The conversation about domestic violence routinely defaults to accepting the woman in the relationship as the “victim” and the man as the “abuser;” yet in many cases men are victims of domestic violence, whether they be in heterosexual or same-sex relationships. Men, like women, can suffer from physical, mental, and sexual abuse in their romantic relationships. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of men in abusive relationships is much higher than it is perceived — approximately 28%, or more than 1 out of every four men, is set to be a victim of domestic violence at some point in his lifetime. Acknowledging this statistic is imperative to helping men who are in abusive relationship validate that fact. Everyone who is abused deserves fair treatment under the law.
Obstacles Men May Face
In domestic disputes in which men are the victims, men may perceive an elevated level of difficulty to protect themselves. For one, there is a prevalent fear among male victims of domestic violence that law enforcement won’t take them seriously because they do not perceive women as abusers. There is a staunch belief that the justice system is so skewed toward protecting female victims that there is no room for male victims of domestic violence. Many men also fear that they will be perceived as weak if they come forward, or that their abusers will frame themselves as the victims. The general notion is that men do not believe the criminal justice system will do much to protect them from abuse. When it comes to domestic violence incidents, however, it is important to realize that the state of Florida is predominantly concerned with protecting victims, regardless of sex.
What are My Options as a Male Domestic Violence Victim?
The Florida statute defining domestic violence refers to “family and household members” in very clear, gender-neutral language. As a male victim of domestic violence, it is understandable that you may feel distraught or confused about your options at this time. If you are a male victim of domestic violence, you have the same rights and protections as women do; you could start with filing for a West Palm Beach domestic violence attorney to protect your rights should the abuser try to pin the blame on you. Call 561-622-5575 for a free legal consultation with attorney Brian Gabriel of The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel or contact us.