Male domestic abuse victims on the rise
DALLAS — A Texas group has opened what’s believed to be only the second shelter in the U.S. exclusively for men who are victims of domestic violence, as advocates say more men are seeking help amid changing views about male victims.
“We’re trying to help men understand that it’s OK to ask for help. It’s OK to have emotions. It’s OK to cry. It’s OK to be vulnerable,” said Paige Flink, CEO of The Family Place in Dallas.
Before opening the 21bed shelter in a two-story home in May, Flink’s organization housed male victims in hotels. But Flink said that was that becoming costly and it also wasn’t an ideal arrangement for victims to get support.
“They get a lot of growth from being together,” Flink said.
The number of male victims calling the National Domestic Abuse Hotline and its youth-focused project — love is respect — has been growing. Last year, about 12,000 male victims called — about 9 percent of victims who identified their gender. That’s about double the about 5,800 male victim callers from 2010, said hotline spokeswoman Cameka Crawford.
“We believe that there are likely many more men who may not report or seek help,” she said.
Flink said her organization has sheltered men abused by male partners, female partners or relatives. Some men bring their children. Flink believes one reason her group has seen an increase in male victims has to do with how Dallas police in recent years have been handling domestic abuse calls: They ask a series of questions and if someone is believed to be in danger, that person is immediately put on the phone with a shelter.
About 31 percent of men and 37 percent of women in the U.S. have experienced violence or stalking by a partner, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Family Place shelter for men in Dallas is believed to be only the second shelter in the U.S. exclusively for men who are victims of domestic violence.