Dr. Donald Dutton, Professor of Psychology at UBC, discusses in this video the current domestic violence policies and how they affect the way police respond to male victims.
Despite that the evidence showing that most domestic violence is reciprocal, meaning both partners abuse each other, the focus is exclusively on male-on-female violence. Dutton notes that when one looks at the data, the amount of violence suffered by women compared to men is only slightly higher. The focus on women as victims appears to be more political than evidence based.
The impact of this politicization is that male victims are often treated as abusers or ignored rather than helped. Many abuse support services will refuse to help men or refer them to batterer programs. Police in several countries will arrest the men regardless of who initiated the abuse. The net affect is that men are less likely to report the abuse out of fear of arrest or disbelief.
Dutton suggests a paradigm shift to change the perception of domestic violence and the way we respond to it. He is not the first to suggest this, and while I agree the shift needs to happen, there are many forces working against it. Raising more awareness, getting more accurate information to the public, and hearing more of men’s stories will help change these attitudes.
However, we must also address the politicized nature of the support network and police policies. Removing the ideology will go a long way in fixing this problem.