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Health & Balance

Help for Battered Men

Domestic violence befalls mostly women, but men are victims, too.
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Getting Help

The first step in getting help is reaching out.

"The Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men is the only one in the nation that offers support and help in finding resources specifically for men," says Brown, of the not-for-profit helpline. "We'll provide options and support and help a man understand that the abuse is not his fault and it is not acceptable." The Domestic Abuse Helpline can be reached from anywhere in the US and Canada, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by calling 1-888-7HELPLINE (1-888-743-5754).

"What people should know is that abuse is about power and control, and regardless of whether the victim is a man or a woman, it is never OK," says Havilah Tower-Perkins, media relations coordinator for the National Domestic Violence Hotline. "We urge anyone whose relationship scares them to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH) at (800) 799-SAFE (7233) or the TTY line for the deaf: (800) 787-3224. The Hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, year round with live advocates who can answer questions, discuss safety options, and connect callers to resources in their local area. Every call to NDVH is anonymous."

Stopping the Abuse

Other steps for men who are being abused to take include:

  • "Never allow yourself to be provoked into any kind of retaliation," says Brown. "We tell men if they have to be in an argument, do it in a room with two doors so they can leave; a lot of times a woman will block the door, the man will try to move her, and that will be enough for him to get arrested."
  • "Document everything," says Cook. "Go to your doctor and tell him what happened, even if he doesn't ask how you were injured. Take photographs of your injuries, and make sure if the police are called that they take a report, and get a copy of the report for yourself."
  • "Work with an advocate from a domestic violence program to get a restraining order," says Brown. "Not only will this help protect you from an abusive partner, but it will also allow you to ask for temporary custody of your children in order to protect them from the domestic violence."
  • Get counseling so you can start healing, and get legal advice, says Cook.
  • Talk with your family and friends who can help support you. "They will understand," says Brown.

"Abusers are good at making you feel isolated and alone, but you're not," says Brown. "We get calls from all types of people -- doctors, lawyers, laborers, people in the military. The biggest hurdle they face is finding someone who believes them. If they are believed, they can get help, and that's why we're here."

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Reviewed on December 22, 2003

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