With more than one million men in the United States estimated to have been victims of domestic violence, the nation’s researchers have looked for patterns in their findings that could help guide policymakers in addressing the problem.
According to the researchers, men are much more likely than women to be the target of violent assaults.
In fact, men were the most likely group to be assaulted by their partners, while women were more likely in intimate relationships.
And despite being the largest group, men experienced the most violence in their relationships.
Men are more than twice as likely as women to have experienced a “violent assault.”
“Men are more prone to violence, and men are even more likely,” said lead researcher Michaela Riggs-Sturm, a professor at the University of California, Davis.
“Violence against men, and male victims of intimate partner violence, are not just a result of domestic abuse,” she said in a statement.
“Men and boys are also disproportionately at risk for being victims of rape, sexual assault, and other forms of intimate violence, as well as being the primary perpetrators of violence against women.”
In their study, published in the journal Psychology of Men and Masculinity, researchers looked at a variety of types of violent acts committed by men, including threats, physical abuse, and stalking.
“This work offers a framework for policymakers and other researchers to identify and implement policies and programs to reduce intimate partner abuse, increase men’s safety and promote respect for the rights of men,” said Jessica Miller, a postdoctoral researcher in the department of social work at the UC Davis School of Social Work.
Miller, Riggs, and colleagues also noted that the gender of perpetrators in their study varied greatly.
Women made up 77 percent of the victims of physical assault and 74 percent of those who were stalked, while men were only 27 percent and 25 percent of victims of these forms of violence, respectively.
The researchers also found that men were more inclined to report being the aggressor.
“One reason for this is men are less likely to report a threat,” Miller said.
“We found that if men are perceived as the aggressors, they are more inclined than women who do not perceive the threat as a threat to report it to the police.”
The researchers noted that while it’s unclear what role men play in the perpetration of violence in the home, it is likely that they may be more likely if their partners are also perceived as violent.
“In addition, it’s also possible that men are likely to feel more comfortable reporting a physical aggression to the authorities because of their perceived masculinity, which might result in increased victimization of men in intimate partners relationships,” Miller added.
In other words, men may be less likely if they are perceived to be threatening to their partner, but are more so if they feel threatened by their partner.
Men also are more apt to report that they were threatened by a person they have known or a person whom they know of.
“The threat was perceived as threatening, but we also found a negative consequence of reporting the threat,” Riggs said.
“The threat is that they are going to do something that could result in them being hurt, and that might include their relationship being broken up,” Miller continued.
In addition to their research, Miller and her colleagues also conducted a qualitative study on the experiences of men and boys in their research setting.
They surveyed more than 2,000 participants about their experiences in their homes, including their perceptions of violence.
“As we looked at the survey, we saw that men who reported being threatened were much more frequently assaulted than men who did not,” Miller explained.
“There was a higher rate of male assault in situations where the perpetrator was a friend, relative to a stranger,” Miller told Newsweek.
“There was also a higher likelihood that men in relationships with other men were attacked, especially when the man was a known male abuser.”
Miller said the study showed that men experience more violence, which is consistent with previous research that has linked domestic violence to physical abuse.
“Violence can occur in any intimate relationship, whether it’s a man-to-man, man-and-boy, or a woman-to–man relationship,” Miller noted.
“So, the research we’ve done has shown that men’s violence experiences have an impact on the lives of men, particularly those in intimate relationship relationships,” she added.