Editor’s note: This is the third installment in a five-part series on domestic violence.
DARKE COUNTY — Men are not excluded in domestic violence statistics. When thinking of a domestic violence survivor, a female generally comes to mind, and rightfully so, since three-quarters of these victims are women.
However, hundreds of thousands of men experience domestic violence every year as well.
A Darke County man, Cliff (not his real name), knows too well how it has affected his life and he wants others to be aware that it does happen to his gender as well.
Domestic violence—whether against women or men—often goes unreported. Men in particular may decide not to report violence by an intimate partner to law enforcement for fear of being labeled the instigator or not believed. No instance of domestic violence is justified.
“Whether you’re male or female, it’s never your fault,” said one spokesperson.
Cliff is among those who lived with domestic violence for more than four decades and never told many people.
“I never reported it…I just never did,” he said. “It was basically verbal and controlling and she would smack me every now and then. “
He said it wasn’t that way when they were dating, though. He never saw the real “her” until after they tied the knot.
“She accused me of beating her,” he said. “She accused me of going with other women. She was really controlling in the beginning and mouthy.”
Cliff, who still has one child home with him, continued, “I moved out four or five times during our marriage. I was never capable of taking care of the bills and, according to her, I couldn’t handle money. It was my money and it went to her. I had to beg, borrow and plead for $10 and, if she knew I had money on me, I would have to use it. She was mean, deceitful and conniving.”
But now, Cliff is free from her control.
“It ended up being a heavy-duty divorce,” he said.
At first, Cliff sought a disillusion but then opted for the divorce as they were not in total agreement on some property matters.
His ex-, he said, could be nice at times.
“Especially if she wanted to get her way or when money was involved,” he said.
Yes, he’s happy now.
“It has raised my spirit,” he said. “I am extremely happy that it has come to an end and I no longer have to put up with her crap. I’ve learned a lot of things in 40 years, and, I’m not going to mess up again.”
Cliff believes domestic violence is a generational trait…that it goes back to his ex-wife’s grandmother, then her mother.
“They’re jealous of a lot of stuff and they’re the center of attention no matter what,” he said. “She chased my friends off.”
She may have mistreated him, but he always had his concerns about her.
“I was concerned with her mental problems,” he said. “If she was bi-polar, it could be causing this. Maybe somewhere down the line she can find happiness somewhere but not with me. I won’t let her. I’ve discovered I now have a life, and I am doing things that I haven’t done for a long time.”
As for Cliff’s family, they could see what was going on, Cliff said.
“She [his ex-] showed her colors through the years,” he said. “They tolerated her at gatherings. My parents don’t like her and my sister knew exactly what was going on and other family members are glad I got rid of her. My mother and I talked about it.”
He remembers after one of their incidences when the law showed up at his request. His wife at the time was asked to leave the premises.
Then, someone, probably from the Darke County Shelter From Violence, several days later left a pamphlet on his porch. He was wondering why he got it but did look it over.
“Everything but three things she [his ex-wife] died was on that pamphlet,” he said. “I want men to know that it can happen to them.”
According to data from the National Crime Victimization Study between 2003 and 2012 show that men account for about 24 percent of domestic violence survivors. Domestic violence against men is real and takes just as many forms as domestic violence against women—physical, sexual, reproductive, financial, emotional and psychological.
Here are 10 more facts to know about domestic violence against men:
• About one in seven men ages 18 and older have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner.
• Almost half (48.8 percent) of all men have dealt with some sort of psychological aggression by an intimate partner. This number is equal to women at 48.4 percent.
• Nearly one in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner to the point they were scared for their life or safety or the lives or safety of loved ones.
• Of rapes on men that were committed by someone known to the survivor, about 29 percent were by an intimate partner.
• Men are the victims in about 6 percent of cases of murder-suicide in which the offender is an intimate partner.
• An estimated 10.4 percent or approximately 11.7 million men in the U.S. have reported having an intimate partner get or attempt to get pregnant when the male partner didn’t agree to it.
• The average cost for men seeking emergency care following an attack by an intimate partner is $387.
• About two in five gay and bisexual men will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime.
• Nearly 8 percent of males who’ve reported domestic violence have been shot at, stabbed or hit with a weapon.
• An estimated 5 percent of male homicide victims annually are killed by an intimate partner.
If dealing with domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233).