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Can men be victims of domestic violence?

The widespread public perception is that, in cases of domestic violence, a man is always the aggressor and a woman always the victim. However, if you are a man who has sustained abuse from a female partner in North Carolina, you are not alone. According to FindLaw, research suggests that numbers of women and men committing violence or abuse against the other gender are almost equal with one another, which means that women abuse men nearly as often as men abuse women in a domestic setting.

Part of the reason for the discrepancy between the public perception of domestic violence and the reality is that men who become the victims of domestic violence are less likely to report than women, for a number of reasons. You may be afraid that if you alert law enforcement, the authorities will arrest you rather than your partner. You may feel shame about admitting to a perceived weakness in light of traditional societal gender roles, or you may feel that others will not afford your claim the seriousness that it deserves.

Because abuse is not always physical, you may also not recognize your partner's behavior as domestic violence. Abusive behavior in a domestic relationship can take the following nonphysical forms:

  • Excessive jealousy/possessiveness
  • Restricting your freedom, i.e., not allowing you to visit friends or family members
  • Controlling your finances or spending habits
  • Berating you with insults or name-calling
  • Threatening to harm others, or herself, if you do not change your behavior according to her wishes.

No one deserves abuse, and no one has a right to commit domestic violence. Anyone, regardless of gender, who has suffered abuse at the hands of a domestic partner has the right to seek help.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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The Law Office of L. Bryan Smith, P.C.
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