LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC-TV) – When police respond to a domestic dispute between a man and a woman, chances are the woman is the victim.
But that's not always the case.
In fact, one study published in 2008 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found one in ten men had been victims of domestic violence. Half of the violence they experienced was physical, with 20 to 40 percent of men describing the violence as "severe."
And though these statistics might shock some, they don't surprise national columnist and men's rights advocate Glenn Sacks.
"Research shows that about a third of all domestic violence injuries are sustained by men, so it is a significant problem," said Sacks. " The research has been clear on this for 35 years, that women are at least as likely and to some degree more likely, to initiate domestic violence than men are."
Sacks said the legal system is no help to abused men either.
He said men who experience abuse are not likely to report it because they fear they will be perceived as the abuser by police and arrested. He also said abused men who are fathers don't want to risk losing or leaving their kids with an abusive mother.
"Let's say you're a father, you're married, have two kids and your wife is abusing you," explains Sacks. "Well, if you take off and leave then you're leaving your kids in the sole custody of an abusive, violent woman.
Another problem is a shame factor. I have seen men ridiculed who have gone to authorities or who have talked in the media about being abused by their wives and very often they're ridiculed," added Sacks.
Sacks said the problems are only going to grow worse for men until victims speak out and demand change, much like women's groups have done in recent decades.
"There has to be a real public consciousness that domestic violence against men is a real issue," said Sacks.
Domestic violence does not just affect heterosexual men. According to some studies, a quarter of gay relationships are violent. But like other abused men, many gay victims never seek help.
While there are no local organizations dedicated to helping abused men, the Calcasieu Women's Shelter said they would assist male victims in finding helpful resources. Call 436-4552 for more information.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline helps both male and female victims of domestic violence. Call 1-800-799-SAFE.
Mayo Clinic article on domestic violence against men