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Domestic Abuse just as awful if it happens to a man" 

Sunday, February 11, 2001 

Central Maine Newspapers 

Sunday Edition Lifestyle Section 

The "Real Solutions" Column 

"Domestic Abuse just as awful if it happens to a man" 

by Mechele Cooper      

 Jonathan had been married a little over a year. During that time, he had been verbally and physically abused. Once his wife wrung his neck.   He separated from her in August, after she hit him in the face as they were leaving to go out to dinner.    

The heightened awareness of violence in the home has brought about a sensitivity to battered women, but what about men ?      

A woman called me when I first started the "Real Solutions" column. She said men in her family were abused by their women all the time.  She wouldn't give me her name or discuss it further, except that she wanted me to write about the topic.    

 Jonathan's story gave me the fodder I needed for a column.     

Information I received on battered men included the work of Dr. Alvin Baraff, a psychotherapist and founder of MenCenter, a Washington, D.C., counseling and research group focusing on men. Baraff said men are reluctant to report that they have been victims of any assault. They are supposed to be tough, he said, and able to solve their own problems.      

"Men are trained not to ask for help, and a man not being able to solve his own problems is seen as a sign of weakness," Baraff said.       

With that in mind, it's hardly a surprise that men report all types if violent victimization 32 percent less frequently than women, according to the 1990 Department of Justice Survey of Criminal Victimization.      

 Researchers Murray Straus, PhD., and Richard Gelles, PhD., conducted the National Family Violence Survey in 1975 and again in 1985. The survey shoed that men are just as likely to be the victims of domestic violence as women. In addition, Straus and Gelles found that between 1975 abd 1985m the overall rate of domestic violence by men against women decreased, while women's violence against men increased.  *    

 According to a brochure from the Battered Men's Help Line -- a nonprofit organization in Maine providing advocacy for battered men -- men assaulted or threatened with physical harm should immediately seek an abusive protective order.       

Also, they should get checked out by  a physician and have photographs taken. And, they should keep written records of everything that transpires.      

 The brochure said men in this culture are brought up to be strong and not show emotion. The reality is that men  are just as prone to being hurt, humiliated and emotionally scarred.  It does not make men weak. It only makes them human.  And, there is no shame in having these feelings.     

"Men are traditionally brought up to be the provider, caretaker and nurturer of the relationship and to seek the approval of the woman. Abusive women play on this," said the Battered Men's brochure.     

 Kate Faragher, of the Augusta Family violence Project, said services need to be in place for male victims as well as women. At the Family Violence Project, the number of male victims has not justified establishing a support group or shelter for men here, she said.      

In the case of a male victim, the project would place him in a hotel to get him out of the home, she said. Then, an advocate would work with him individually.      

"At our specific project, we have a male volunteer who would be set up with male clients, if they prefer to speak  with a male advocate, "Faragher said. "For those of us who work in this field, we recognize that violence is always wrong no matter who the perpetrator is. We're working to stop violence in the home, but we know that overall, women are much more likely to seriously injured or murdered as the result of domestic violence. That said, abuse is just as awful when it happens to a man." 

To Reach Mechele Cooper email:  mcooper@centralmaine.com

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*  It is my view that violence to men is a direct result of the Violence Against Women Act.   Society now sees what is abuse to a woman but do not see that the same thing when done to a man is also abuse.  The VAWA  has taught a whole generation of women to BE victims.  At the same time, they can not see that what they do to their male partners is also ABUSE.

From  ACFC

 

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