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The men who stay

14 August 2010 149 views One Comment

New study: Men suffering ‘intimate terrorism’ by women partners Thurs 12th Aug 2010

“Why don’t the men leave? The men do not want to leave the children with a violent woman, and they are often afraid that they would lose custody of their children in a family court system that tends to favor mothers in custody disputes.”

Clark University research assistant professor of psychology Denise A. Hines is the lead author/researcher on the Men’s Experiences with Partner Aggression Project, a study at Clark University funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.

The research team analysed data collected from 302 men who sustained physical violence from a female partner within the past year and sought help.

“With every analysis that we do of these data, what is very apparent is how much these men resemble the women who participate in studies of battered women who go to shelters,” Hines says. “The level of violence these men sustain, their reactions to the violence, their reasons for staying, their protectiveness of their children, and their mental health, all very much mirror what we’ve seen in studies of battered women over the past 30 years.”

Contrary to popular stereotypes of male victims, the men in the sample were the size of an average man and were bigger than their female partners, and about one third of them were employed in stereotypical masculine or high-status occupations, such as a soldier, doctor, lawyer, or business owner. When their female partners are violent, their most common response is to try to get away or escape from her.

Why don’t the men leave? The most common reasons are because of love and commitment to the marriage and because of the children. The men do not want to leave the children with a violent woman, and they are often afraid that they would lose custody of their children in a family court system that tends to favor mothers in custody disputes. Many men also discuss the financial repercussions of leaving – about half indicate that they do not have the money or resources to leave, with others discussing their fear of losing all, if not at least half, of everything they have worked for and saved in their lives.

Hines: “What should also be noted is the profound effect that this violence probably has on the children involved. We know that at least 70 percent, if not more, of the children who were involved in these relationships either saw or heard the violence. From prior research, we know that child witnesses of domestic violence against women can suffer severe psychological consequences. There is no reason to expect that child witnesses of domestic violence against men won’t suffer the same consequences.”

One Comment »

  • PaulD said:

    This almost exactly matches my situation. I was warned by my ex that if I left the relationship “I would never see my daughter again”! She said that she would move away or emigrate just to stop me seeing my daughter if she had to.

    With such determination on her part, I was terrified that she would enact her threats. So I hung on staying with her for a couple more years. I knew that she was quite likely to make things awkward for me if we split up, but I did not really believe she would do the things she threatened.

    After the relationship became unbearable I said we could not go on and she immediately left and took my daughter away, keeping her location secret because of her ‘fear of me’.

    It was then several years before I had proper contact with my daughter again after going through the family courts and eventually giving them up as a waste of time.

    In the past ten years she has done everything in her power to make my life miserable and difficult – just as she did when we lived together if I didn’t do exactly what she wanted.

    If this isn’t domestic violence, I don’t know what is. I’ve hardly been able to work since this happened – dealing with all the false allegations – and have been suicidal on several occasions. Of course, I am just one of the many hidden male victims of DV.

    The ironic thing is, she complained of domestic violence after she left! No doubt this appears as a statistic of male – female DV!

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