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Men are increasingly seeking shelter from abusers

Most resources for victims of domestic violence are aimed, understandably, at helping women. While women are far more likely to be victimized than men, a growing number of men are being abused.

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the number has increased by 73 percent since 2014. It could be higher, because men are less likely to report it than women.

There are myriad reasons why men don't report abuse. They're afraid that no one will take them seriously or even believe them. They may feel embarrassed that they are being physically assaulted by a woman. They fear not seeing their children again. Male victims of domestic violence are not always abused by women. Some are abused by male spouses or boyfriends.

While men are generally the larger, stronger ones in male/female relationships, that doesn't mean that they can't be seriously injured or killed. One shelter director says she's seen men who were attacked by hammers, knives, curling irons, hot grease, beer bottles and more.

The issue of men as victims is becoming increasing recognized. Some domestic violence shelters are now housing exclusively men (and their children) or having separate sections for men and women. However, one shelter director notes that allowing male and female victims to interact in a safe setting can be positive for both. She says, "The real world doesn't isolate you. "It's a beautiful opportunity to introduce victims of domestic violence to members of the opposite sex. They talk and they respect each other, they learn to develop trust. They find out that not all men, or all women, are batterers."

There are legal steps that anyone who is a victim of domestic abuse can take to help protect themselves and their children, including getting a protective order. A Massachusetts attorney can provide advice and assistance.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "'It's hard for a guy to say, "I need help."' How shelters reach out to male victims of domestic violence," Jenny Jarvie, accessed Aug. 29, 2017

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