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Can adult men be victims of domestic abuse?

If you are a man and a victim of abuse in Texas, you may face unique fears about seeking help. It is a common misconception that only men are perpetrators of abuse and only women are victims. 

Men often feel immense guilt and inadequacy after suffering abuse — feelings that traditional stereotypes can reinforce. But male victims are more common than you think, and there is help available. 

It is more common than you think

The National Domestic Violence Hotline reports that nearly 15% of callers identify themselves as male victims, and the Center for Disease Control estimates that as many as one in seven men will be victims of intimate partner violence at some point during their lives. Experts believe that the actual rate of male abuse is much higher, however, since so few men report their experience. 

Cultural gender definitions have long told men to never complain and to quietly suffer hardship. Culture has traditionally taught men to be strong and self-sufficient and to never hit a woman — even if she hits first. While these lessons have their values, they can also discourage men from speaking up about abuse. 

Men can be victims of physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, abuse in heterosexual relationships, abuse in homosexual or transgender relationships and in as wide a variety of ways as women can. Domestic violence is wrong no matter how it happens. 

Because domestic abusers tend to be habitual offenders, not only can speaking up help you as a current victim, it can also save others from future abuse or even make other victims feel safe about coming forward. 

Help is available

While domestic violence shelters for women are often more visible in communities around the US, there are many shelters and support services available to men as well. Similarly, men have the same legal rights that women have when it comes to domestic violence. In fact, the Violence Against Women Act, despite its name, also protects male victims under the law. 

Texas takes allegations of abuse seriously — no matter who the victim is. But unfortunately there are judges who doubt or dismiss some allegations due to their own prejudices or misconceptions. 

Providing evidence to corroborate your claims will help your case — especially in these situations. Collect text messages, recordings, photographs and any other evidence you can. 

Understanding Texas law about domestic violence can help you plan a stronger case in court when it comes to legal recourse, protective orders, divorce, child custody and other cases.