Mens Rights = Equal Rights
Male victims of domestic violence have been seriously neglected in public policy, outreach and services. But they are not rare. They’re less likely to report it, which makes oft-cited crime data (DoJ, etc.) unreliable especially for men.
Prevalence and Injuries
Virtually all empirical survey data shows women initiate domestic violence at least as often as men in heterosexual relationships and that men suffer one-third of physical injuries from domestic violence. Over 200 of these studies (and growing), using various methodologies, are summarized by Professor Martin Fiebert at
Harvard Medical School and the American Psychiatric Association both recently announced a major national study in the U.S. that found half of heterosexual domestic violence is reciprocal and that: "Regarding perpetration of violence, more women than men (25 percent versus 11 percent) were responsible. In fact, 71 percent of the instigators in nonreciprocal partner violence were women."
The study also found: "As for physical injury due to intimate partner violence, it was more likely to occur when the violence was reciprocal than nonreciprocal. And while injury was more likely when violence was perpetrated by men, in relationships with reciprocal violence it was the men who were injured more often (25 percent of the time) than were women (20 percent of the time)."
A recent 32-nation study by the University of New Hampshire found women are as violent and as controlling as men in dating relationships worldwide.
Many government-funded domestic violence programs still discriminate against male victims. In Australia and the UK, the government had to revoke funding from domestic violence shelters for refusing to help male victims.
Other governments, like Holland, have created funds for battered men’s shelters.
But in many countries, battered men’s shelters remain without any public funds.
Battered men’s shelters have recently formed in Serbia in Croatia.
In October 2008, the National Coalition For Men won a landmark appellate case in California that held it is unconstitutional to exclude male victims of domestic violence from the statutory funding provisions or from state-funded services. Woods v. Horton (2008) 167 Cal.App.4th 658.
NCFM did this on a pro bono basis and thus focused on overturning the law, not on doing deposition and gathering evidence of the discrimination itself. The court accepted the State’s claim that 15% of state-funded shelters refuse to help men (which is significant in itself especially when they are concentrated in certain areas), but the number is much higher than that. The ones that "help men" usually just refer them to a far-away shelter that gives men hotel arrangements.
The federal Violence Against Women Act discriminates as well. First, it explicitly excludes American Indian men from its provisions on Native American. Second, it is implemented in a discriminatory manner nationwide, as the funds get routed to state coalitions that limit the funds to women. Dr. Richard Gelles explains this in his article, "Male Victims: The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence."
Finally, the very title discriminates and stigmatizes male victims by leaving them invisible and downplaying the seriousness of male victimization, making them an afterthought at very best. We don’t have a “Men’s Occupational Safety and Health Act” just because 92% of occupational deaths happen to men.
"Build Your Own Shelters"
Some claim men’s groups do not really care about male victims or do anything to help them. First, this claim is misleading because the main goal of men’s rights groups is to end discrimination against men, similar to other anti-discrimination groups. Second, men’s groups do care about and help male victims. Battered men’s advocates also built a privately-funded men’s shelter in Yreka, CA and set up the National Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women. NCFM networks with sober living homes in parts of California to shelter battered men referred by NCFM and has transported battered men to and donated money the Valley Oasis shelter in Lancaster, donated money to Valley Oasis, sent volunteer advocates to court with male victims, and provided moral and other support to male victims.
Telling men to "build your own shelters" is like telling women "build your own unions" because men built most unions. The discrimination we challenge is in taxpayer-funded programs, and men pay at least half of those taxes. It will take decades to establish the geographic spread that existing shelters have and meanwhile taxpayer-funded shelters can at minimum offer hotel vouchers to battered men, but most do not.
Another common criticism is that the studies showing women initiate domestic violence as often as men are based on the Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS) which, they say, is not contextual enough and does not account for self-defense. At the outset, this is a hypocritical argument because these same critics have used CTS-based studies for decades to cite figures on female victims and they only criticize CTS when it applies to male victims. Even the DoJ, which most feminist groups cite, uses CTS. It is the most common methodology used in science to measure abuse.
In response to the criticism, researchers updated the CTS in 1985 to ask who initiated the violence first and found the same results (and even if one can "initiate" violence in self-defense, that would be true of both sexes).
Dr. Richard Gelles explains:
"Contrary to the claim that women only hit in self-defense, we found that women were as likely to initiate the violence as were men. In order to correct for a possible bias in reporting, we reexamined our data looking only at the self-reports of women. The women reported similar rates of female-to-male violence compared to male-to-female, and women also reported they were as likely to initiate the violence as were men."
"The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence; Male Victims," 1999, The Women’s Quarterly, re-printed with the author’s permission at
Professor John Archer further explains:
“It has often been claimed that the reason CTS studies have found as many women as men to be physically aggressive is because women are defending themselves against attack. A number of studies have addressed this issue and found that when asked, more women than men report initiating the attack. (Bland & Orn. 1986; DeMaris, 1992; Gryl & Bird. 1989. cited in Straus. 1997) or that the proportions are equivalent in the two sexes (Straus, 1997). Two large-scale studies found that a substantial proportion of both women and men report using physical aggression when the partner did not (Brush, 1990; Straus & Gelles, 1988). This evidence does not support the view that the CTS is only measuring women’s self-defense."
"Sex Differences in Aggression Between Heterosexual Partners: A Meta-Analytic Review, Psychological Bulletin," Sept. 2000. v. 126, n. 5, p. 651, 664.
Subsequent research asked about motives and self-defense and found self-defense is only a small percentage of the violence by either sex. For example, one of the largest studies ever done in England found not only equal perpetration by gender but that men and women assaulted their partners for the same reasons, most often “to get through to them,” while self-defense was one of the least common motives for both sexes and men were hitting in self-defense slightly more often than women were. Carrado, “Aggression in British Heterosexual Relationships: A Descriptive Analysis, Aggressive Behavior,” 1996, 22: 401-415.
California State University surveyed 1,000 college women: 30% admitted they assaulted a male partner. Their most common reasons: (1) my partner wasn’t listening to me; (2) my partner wasn’t being sensitive to my needs; and (3) I wished to gain my partner’s attention. Martin Fiebert, Ph.D., Denise Gonzalez, Ph.D., “Why Women Assault; College Women Who Initiate Assaults on their Male Partners and the Reasons Offered for Such Behavior,” 1997, Psychological Reports, 80, 583-590, www.batteredmen.com/fiebertg.htm.
A 32-nation study of domestic violence by the University of New Hampshire in 2006 found women’s violence in dating relationships was just as controlling as men’s. http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/ID41E2.pdf
Professor Don Dutton further refutes the self-defense myth. See Dutton, D., & Corvo, K., "Transforming a flawed policy: A call to revive psychology and science in domestic violence research and practice," (11) 2006, 457-483 http://www.nfvlrc.org/docs/DuttonCorvo.policypaper.pdf
MALE RAPE VICTIMS
Historically, many rape laws excluded male victims from the protections women receive. The Model Penal Code of the United States, for example, defined "rape" so that only women could be victims.
In England, funding for sex abuse victims is often denied for male victims.
The federal government spent hundreds of thousands of dollars studying rapes on college campuses while ignoring rapes in prisons where men are frequently subjected to prison rape or sexual abuse, and not just by other men. In fact, consensual sex between prisoners and guards is considered sexual abuse, especially when the prisoner is a minor, and female guards commit this form of abuse in significantly high numbers.
"Inside youth prisons, scores of female guards violated boys." http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/metro/stories/MYSA041107.01B.krod.3a6c8…
See also, "Female Prison Guards Are More Likely Than Males to Have Sex With Inmates"
Rapes of males frequently occur in the form of statutory rape, and not just by other males. A student survey in New Mexico found 43% of teacher sex abuse comes from female teachers but over 90% of prosecutions are of male teachers.
A recent study found 2 out of 5 South African boys say they were raped, “most often by adult women.”
A large study in Canada found high rates of homeless kids being molested, with 3/4 of the molestations of boys being by adult women, but there were still no programs for the boys, only for girls.
Though there is little empirical research, adult women do forcefully rape men, including disabled men. For example:
African men being raped and battered by women in Namibia
Quadriplegic man used eyes and toes to testify about female caregiver raping him. http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/4090392a12855.html
Female Caregiver For Mentally Disabled Man Charged With Rape
Tembisia police report women gang raping men.
An increasing number of men in Tasmania are reporting sexual assaults.
Two Kuwaiti women were convicted of kidnapping and raping a man. http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=3&art_id=iol11669473496…
Nun receives only one year in jail for raping two boys. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080202/ap_on_re_us/church_abuse_nun;_ylt=Ai…
Police Say HIV-Positive Woman Raped Boy
Men are also frequently victims of “sexual coercion” by both women and men. (Sexuality and Culture, Summer 2000.) According to a May 2008 study by the University of New Hampshire, 28% of college women and 11% of college men experienced unwanted sexual contact and the perpetrator was a member of the opposite sex 98% of the time for girls and 91% of the time for boys. See Table 1 at
FALSE ACCUSATIONS OF RAPE
Almost every month we read of another man let free by DNA after years of incarceration due to a false rape accusation. False accusations are hard to measure and there is not much available research, but the existing research shows the problem is not uncommon.
A study in India found 18% of rape accusations are false and are often “coached.”
In a nine-year study of 109 rapes reported to the police in a Midwestern city, Purdue sociologist Eugene J. Kanin reported that in 41% of the cases the complainants eventually admitted that no rape had occurred. In a follow-up study of rape claims filed over a three-year period at two large Midwestern universities, Kanin found that of 64 rape cases, 50% turned out to be false. Among the false charges, 53% of the women admitted they filed the false claim as an alibi. Kanin EJ. An alarming national trend: False rape allegations. Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 23, No. 1, 1994 http://www.sexcriminals.com/library/doc-1002-1.pdf.
Kanin was once well known and lauded by the feminist movement for his groundbreaking research on male sexual aggression. But His studies on false rape accusations, however, received very little attention.
The U.S. Air Force study found 60% of rape accusations were false and the most common reasons for false rape accusations were: (1) spite or revenge; (2) feelings of guilt or shame; or, (3) to cover up an affair. Mental illness also played a role. McDowell, Charles P., Ph.D. “False Allegations.” Forensic Science Digest, (publication of the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations), Vol. 11, No. 4 (December 1985), p. 64.
According to a 1996 Department of Justice report, “in about 25% of the sexual assault cases referred to the FBI, … the primary suspect has been excluded by forensic DNA testing.6 It should be noted that rape involves a forcible and non-consensual act, and a DNA match alone does not prove that rape occurred. So the 25% figure substantially underestimates the true extent of false allegations. Connors E, Lundregan T, Miller N, McEwen T. Convicted by juries, exonerated by science: Case studies in the use of DNA evidence to establish innocence after trial. June 1996 http://www.ncjrs.gov/txtfiles/dnaevid.txt
According to former Colorado prosecutor Craig Silverman, “For 16 years, I was a kick-ass prosecutor who made most of my reputation vigorously prosecuting rapists. … I was amazed to see all the false rape allegations that were made to the Denver Police Department. … A command officer in the Denver Police sex assaults unit recently told me he placed the false rape numbers at approximately 45%.” http://web.archive.org/web/20050404230831/http://www.thedenverchannel.co…
According to the FBI, about 95,000 forcible rapes were reported in 2004. Federal Bureau of Investigation. Forcible rape. February 17, 2006. http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius_04/offenses_reported/violent_crime/forcible_…
Based on the statements and studies cited above, some 47,000 American men are falsely accused of rape each year. These men are disproportionately African-American. Innocence Project: Facts on post-conviction DNA exonerations. http://www.innocenceproject.org/Content/351.php
Some of these men are wrongly convicted, sentenced, and imprisoned. Even if there is no conviction, a false allegation of rape can “emotionally, socially, and economically destroy a person. False accusations of rape are a form of psychological rape that is not included in the traditional definition of “rape.” And false accusations are not studied enough because it’s politically incorrect to talk about. Meanwhile the names of the accusers are often protected while the names of the accused are not.
Here are just a few sample stories about false accusations:
Four young men traumatized by false rape accusations.
Man released on rape charge after 22 years in prison.
6 falsely accused young men rescued by video of orgy directed by accuser.
Female rapists sentenced for rape and false accusation.
Women falsely claims rape to justify lover’s attack on ex boyfriend.
17 year old boy released after false rape accusation.
Innocent man falsely accused of rape to win back lover.
Victim Now Accused of False Report," The News Herald, 11/22/06.
Orange County woman jailed for false rape claim.
U.K. judge jails "skillful actress" who falsely accused man of rape.
Woman charged with filing false claim of sexual attack to police after road rage incident.
The claim that only 2% of rape accusations are false is totally unfounded and is purportedly based on FBI crime data though we have yet to see this confirmed by anyone and crime data is never a reliable source to project upon the population as a whole, as compared to empirical research. But no matter what the numbers are, there is no excuse for the lack of attention to the problem or the hostile and emotional reactions that come when anyone discusses false rape accusations.
Falsely accused persons are victims too, and to deny or downplay the experiences of those victims is a hypocritical form of victim-blaming. False accusations of rape are a form of psychological rape that can damage a person for life regardless of whether there is a conviction.
Much more attention and research is needed in this area. False accusers should be prosecuted (they rarely are) and face same punishment their accused could receive. And the names of the accused should be protected as much as the names of the accusers.
Glenn Sacks did a good blog entry detailing the research, the truth is out there
"“According to a nine-year study conducted by former Purdue sociologist Eugene J. Kanin, in over 40 percent of the cases reviewed, the complainants eventually admitted that no rape had occurred (Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 23, No. 1, 1994). Kanin also studied rape allegations in two large Midwestern universities and found that 50 percent of the allegations were recanted by the accuser.
Kanin’s findings are hardly unique. In 1985 the Air Force conducted a study of 556 rape accusations. Over one quarter of the accusers admitted, either just before they took a lie detector test of after they had failed it, that no rape occurred. A further investigation by independent reviewers found that 60 percent of the original rape allegations were false
A Washington Post investigation of rape reports in seven Virginia and Maryland counties in 1990 and 1991 found that nearly one in four were unfounded. When contacted by the Post, many of the alleged victims admitted that they had lied.
According to a 1996 Department of Justice Report, of the roughly 10,000 sexual assault cases analyzed with DNA evidence over the previous seven years, 2,000 excluded the primary suspect, and another 2,000 were inconclusive. The report notes that these figures mirror an informal National Institute of Justice survey of private laboratories, and suggests that there exists “some strong, underlying systemic problems that generate erroneous accusations and convictions.”"
For a good site on false accusations of rape visit