Male Victims of Domestic Abuse: All You Need To Know

Can men be victims of domestic abuse? Is there help for male victims of domestic abuse? What are the signs of domestic abuse? How can abused men get away from abusive partners? How can a male overcome trauma from an abusive relationship? If you are looking for answers to these and more questions, this article is for you.

My name is Sean Galla. I have over ten years of experience being an online facilitator of support groups, including men’s domestic violence groups. In my line of work, I have seen firsthand the negative effects domestic abuse can have in the lives of men who are on the receiving end of the violence. I have the expertise and experience to help men overcome difficult issues related to domestic violence. If you are a man going through domestic abuse, this article has everything you need to learn how to cope, get out and find healing.

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Written by

Sean Galla

An experienced facilitator, community builder and Peer Support Specialist, Sean has been running men's groups for 10+ years. Read Sean's Full Author Bio.

Understanding Domestic Abuse and Violence

Understanding Domestic Abuse and Violence

Wikipedia defines domestic violence as any form of abuse of violence in a domestic setting like cohabitation or marriage, whether it is same-sex unions or heterosexual relationships. It is also commonly referred to as intimate partner violence (IPV), committed by one person against another in a relationship. Domestic violence can assume a wide range of forms, including verbal, physical, economic, emotional, reproductive, religious, and sexual forms of abuse. The abuse can be subtle or coercive and affects either gender.

For many years, the prevalence of domestic violence mostly involved violence against women, as most of the caller cases were made by women about male perpetrators. This does not mean that men were not on the receiving end of abuse, only that most men preferred not to come out about it.

According to statistics, men are three times less likely to come out and say that they are on the receiving end of domestic abuse compared to women.

In recent years, more focus has been drawn on domestic abuse. This has led to a better understanding of different forms of domestic abuse that can occur and the damaging effects it can have on the victims. However, the issue of male victims of domestic violence is still less discussed compared to the issues related to female victims of the same abuse.

Statistics show that there were more than 757,000 male victims of domestic abuse in 2019/20, which is almost 50% of the number of female victims reported in the same year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 1 in 7 men experience physical violence from a lover in their lifetime.

The numbers could be higher since not all male victims report their cases. Instead, most male victims result in other coping mechanisms such as substance abuse, alcoholism, risky behavior, and suicide.

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Why Men Find It Hard To Report Domestic Abuse

A man is seen and assumed to be the head of a family. Hence, they are seemingly viewed as the stronger partner in a sexual relationship or even of the children born in a family.

Society has set high standards for men to live up to, painting them as dominant, stoic, and stronger, assuming it impossible for them to be on the receiving end of psychological abuse, let alone intimate partner abuse. Therefore, it is not easy for a man to speak out when facing domestic abuse from their intimate partner, which has often caused mental health issues.

Compared to men, women have a greater support system if they become victims of domestic violence. It is easy for female victims to run for help in their women’s circles, spiritual leaders, or families.

A man speaking out about being in an abusive relationship will most likely make him feel embarrassed. Another reason why men are not quick to reveal being victims of domestic violence or living with a batterer is that they have the notion that it will be difficult for people to believe them. They are fearful of their partners taking revenge on them.

Most male victims of domestic violence are reluctant to leave the relationship because they pride themselves on being family men and cannot live with the shame of a failed relationship. To avoid the embarrassment and ridicule related to domestic violence against men, most victims prefer to retreat in silence or result in self-harm as a way to cope.

Most of the cases involving female abusers only come to light when the violence starts to affect the rest of the family.

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Signs That You Are a Male Victim of Domestic Abuse

Sometimes, abuse may not be clear, which causes the victim to excuse or dismiss abusive behavior. Some of the signs to look out for in an abusive relationship include:

  • Physical abuse includes severe physical violence like hitting, biting, kicking, spitting, punching, throwing things, and destroying possessions.
  • Verbal abuse like name-calling, humiliating, belittling, and shaming in front of family, friends, or colleagues and even on social media.
  • Signs of possessiveness, insecurity, lack of trust, and constant accusations of unfaithfulness
  • Controlling behavior like choosing your friends for you, limiting your movement, and persistent calling to know where you are and who you are with.
  • Financial abuse where they want to control all your finances or withhold financial support.
  • Mental abuse, including gaslighting, manipulating, intimidation, and coercive control.
  • Emotional abuse is like threatening to leave or prevent you from seeing the children if you report the abuse or threaten to leave the relationship.
  • Isolating you from activities that involve your family or friends.
  • Sexual abuse, includes sexual assault, harassment, rape, withholding sex as punishment, unwanted sexual demands, use of sexually degrading language, hurting you during sex, or being tricked into having sex.

Help for Male Victims of Domestic Abuse

If you realize that you are a man on the receiving end of domestic violence, you can get help. It is unlikely that the abuser will change even with interventions, and the best solution for yourself is to consider leaving and seeking help. Here are the steps to take.

Tell someone about the abuse

If you have someone you trust, whether a family member or friend, you should open up to them about the abuse. You can also choose to speak to a healthcare provider or a close contact. While it may be hard to open up about the abuse, this is a critical first step to ensuring you get help. Talking to someone about it also allows you to let go of the bottled-up stress, leaving you feeling relieved.

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Create a plan to get out

Leaving an abuser is dangerous for a victim and thus requires careful planning to ensure personal safety.

Consider calling a national domestic violence hotline, law enforcement helpline, or any other domestic violence services to report the abuse and ask for help to get out and file a restraining order. Once you have made this phone call, you will be instructed on the steps to take to get out of the situation unharmed.

It is best to pack an emergency bag and consider leaving anything unnecessary behind when planning to leave. Ensure all your important documents are safe and that you have everything you need in your bag in case you need to leave with short notice.  

Seek therapy

When you come out of an abusive marriage or cohabitation, it is natural to struggle with overcoming the trauma. Most male victims of domestic violence develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anger issues, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, substance use, and other side effects of trauma. The best way to overcome the trauma is by seeking psychotherapy to manage the symptoms, better control your thoughts, and get over the trauma.

You can find relevant and reliable mental health professionals in your area from the AMA (American Psychological Association) website or online resources.

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Join a support group

Support groups for domestic abuse survivors are safe spaces where you get to connect with other survivors who have gone through the same situations. Options include The Mankind Initiative and MensGroup. is a leading online support group for men where male victims of domestic violence can get help and support.

Within a men’s domestic violence support group, men can share their experiences and get encouraged to overcome whatever they are going through, regardless of their sexual orientation. This eliminates the fear that people may not believe them, giving them the confidence to speak out.

 A men’s domestic violence group is a safe place for men to speak out when they feel oppressed or when they experience intimate partner violence (IPV) at home. This is a platform where they can express themselves without feeling judged since the members have also been through a similar situation.

More About MensGroup


Men’s Group is an all-men online support platform and resource center. As an online men’s support group, the main goal of this platform is to create an online community where men can be comfortable enough to share whenever they face different issues, including domestic abuse.

You will get career guidance, financial guidance, and social guidance to ensure you can successfully navigate life as a newly single person. This is the perfect group for looking for all-rounded support and building relations that will positively impact your life after an abusive relationship. Through MensGroup, you can become a better man, even after abuse.

Members meet virtually via chat, text, or video to share, educate, and inspire, ensuring men can get help even during this coronavirus pandemic.


Men undergo domestic violence too. If you are a man facing domestic violence or a survivor of domestic violence, finding and joining a support group is a good decision. is a group that helps men speak out about their low moments and gives them a platform where they can freely express how they feel away from their partners or families.

Domestic violence groups for men are a source of encouragement that reminds them they are not alone in what they are facing.

1. Male domestic abuse victims seen as 'under the thumb'
2. Men as victims of domestic violence: 'I was paralyzed'
3. How to recognise and help male victims of domestic abuse
4. Domestic violence against men
5. The Effects of Domestic Violence: The Male Victims Perspective.