Men often victims of sexual assault
Ashley Oliver, CT News Reporter
Tuesday, October 2; 10:45 PM
In a May 2007 study, the Centers for Disease Control found that more than 800,000 males in the United States are raped or physically assaulted by their female partners every year.
The National Coalition of Free Men (NCFM) is expressing concern during domestic violence awareness month this October that this study has been unfairly ignored because of the media's gender stereotyping.
The organization looks at the way sex discrimination affects both boys and men and focuses on a number of different issues, including male victims of domestic violence.
"The media has been misframing domestic violence for too long and there is just not enough awareness about male victims," said Marc Angelucci, President of the Los Angeles chapter of NCFM. "The media tends to use unreliable crime data and ignore sociological data which is much more accurate."
Because the media has been accused of distorting the general publics' view of domestic violence, the NCFM is worried that men won't come forward when they are the victims of violence by their intimate partner.
"We need to educate the public that male victims are not alone and are not wimps, and that they need to seek help and report it," Angelucci said. "They are in more danger than they think."
NCFM is concerned that male victims will maintain their silence and that the problem will continue and add to the overall cycle of domestic violence.
"They have no outreach and few services, and they continue to just 'take it like men' until someone gets hurt," Angelucci said.
This year's CDC report counters any ideas about men not being assaulted by female partners or injured because of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). The NCFM is determined to make people aware of this in hopes of dissolving the stereotype that females almost always fall victim to male criminals.
"It's important that the public is aware that domestic violence is happening in both directions and at significant levels; that it is not just a male crime, and that it is damaging no matter what gender commits it," Angelucci said.
CDC studies show the gravity of IPV for men and women alike. In the year 2004, IPV resulted in 1,544 deaths with 25 percent being men. Updated in 2003, the corporate cost of IPV in the United States was $8.3 million from medical care, mental health services and lost productivity.
"Children are damaged just by witnessing (domestic violence) regardless of the severity," Angelucci said.
Experts from various domestic violence organizations agree that children who live in an environ-ment where IPV is present are more likely to carry it into their own family than children who grow up with parents in a healthy relationship.
In order to prevent IPV altogether, it's important to prevent a physical, emotional, threatening, or sexual issue from even emerging between couples in the first place.
According to the CDC fact sheet on domestic violence reports, "Strategies that promote healthy dating relationships are important. These strategies should focus on young people when they are learning skills for dating."