Domestic violence is a recurrence of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain control over another intimate partner. Assorted types of domestic violence include physical abuse, sexual abuse occurs when the abuser coerces the victim into having sexual contact or sexual behavior without the victim’s consent.
Emotional abuse involves invalidating and messing with the victim’s sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem, Economic abuse takes place when the abuser makes or tries to make the victim financially reliant, Psychological abuse involves the abuser invoking fear through intimidation; threatening to interfere with what the victims cheries most, and the list goes on. Hearing the word domestic violence, there is an automatic association of the men being the perpetrators and the woman being the victims. The issue with this is men can be on the other side of the spectrum and take the role of the victim.
Over the last twenty-five years, leading sociology have repeatedly found that men and women commit violence at similar rates (Kelly, 792). Men being the victims of domestic violence can be best explain with sociological Feminist theory and Agenda-setting theory. Susan Lawrence is Emergency Nurse Practitioner who discusses the factors that led to domestic violence and the reasons why men who experience domestic violence tend to decline report or admit to a problematic relationship. Overall domestic violence is ignored by society and the media.
Most occasions this portrays women as the victims of abuse and does not include domestic violence against men (Lawrence, 2003). A study case was compose regarding a man from a low socio-economic background, short and ectomorph body type. He reported shoulder pain and stated that his wife had struck him and no further action was taken. As he speaks to the nurse his head is down and doesn’t make much eye contact. The nurse who treated the client in a case study labed Box 1 noted that there was a lack, little to no available resources available to help the client.
In this case study, the nurse had access to a private room, which allowed confidentiality during the physical examination and private discussion with the client. A few months later, the client was presented again with physical injuries and gave the same nurse details of his past and present problems, including testicular pain. He had been hit by his wife throughout the marriage but did not want to cause any intervention between them. The client appeared relieved to be able to talk about the problem in confidence.
He was asked about leaving the marriage and replied that he did not want to. The nurse reported experiencing a sense of accomplishment in working autonomously and also in allowing the client to talk openly about his experiences without becoming judgemental. The open and honest discussion was a way this men went through his pain dealing with domestic violence. Support is always available for women and children were as nothing is suggested in support of male victims of domestic violence.
“Courts and society have glommed into the victim image” (Schechter,1996) The problems where the victim “looked” a certain way to be considered in distressed or battered.Visuals play a big role where one might lose custody on their children solely based on being seen as helpless, paralyzed victims who can’t manage daily activities in life. Stating that Fitting into the victim image helps people believe you and whether or not your situation will be handled in a serious manner. Ximena E. Mejia again refers to little amounts of therapy and its leading goal of treating men.
A key point made is because male clients have been socialized in ways that suppress their abilities necessary for coping with trauma, therapy must help the client redefine masculinity freeing up and strengthen the client’s own coping mechanisms. After this preliminary phase of stressing a revised masculinity and developing hope, resilience, and transcendence, effective therapy may move to a second phase in which traumatic experience and its legacies can be addressed. The women’s movement was a catalyst for empowering women to make choices about their own lives.
As the feminist movement evolved, so has feminist theory, which has begun to make its presence known in the fields of psychology and counseling (Mejia, 2005). Society leaves more burden on the men when it comes to violent issues and the trauma that follows. The agenda- setting theory was discovered by Maxwell E. Mccombs and Donald L. Shaw. The theory introduced the idea that mass media has a huge influence on the public by the way topics are presented to the public.
The media doesn’t have the ability to say what to think but sets the agenda on what people should be thinking about. Michael Howlett analysis and creates, in his opinion a more current policy of agenda- setting theory (Soroka,1999). Feminist theory has evolved and changed meaning throughout the years. Feminist sociological theory studies gender inequality and how gender can structure the social world. Having the feminist perspective focuses on understanding gender inequalities. For years, from birth a baby is raised differently according to its gender at birth.
Lise Eliot, the author of Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow into Troublesome Gaps – and What We Can Do About It, tells Helena de Bertodano of the Times of London, the brains of boys and girls aren’t really that different after all. It’s the social conditioning they receive that makes them pick up and internalize gender roles. Lessons on what young ladies should do or boys don’t cry are taught throughout agents of socialization like family, schools, the media, peers. Social learning also happens through observation.
Children begin exhibiting gender-stereotyped behaviors quickly by the age of two and affect life moving forward. Feminist theory Evaluation on Men being Domestic Violence Victims Based on these gender-stereotypes we are raised on, It’s hard to go against that and picture men in a vulnerable state as domestic violence victims.
People don’t usually think of men as being capable of being victims or targets of abuse. We associate them more with moral and physical strength and being protectors of the house. This idea does not align nicely with an image of someone being degraded or abused. “When men do seek help, they often feel they’ve lost their “man credibility..That’s largely an internal barrier that women haven’t had to overcome.”
This falls under feminist theory because genders live up to certain expectations that get in the way of life. Men should not be fearful of asking for help because it shows a sign of weakness. Men keep their struggles hidden out of fear of being judged, not knowing where to get help, having the situation worsen, or someone believing them (Lawrence, 2003) They are not as in tuned with their emotions like woman leading to build up, psychological issues and worse suicide. Woman are seen as the complete opposite of men being the more sensitive type, and likely to be victims.Women shouldn’t be treated differently in court because of this gender expectations .
Crimes should be handled equitably, not acknowledging stereotypical gender roles in the process. Gender should not be a factor that comes into play with what people do or experience. Weakness of Feminist theory As stated before feminist theory is always changing and build upon patriarchy values. Patriarchy is a system of society where men hold a larger amount of power over the woman. This can exclude talking about male victims of domestic violence in LGTBQ relationships. Queer theory emphasizes the importance of being different and rejects and any sort of ideas that are restrictive of limiting. Queer challenges prevailing notions of sex, gender.
When there a two men involved, it challenges the meaning of patriarchy because the female is taken out of the equation. Focusing on heterosexual relationships, members of LGTBQ are largely left out. NCADV states “In a study of male same sex relationships, only 26% of men called the police for assistance after experiencing near-lethal violence”, This is important because domestic violence can happen in all relationships and feminist theory only applying to some may affect how one may handel the situation. Feminist theory is changing within society and has not be modernized to fit the way society lives today yet. Agenda-setting theory Evaluation on Men being Domestic Violence Victims Agenda-setting theory portrays that the media can set the public agenda by selecting certain news stories and excluding others, thus influencing what audiences think about.
A simple Google search stating men as the victims of domestic violence does not result in a fair amount of data. Men being domestic violence victims is a taboo subject, a topic for jokes. As explained by Lawrence and Mejia, there is a issue in existing resources that men have to go to being the victims. There are women’s shelters, and the Violence Against Women Act (1990), however similar services do not exist for men. Solutions starts will awareness and addressing the topic full-on even if it goes completely against everything we know and believe.
Does not make it right when men cause the violence however, does not make it right to dismiss them as victims as well. Limit portrayal of men victims of domestic violence leaves them feeling helpless, and alone thinking they are the only ones dealing with this or it isn’t a big deal if nobody is talking about it. The media rarely talks about this issue especially following the Me too movement. Men are left in the dust to deal with their issues on their own. Men that do find the courage to speak up are faced with laughter and useless responses like “hit her back” (Smith, 2016).
The audience based on media unintentionally focuses on one group more than the other because there is more articles, news outlets, and popularity discussing it. Flaws of Agenda-Setting Theory Some flaws of Agenda-setting theory is people respond to media content in different ways based on your backgrounds,cultures, and way of thinking. Domestic Violence might not be as big of a topic for some. After hearing the reality from different media, people have the ability to ignore it. For example, Veganism has not become a big topic until recent years.
More and more sources are coming out on how becoming vegan can advance you and the environment, showing what goes behind the scenes of the process it takes to get the meat on your plate, etc. The horrific information is out to the public but people continue eating meat because they dont single handling see how this affects them or this way of eating is convenient to them. Basically having the option to dismiss data and information because it benefits them. Public attention to problems follows a “issue attention cycle” where the public becomes suddenly aware of a problem gradually lose interest (Soroka,1999).
The media always looking for the biggest and greatest thing to talk about. Once something is said, discussions start arising and people start questioning what should be done to fix the matter. Different issues are hot topics for a few weeks while others are still being debated for years. Important topics can be pushed to the side or completely forgotten by a more popularly topic. This demonstrating that media has a huge impact on society but its up to society to take charge on the issue. If it was up to mass media, nothing would be fully resolved and taken care of.
Courageous people are the ones that go against media and take a stand on what they think should be talked about. Gun violence laws keep getting overlooked causing more mass shooting to occur. However, people didn’t wait for the agenda to be set but rather they set the agenda on their own. Domestic violence on men needs to be addressed by the audience first to resolve the tabooness of it all. Conclusion The issue of men being domestic violence victims can be best analyzed by the feminist theory because even though there is a huge gap leaving out LGTBQ relationships, feminist theory is everso changing within society.
This allows for the theory to be “caught up” with what’s happening in society. The agenda- setting theory and media portrayal on men victims can be more categorized as factor of gender inequalities. Stereotypes of men lead to there being little to no representation of the issue. Facing the issue head on is the most reasonable way of taking care of this issue. Society must start with getting rid the gender expectations we put into society. Men have feelings and have a right to express them as much as women. Being taught from young that its normal to have these types of emotions.
Concealing what goes inside, is not healthy for the mind or body. Bottling emotions can lead to greater issues so emitting change as simple as talking it out will help tremendously. Redefining masculinity and noting that experiences should be fairly treated. Understanding that anyone can go through these issues, masculine or not. Being physically strong as nothing to do with being too tough to go through things like domestic violence. Interacting with each other, learning from each other, that this world needs to change for the better.
- Broady, T. R., Gray, R., & Gaffney, I. (2014). Taking Responsibility: A Psychological Profile of Men Attending a Domestic Violence Group Work Intervention Program in New South Wales, Australia. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 29(14), 2610–2629. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260513517300
- Mejia, Ximena E. (2005). Gender matters: Working with adult male survivors of trauma.(Practice & Theory). Journal of Counseling and Development, 83(1), 29-40. Lawrence, S. (2003). Domestic violence and men. (gender issues). Nursing Standard, 17(40), Retrieved from http://link.galegroup.com.ez.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/apps/doc/A105853188/AONE?u=cuny_johnjay&sid=AONE&xid=d3059ef2
- Linda Kelly. (2003). Disabusing the Definition of Domestic Abuse: How Women Batter Men and the Role of the Feminist State. Florida State University Law Review, 30, 791-987. Smith, B. C. (2016, November 19). What Domestic Violence Against Men Looks Like. Retrieved December, 2018, from https://melmagazine.com/en-us/story/what-domestic-violence-against-men-looks-like
- Soroka, S. (1999). Policy Agenda-Setting Theory Revisited: A Critique of Howlett on Downs, Baumgartner and Jones, and Kingdon. Canadian Journal of Political Science / Revue Canadienne De Science Politique, 32(4), 763-772. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org.ez.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/stable/3232512
- Schechter, S. (n.d.). Applications of Feminist Legal Theory (K. D. Weisberg, Ed.). Retrieved 2018, from https://www.overdrive.com/media/261535/applications-of-feminist-legal-theory-to-womens-lives ‘Courts and society have glommed into the victim image’
- Mejia, Ximena E. (2005). Gender matters: Working with adult male survivors of trauma.(Practice & Theory). Journal of Counseling and Development, 83(1), 29-40.