The U.S. Surgeon General once referred to domestic violence as the number one health concern in the nation. As many as one in four American women have been the victim of some form of domestic violence, often at the hands of male romantic partners. For this reason, domestic abuse is sometimes thought of as solely a women’s issue. However, men are the victims of domestic violence, too. As many as one in seven American men have been the victims of domestic violence, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Two recent tragic Minnesota cases involved men who, police believe, were killed by their female romantic partners. In the first case, prosecutors have filed homicide charges against a St. Paul woman whom they believe hired a man to kill her husband. In the second, prosecutors filed charges against a woman whom they said killed her boyfriend and stored his body in a freezer.

In previous generations, the authorities did little to stop domestic violence against women. This kind of violence remains an extremely important and all-too-common problem in society, but there is a growing consensus among lawmakers and law enforcement officials that the authorities must intervene to stop it. However, in their well-meaning efforts to stop domestic violence, these authorities and the news media sometimes fail to recognize that men, too, can be the victims. News reports of the two homicides cited above typically failed to refer to them as examples of domestic violence.

Because society sometimes fails to recognize that men can be the victims of domestic violence, some men may not feel comfortable requesting protective orders or taking advantage of other legal actions meant to protect people from domestic violence. It should not be that way. All Minnesota residents who are the victims of violence in any kind of domestic relationship should seek out all legal avenues available to protect themselves.

Source: Star-Tribune, “Domestic violence isn’t just a women’s issue,” Mark Shumate, Sep. 6, 2013