A group of GW staff and students met in Eckles Library on Monday night to discuss the abuse of men.
“It’s not just women being beaten by men,” said Grace Henry, assistant director for SAC and the staff coordinator of REAL Conversations. “It’s also women beating men. Men beating men. Women beating women.”
A 1998 Department of Justice study found that approximately 1.5 million women are battered every year, compared to approximately 830,000 men. A 1997 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggested that domestic violence against men is as common as it is against women.
“Domestic violence affects so many different types of people – men, women, gay or straight,” Henry added.
Facts provided by REAL Conversations show that the percentage of women arrested for domestic violence in Concord, N.H., increased from 23 percent in 1993 to 35 percent in 1999.
Domestic violence against men is widely assumed to be underreported. One reason for this may be because the legal system is still designed against them in many states, one student participant said.
Sophomore Shannon Cummings said in many states laws are still geared towards wives who are beaten by their husbands. Often the only solution to these cases is for male domestic abuse victims is to leave the home, possibly separating him from his children.
Another reason why domestic violence against men may go unreported is that it is considered more socially acceptable.
“In society, it’s almost celebrated or glorified when a man gets hit,” Henry said.
A recent study by the Metropolitan Police Department concluded that there was a “clear and pervasive pattern” of departures from department policy in terms of dealing with victims of domestic abuse. Only 17 percent of victims asked about a restraining order and 83 percent of victims were not given printed information on resources to contact and discuss the abuse.
Junior Shauna Butler, a house scholar in Munson Hall, said there are many resources available to students who are victims of domestic violence, rape and sexual assault – including going to your house procter or scholar who can then direct you to someone who could help.