‘A third of men are victims of domestic violence’

May 19th, 2008 - 12:46 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, May 19 (IANS) Almost a third of men have been victims of domestic violence, though their trauma is often hidden and understudied - just as in the case of women 10 years ago, according to a new study. The American study, which involved phone interviews with over 400 randomly sampled adult males, came up with some surprising findings.

As many as five percent of the men had experienced domestic violence in the past year, 10 percent in the past five years, and 29 percent over their lifetimes.

“Many abused men feel ashamed because of societal expectations for men to be tough and in control,” said Robert J. Reid, who led the study.

The study also found that younger men were twice as likely as men over 55 to report recent abuse.

“That may be because older men are even more reluctant to talk about it,” said Reid, adding: “We want abused men to know they’re not alone”.

The study defined domestic violence to include nonphysical abuse - threats, chronic disparaging remarks, or controlling behaviour - as well as physical abuse: slapping, hitting, kicking, or forced sex.

The study dispels the myth abuse of men has no serious effects. The researchers found domestic violence is associated with serious, long-term effects on the men’s mental health.

Women are more likely than men to experience more severe physical abuse, said Reid, “but even non physical abuse - can do lasting damage”.

Depressive symptoms were nearly three times as common in older men who had experienced abuse than in those who hadn’t, with much more severe depression in the men who had been abused physically.

The study found that, contrary to expectations, many men continue to stay in abusive relationships.

“We know that many women may have trouble leaving abusive relationships, especially if they’re caring for young children and not working outside the home,” said Reid. “We were surprised to find that most men in abusive relationships also stay.”

Reid also found that such violence is not limited to poor people. “As we found in our previous research with women experiencing domestic violence, this is a common problem affecting people in all walks of life,” he said.

Findings of the study are slated to appear in the June issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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