Thanks for thinking of the guys, too
November 23, 2007
We would like to thank the Response program for being willing to change its name from one that is for “Battered Women” to one that is gender-neutral, i.e., “Victims of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence” (“Response is small, but important,” Nov. 18, The Aspen Times).
Male victims of domestic violence, both gay and heterosexual, are a large, hidden class who face severe neglect and stigmatization. A gender-neutral name is just one step toward ending that neglect.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, every year there are 4.8 million incidents of intimate partner assaults and rapes against women and 2.9 million incidents against men, with 25 percent of the deaths being men (cdc.gov/ncipc/dvp/ipv_factsheet.pdf). Harvard Medical School just announced a major study showing 24 percent of heterosexual couples have violence, half of it reciprocal, and that women initiate most of the reciprocal violence and 71 percent of the nonreciprocal violence, and both suffer significant injuries.
Men are less likely to report it, which makes crime data unreliable, but sociological data consistently shows women initiate domestic violence as often as men and that men suffer one-third of the injuries, as California State University professor Martin Fiebert summarizes in his online bibliography at csulb.edu/~mfiebert/assault.htm.
When male victims don’t come forward, their children suffer long-term damage by the increased exposure. So when we ignore male victims, we ignore their children and contribute to the intergenerational cycle of domestic violence. This hidden problem, which actually fosters the cycle of domestic violence, is so serious that a global coalition of concerned experts has formed to combat it. Its website is nfvlrc.org/.
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Marc E. Angelucci
president, Los Angeles chapter
National Coalition of Free Men