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The male victims of domestic violence

Recently, a shocking incident of abuse became the focus of media coverage in the U.S., with news anchors and late-night comedians alike sharing the tragic story of a man who was drugged, restrained and assaulted at the hands of his estranged wife. Although domestic violence occurs every day in Las Vegas and throughout the country and world, there is relatively little attention paid to stories in which the man is the victim, except when they are as deplorable as this.

Per CBS News: “[A woman] drugged her estranged husband, tied him to a bed, cut off his penis, and put it through a garbage disposal…After the 51-year-old man lost consciousness, [the woman] allegedly tied the victim’s arms and legs to the bed with rope, removed his clothes and attacked him with a 10-inch kitchen knife as he awoke.”

Certainly, this is an especially horrible story, and one that is hopefully not a regular occurrence. However, it raises an important question: why do we take domestic violence less seriously when it is committed by women against men, instead of the other way around?

Although statistics show that men are more commonly the perpetrators in domestic violence assaults, there is reason to believe that men significantly underreport abuse. One reason for this is traditional gender roles, which dictate that men are stronger than women and therefore should not be their victims. Another reason is that men usually are physically stronger than women, so women are less able to inflict severe injury on men.

Whatever the reason, we hope that Nevada law enforcement and court officials take domestic violence seriously, regardless of the gender of either the victim or the perpetrator. In any situation, domestic abuse is harmful, dangerous, and simply unacceptable.

Source: Discovery News, “Penis Assault Highlights Domestic Violence Against Men,” Benjamin Radford, 14 July 2011

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