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Signs of domestic violence against men are not always recognized

When people think about domestic violence, they most often think of a stereotypical situation involving a man abusing a woman. Although this situation does occur, men are also often abused by women.

In Alaska, at least one out of four men has experienced physical violence by an intimate partner. However, the exact numbers are difficult to determine because men are often too embarrassed to seek help or do not recognize that they are being abused.

How to recognize domestic violence

Domestic violence occurs when you are physically, sexually or emotionally abused by someone you are in a close relationship with. This may include your wife, ex-wife, ex-girlfriend or relative. It also includes someone you have sex with or someone who you live with or have lived with previously.

Signs of domestic violence may include someone:

  • Physically hurting you, your children or your pets
  • Insulting you
  • Calling you names
  • Forcing you to have sex against your will
  • Acting possessive
  • Regularly accusing you of cheating
  • Threatening you with violence
  • Trying to control your actions, such as how you spend money or what you wear
  • Limiting who you can see

Sometimes men feel confused about an abusive situation. Many men react to abuse by acting out verbally or physically against the abuser, so men are sometimes unsure if they are the victim or the abuser. A women may also use a situation like this to make a man feel like he deserves the abuse or to manipulate him into thinking he is the abuser.

Protection orders can help stop the abuse

If you think you may be the victim of domestic violence, or if you are unsure, it is important to seek help. One way to seek help is by applying for a protective order. This is an order from a judge that can prohibit the abuser from harming or threatening to harm you. You may also be able to receive temporary custody of your children and be awarded temporary use of certain possessions, like vehicles.

A protective order can also require the abuser to:

  • Leave a home you share
  • Pay money to support the children you have together
  • Pay medical costs associated with the domestic violence
  • Attend drug or alcohol counseling
  • Attend a batterers intervention program

Despite common stereotypes, domestic violence does happen to men. No one deserves to be abused or to live in fear of abuse. This is why it is important to be able to recognize the signs of domestic violence and reach out for help if you think you are being abused.

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