline in the Daily Mail read: “Mother-of-three, 33, kidnapped and tortured her boyfriend who had boiling water poured over him and cigarettes stubbed out on his arm because she wanted him to pay for her Botox.” Sadly, this is not a one-off, and male domestic abuse is more common than is generally recognised.

Male abuse is rarely discussed but is widely prevalent. According to the National Centre for Domestic Violence, one in four women and one in six men experience domestic abuse. This can be in the form of actual or threatened violence, emotional and financial abuse, gaslighting, stonewalling, and coercive control, to name but a few.

The shocking headline in the Daily Mail did not come to my attention the day it was published despite my regular scrolling of news both in soft and hard copy. Perhaps it did not appear in the news streams I read. Is there a conscious media bias to such reporting by certain media outlets to ensure they capture their target audience? Is it assumed that male domestic abuse only occurs in certain sections of the community?

Bearing in mind the above statistics, it is unsurprising that I have received instructions on matters that involve domestic abuse against men. Generally, these men are highflyers, successful entrepreneurs, directors, CEOs, etc. The instruction is for divorce and not protection, which is quite the reverse when I receive instructions from a female who is in an abusive relationship. In such instances, the matter progresses with an application for a non-molestation order and then the divorce/dissolution and financial proceedings.

The Research Summary presented at the ManKind Initiative Annual Conference 2021 compared domestic outcomes of abuse and risk factors for men and women. It found a difference in behaviours between men and women, but there was no difference in the number of trips to hospital for emergency treatment:

“Outcomes of abuse and risk factors

  • three quarters had attempted to leave in the last three months, women were more likely to have done so
  • no differences in trips to A&E
  • women were more likely to have called the police and have visited their GP
  • men were more likely to report issues with drugs and alcohol
  • women were more likely to report mental health issues
  • similar mental health rating, but men gave worse physical health ratings.”

The report then sets out post-separation abuse and reveals that, shockingly, it continues post separation. I found this alarming and perhaps is why men do not report it either during or after the relationship. Some examples include:

  • “She punched, punched and scratched me while I was holding my children after we broke up.” (Participant 60)
  • “It got worse. I had petrol poured through my letterbox, non-stop threats, knocked out, concussed and hospitalised. Stabbed.” (Participant 84)
  • “I moved into a separate part of the house (large enough house to do that). We crossed on the stairs, and she stopped me and said: ‘I wonder what the police will say if I fall down the stairs and hurt myself and tell them you assaulted me?’.” (Participant 45)
  • “Since she moved out, she has continued to stalk me (obtained passwords and login information for my phone and Google account somehow).” (Participant 16)

Fortunately, there is support available specifically for male victims of domestic abuse. One is the ManKind Initiative, and no doubt there are others.

Men must realise that the laws of this country that protect victims from their perpetrators are equally applicable to men and women, and they have every right to seek the protection court orders can provide.

If you require any further information on this article or are seeking advice on a matrimonial/dissolution dispute or other family matter, including nuptial and cohabitation agreements, please contact Teena Dhanota-Jones at [email protected].

Disclaimer: The above is merely general guidance and should not be relied on as formal advice. We suggest you take professional legal advice before taking any action in relation to the issues discussed above.