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4 myths about men and intimate partner violence

A man rests his hand on his chin near the window of a coffee shop.

July 6, 2021—Everyone deserves to feel safe and respected in their relationships, no matter their gender. But abuse is often thought of as a problem only women experience. That's not true.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 7 men will experience severe violence at the hands of an intimate partner during their lifetime. Supporting men who are victims of intimate partner violence is important. A good place to start? Let go of these common myths.

Myth: Men can't be victims of domestic violence.

It is true that more women report intimate partner violence. But it affects men too. In the United States, about 1 in 3 men experiences physical or sexual violence or is stalked by a partner in his lifetime. Around 35% of those men report long-term health impacts due to rape, stalking or physical violence. Experiencing abuse is not a weakness, and it doesn't make the victim less of a man.

Myth: Gay, bi or trans men who speak up may harm the LGBTQIA2S+ community.

Some LGBTQIA2S+ men worry that speaking up about violence could create or contribute to harmful stigma about their community. But staying silent about it can't help you or anyone else who is being hurt. By leaving or seeking help, you're saying that LGBTQIA2S+ people deserve healthy and safe relationships too.

Myth: Men who experience abuse have nowhere to turn.

While there may currently be more services available to women, there are places for men to turn. Some communities now have dedicated men's shelters. And if that's not available where you live, advocates at the National Domestic Violence Hotline can help you brainstorm other options. Take a look at your support system too. Maybe there's a trusted friend, colleague or family member you could confide in. Or your primary care provider might be able to suggest resources.

Myth: There is no help available for abusive men.

Support is also available for men who are worried that their own behavior may be abusive. The National Domestic Violence Hotline offers confidential support and advice 24/7. They can help men recognize and address negative or harmful patterns in their relationships.

If you are concerned about intimate partner violence in your life, reach out to the hotline at 1.800.799.SAFE (1.800.799.7233) or text "START" to 88788. You can also visit thehotline.org to chat live.

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