Violence against men

Violence against men consists of violent acts that are disproportionately or exclusively committed against men. Men are overrepresented as both victims[1][2] and perpetrators of violence.[3][4] Sexual violence against men is treated differently in any given society from that committed against women, and may be unrecognized by international law.[5][6][7][8]

Violence by women against men is widespread and underreported. The official figure in the United Kingdom, for example, is about 50% of the number of acts of violence by men against women, but there are indications that only about 10% of male victims of female violence report the incidents to the authorities, mainly due to taboos and fears of misunderstanding created by a culture of masculine expectations.[9] A report from Canada even found violence by women against men to be more common than violence by men against women.[9] Sexual violence by women against men is even more taboo and even less studied or recognized.[10]


Studies of social attitudes show violence is perceived as more or less serious depending on the gender of victim and perpetrator.[11][12][13] According to a study in the publication Aggressive Behavior, violence against women was about a third more likely to be reported by third parties to the police regardless of the gender of the attacker,[14] although the most likely to be reported gender combination was a male perpetrator and female victim.[14] The use of stereotypes by law enforcement is a recognised issue,[15] and international law scholar Solange Mouthaan argues that, in conflict scenarios, sexual violence against men has been ignored in favor of a focus on sexual violence against women and children.[16] One explanation for this difference in focus is the physical power that men hold over women making people more likely to condemn violence with this gender configuration.[17] The concept of male survivors of violence go against social perceptions of the male gender role, leading to low recognition and few legal provisions.[18] Often there is no legal framework for a woman to be prosecuted when committing violent offenses against a man.[19]

Richard Felson challenges the assumption that violence against women is different from violence against men. The same motives play a role in almost all violence, regardless of gender: to gain control or retribution and to promote or defend self-image.[20]

Writing for TIME, Cathy Young criticised the feminist movement for not doing enough to challenge double standards in the treatment of male victims of physical abuse and sexual assault.[21]

Domestic violence

The 2013 "Partner Abuse State of Knowledge Project (PASK)",[22] published by the Domestic Violence Research Group (Springer Publishing journal "Partner Abuse"[23]) again reiterated the findings of parity in rates of both perpetration and victimisation for men and women. The "Unprecedented Domestic Violence Study Affirms Need to Recognize Male Victims".[24]

Men who are victims of domestic violence are at times reluctant to report it or to seek help. There is also an established paradigm that only males perpetrate domestic violence and are never victims.[25] As with other forms of violence against men, intimate partner violence is generally less recognized in society when the victims are men.[26][27] Violence of women against men in relationships is often 'trivialized'[3][28][29] due to the supposed weaker physique of women; in such cases the use of dangerous objects and weapons is omitted.[3] Research since the 1990s has identified issues of perceived and actual bias when police are involved, with the male victim being negated even whilst injured.[30]

Forced circumcision

Unneeded male circumcision is considered, by several groups, to be a form of violence against young men and boys.[31][32][33][34][35][36] The International Criminal Court considers forced circumcision to be an "inhumane act".[33] Some court decisions have found it to be a violation of a child's rights.[37] In certain countries, such as Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea, Turkey and the United States, newborn baby males are routinely circumcised without the child's consent.[38][39] As well, the Jewish and Muslim faiths circumcise boys at a young age.[40] It is also practiced in Coptic Christianity and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.[39][41] In Africa, forced circumcision and violence are taking place.[42][43]

Any cutting whatsoever of a female's genitals, also known as Female genital mutilation, has been banned in most western countries, starting in Sweden in 1982 and the United States in 1997.[44] When Sweden outlawed it in 1982, it became the first Western country to do so.[45]:611 Several former colonial powers, including Belgium, Britain, France and the Netherlands, followed suit, either with new laws or by making clear that it was covered by existing legislation.[46]

Although a 2012 court ruling in Germany put the practice of male cutting under question, calling circumcision "grievous bodily harm," the German parliament passed a law to keep circumcision of boys legal.[47] As of 2016, cutting of boy's genitals is still legal worldwide.[38]

Mass killings

In situations of structural violence that include war and genocide, men and boys are frequently singled out and killed.[48] The murder of targets by sex during the Kosovo War, estimates of civilian male victims of mass killings suggest that they made up more than 90% of all civilian casualties.[48] Other examples of selective mass killings of civilian men include some of Stalin's purges.[48]

Non-combatant men and boys have been and continue to be the most frequent targets of mass killing and genocidal slaughter, as well as a host of lesser atrocities and abuses.[49] Gendercide Watch, an independent human rights group, documents multiple gendercides aimed at males (adult and children): The Anfal Campaign,[50] (Iraqi Kurdistan), 1988 - Armenian Genocide[51] (1915–17) - Rwanda,[52] 1994. Forced conscription can also be considered gender-based violence against men.[53]

Sexual violence

In armed conflict, sexual violence is committed by men against men as psychological warfare in order to demoralize the enemy.[54] The practice dates back to Ancient Persia and the Crusades.[55] Castration is used as a means of physical torture with strong psychological effects, namely the loss of the ability to procreate and the loss of the status of a full man.[55] International criminal law does not consider gender based sexual violence against men a separate type of offense and treats it as war crimes or torture.[56] The culture of silence around this issue often leaves men with no support.[57]

In 2012, a UNHCR report stated that "SGBV (sexual and gender based violence) against men and boys has generally been mentioned as a footnote in reports".[58] In one study, less than 3% of organizations that address rape as a weapon of war, mention men or provide services to male victims.[6][8][59] It was noted in 1990 that the English language is "bereft of terms and phrases which accurately describe male rape".[60]


Homicide statistics according to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics[61]
Male offender/Male victim 65.3%
Male offender/Female victim 22.7%
Female offender/Male victim 9.6%
Female offender/Female victim 2.4%

In the U.S., crime statistics from the 1976 onwards show that men make up the majority of the homicide perpetrators regardless if the victim is female or male. Men are also over-represented as victims in homicide involving both male and female offenders.[61] According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, women who kill men are most likely to kill acquaintances, spouses or boyfriends while men are more likely to kill strangers.[62] In many cases, women kill men due to being victims of intimate partner violence,[63] however it should be noted that this research was conducted on women on death row, a sample size of approximately 97 during the last 100 years.[64]

See also


  1. Felson, Richard (2002). Violence and gender reexamined. American Psychological Association. p. abstract. ISBN 1557988951.
  2. "What Is Gendercide?". Gendercide Watch. Archived from the original on 2015-03-02.
  3. 1 2 3 "The Surprising Truth About Women and Violence: Traditional stereotypes have led to double standards that often cause women's violence—especially against men—to be trivialized.". TIME. June 25, 2014.
  4. "Our attitude to violence against men is out of date". The Telegraph. April 9, 2014. Retrieved April 9, 2014.
  5. Lewis, Dustin (2009). "Unrecognized Victims: Sexual Violence Against Men in Conflict Settings Under International Law". Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict (PILAC).
  6. 1 2 DelZotto, Augusta; Jones, Adam (March 2002). Male-on-Male Sexual Violence in Wartime: Human Rights' Last Taboo?. Paper presented to the Annual Convention of the International Studies Association (ISA). New Orleans, LA. pp. 23–27. Archived from the original on 2013-05-11.
  7. United Nations Population Fund (2002). Impact of Armed Conflict on Women and Girls. p. 64.
  8. 1 2 Stemple, Lara (February 2009). "Male Rape and Human Rights" (PDF). Hastings Law Journal. 60 (3): 605–647.
  9. 1 2 Why female violence against men is society's last great taboo
  10. The Understudied Female Sexual Predator
  11. Golden, Tom. "Male Bashing in Mental Health Research". Men Are Good. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-03-02.
  12. MUNIRKAZMI, SYEDA SANA; MOHYUDDIN, ANWAAR (2012). "VIOLENCE AGAINST MEN (A CASE STUDY OF NAIABAADICHAAKRA, RAWALPINDI)". International Journal of Environment, Ecology, Family and Urban Studies (IJEEFUS). Trans Stellar, Journal Publications. 2 (4): 1–9. ISSN 2250-0065. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-03-02.
  13. Feather, N. T. (1996). "Domestic violence, gender, and perceptions of justice". Sex Roles. 35 (7–8): 507–19. doi:10.1007/BF01544134.
  14. 1 2 Felson, Richard B.; Feld, Scott L. (2009). "When a man hits a woman: moral evaluations and reporting violence to the police". Aggressive Behavior. 35 (6): 477–88. doi:10.1002/ab.20323. PMID 19746441.
  15. Brown, Grant A. (2004). "Gender as a factor in the response of the law-enforcement system to violence against partners". Sexuality and Culture. 8 (3–4): 3–139. doi:10.1007/s12119-004-1000-7.
  16. Mouthaan, Solange (2013). "Sexual Violence against Men and International Law – Criminalising the Unmentionable". International Criminal Law Review. 13 (3): 665–95. doi:10.1163/15718123-01303004.
  17. Hamby, Sherry; Jackson, Amy (2010). "Size Does Matter: The Effects of Gender on Perceptions of Dating Violence". Sex Roles. 63 (5-6): 324–31. doi:10.1007/s11199-010-9816-0.
  18. Onyango, Monica Adhiambo; Hampanda, Karen (2011). "Social Constructions of Masculinity and Male Survivors of Wartime Sexual Violence: an Analytical Review". International Journal of Sexual Health. 23 (4): 237–47. doi:10.1080/19317611.2011.608415.
  19. Sowmya, S. "Sexual assault on men: Crime that is a reality".
  20. Robinson, Gail Erlick (2003). "Violence and Gender Reexamined". American Journal of Psychiatry. 160 (9): 1711–2. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.160.9.1711.
  21. Young, Cathy. "Sorry, Emma Watson, but HeForShe Is Rotten for Men". TIME.
  22. "PARTNER ABUSE STATE OF KNOWLEDGE PROJECT (PASK)". Editorial Board of the Peer-Reviewed Journal, Partner Abuse and the Advisory Board of the Association of Domestic Violence Intervention Programs.
  23. John, Hamel (ed.). "Partner Abuse New Directions in Research, Intervention, and Policy". Springer. ISSN 1946-6560.
  24. "Unprecedented Domestic Violence Study Affirms Need to Recognize Male Victims" (Press release). Springer. PRWEB. May 21, 2013.
  25. Woods, Michael (Oct 19, 2007). "1 The Rhetoric And Reality Of Men And Violence". Men's Health Australia. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-03-02.
  26. Das Dasgupta, Shamita (November 2002). "A Framework for Understanding Women's Use of Nonlethal Violence in Intimate Heterosexual Relationships". Violence Against Women. 8 (11): 1364–1389. doi:10.1177/107780102237408. (subscription required)
  27. This_Way_to_the_Revolution_114: A Memoir. Peter Owen Limited. 1 June 2011. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-7206-1521-0.
  28. Eva Schlesinger Buzawa; Carl G. Buzawa (2003). Domestic Violence: The Criminal Justice Response. Sage Publications. p. 150. ISBN 978-0-7619-2448-7.
  29. Donald G. Dutton (1 January 2011). Rethinking Domestic Violence. UBC Press. p. 148. ISBN 978-0-7748-5987-5.
  30. Buzawa, Eve S.; Austin, Thomas (1993). "Determining police response to domestic violence victims: The role of victim preference.". American Behavioral Scientist. 36 (5): 610–623. doi:10.1177/0002764293036005006.
  31. Stoffers, Carl (September 24, 2015). "The Bloodstained Men chop away at infant circumcision". NY Daily News. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  32. Ahlberg BM, Njoroge KM (2013). "'Not men enough to rule!': politicization of ethnicities and forcible circumcision of Luo men during the postelection violence in Kenya". Ethnicity & Health. 18 (5): 454–68. doi:10.1080/13557858.2013.772326. PMID 23758644.
  33. 1 2 "Plea to ICC over forced male circumcision". IRIN. 24 April 2011.
  34. Valorie K. Vojdik (2014). "Sexual Violence Against Men and Women In War: A Masculinities Approach". Nevada Law Journal. p. 923. doi:10.2139/ssrn.2271222. SSRN 2271222Freely accessible. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  35. "Men and Boys and Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV)". Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  36. "10 reasons we need a campaign to end violence against men and boys….". equality4men. 2013-11-03.
  37. Hebblethwaite, Cordelia (21 August 2012). "Circumcision, the ultimate parenting dilemma". BBC News. Washington DC. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  38. 1 2 "Neonatal and child male circumcision: a global review" (PDF). 2010. ISBN 9789291738557.
  39. 1 2 "Male circumcision: Global trends and determinants of prevalence, safety and acceptability" (PDF). World Health Organization. 2007.
  40. Glass JM (January 1999). "Religious circumcision: a Jewish view". BJUI. 83 Suppl 1: 17–21. doi:10.1046/j.1464-410x.1999.0830s1017.x. PMID 10349410.
  41. "Circumcision". Columbia Encyclopedia. Columbia University Press. 2011.
  42. Vision Reporter (20 June 2012). "Forceful circumcision in Mbale: Police fire teargas". New Vision.
  43. Akumu, Patience. "Where do battered men go?". The Observer.
  44. Australia: "Review of Australia's Female Genital Mutilation Legal Framework", Attorney General's Department, Government of Australia.
    New Zealand: "Section 204A – Female genital mutilation – Crimes Act 1961", New Zealand Parliamentary Counsel Office.
    Europe: "Eliminating female genital mutilation", European Commission.
    United States: "18 U.S. Code § 116 – Female genital mutilation", Legal Information Institute, Cornell University Law School.
    Canada: Section 268, Criminal Code.
  45. Essén B, Johnsdotter S (2004). "Female genital mutilation in the West: traditional circumcision versus genital cosmetic surgery". Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica. 83 (7): 611–3. doi:10.1111/j.0001-6349.2004.00590.x. PMID 15225183.
  46. Boyle 2002 p. 97.
  47. "Circumcision remains legal in Germany". DW.COM. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  48. 1 2 3 Jones, Adam (2000). "Gendercide and genocide". Journal of Genocide Research. 2 (2): 185–211. doi:10.1080/713677599.
  49. Human Security Report 2005: War and Peace in the 21st Century, p. 111.
  50. "Case Study: The Anfal Campaign (Iraqi Kurdistan), 1988". Gendercide Watch.
  51. "Case Study: The Armenian Genocide,1915-17". Gendercide Watch.
  52. "Case Study: Genocide in Rwanda, 1994". Gendercide Watch.
  53. Carpenter, R. C. (2006). "Recognizing Gender-Based Violence Against Civilian Men and Boys in Conflict Situations". Security Dialogue. 37 (1): 83–103. doi:10.1177/0967010606064139.
  54. Will Storr. "The rape of men: the darkest secret of war". the Guardian.
  55. 1 2 Sivakumaran, S. (2007). "Sexual Violence Against Men in Armed Conflict". European Journal of International Law. 18 (2): 253–76. doi:10.1093/ejil/chm013.
  56. "The invisibility of gender violence in International Criminal Law - addressing sexual violence against men and women in conflict". TransConflict. February 18, 2015. Retrieved February 18, 2015.
  57. "HEALTH: Rape as a "weapon of war" against men". Irin News. 2011.
  58. "UNHCR issues guidelines on protection of male rape victims" (Press release). UNHCR. Oct 8, 2012. Archived from the original on November 14, 2012.
  59. "Rape as a Weapon of War: Men Suffer, Too". TIME. August 3, 2011. Retrieved August 3, 2011.
  60. Richie McMullen (September 1990). Male rape: breaking the silence on the last taboo. GMP. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-85449-126-1.
  61. 1 2 "Homicide trends in the United States" (PDF). Bureau of Justice Statistics.
  62. Greenfeld, Lawrence A.; Snell, Tracy L. (December 1999). "Bureau of Justice Statistics - Special Report - Women Offenders" (PDF). Bureau of Justice Statistics. p. 14. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  63. Farr, Kathryn Ann (July 1997). "Aggravating and Differentiating Factors in the Cases of White and Minority Women on Death Row". Crime & Delinquency. 43 (3): 260–278. doi:10.1177/0011128797043003002. They [women] typically kill people they know, primarily men - most often husbands or lovers in domestic encounters (Mann 1996; Campbell 1993; Silverman et al. 1993; Weisheit 1993; Browne 1987; Goetting 1987; Wilbanks 1983). ... Many female murderers have killed husbands or boyfriends who battered them repeatedly (Gillespie 1989; Browne 1987).
  64. "Women and the Death Penalty - Death Penalty Information Center".
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