Academic journal article International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences

Male Victims of Intimate Partner Violence in the United States: An Examination of the Review of Literature through the Critical Theoretical Perspective

Academic journal article International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences

Male Victims of Intimate Partner Violence in the United States: An Examination of the Review of Literature through the Critical Theoretical Perspective

Article excerpt

Introduction

Domestic violence or intimate partner violence has been an ugly scourge in American society for many years. In the 1970s, various feminist groups brought domestic violence into the general conversation of America and through many protests into the criminal justice system (Carney, Buttell, & Dutton, 2007; Dutton, 2007; and Minaker & Snider, 2006). For this reason, the vast majority of individuals who report incidents of domestic violence are women; however, men have also been found to be victims of intimate partner violence (Carney, Buttell, & Dutton, 2006; Frieze, 2005; Lowenstein, 2005; Schroffei, 2004; Swan, Gambone, Caldwell, Sullivan, & Snow, 2008). Unfortunately, intimate partner violence policy has constituted limits to the male victims of this crime. The criminal justice system continues to ignore issues arising from this steadily growing problem. In this article, the male victim's experience has been described through the conflict theoretical perspective, as the experience in relation to American society and its criminal justice system. This article examines this problem through a review of literature. In addition, the past and present policies of the American criminal justice system are also analyzed.

Male Victim's Experience

Male victims of intimate partner violence have become a serious issue in the United States. According to Ménard, Anderson, and Godboldt (2008), approximately 3.8 women and 1.3 men per 1,000 are victims of intimate partner violence each year. The Bureau of Justice Statistics (2007) noted that each year approximately 1,181 women and 329 men are victims of intimate partner homicides. Even though the numbers are not as high for men as for women, these victims cannot be ignored. The cost of intimate partner violence has been assessed to exceed $5.8 billion (Menard, et al., 2008). These costs consist of such things as police cost to domestic violence disputes, court cost to prosecute, shelters (mainly for women victims), hotlines for both men and women, mandated treatment programs, hospital cost for reported injuries, and prison maintenance. Homicides caused through intimate partner violence and the financial costs of intimate partner violence have caused the criminal justice system to change its responses to this type of crime. This change is in conflict with the societal perspective of how victims of intimate partner violence are viewed in turn of assistance from police; the court system, and support services for victims and perpetrators.

Domestic violence, in the past, has been seen as a personal rather than a social problem. According to Lowenstein (2005), the past patriarchal society has led to the inequality of women's points of view about social problems such as domestic violence. Earlier, police departments viewed these disturbances as family squabbles and not as violence against an individual. Therefore, these disturbances were not treated with the same seriousness as an assault on a total stranger.

Today, domestic violence is viewed as a serious social problem and a crime. The debate is between those who perceive domestic violence only to battered women (Johnson, 2005) or battered men (Hines, Brown, & Dunning, 2007; Stwan, et al., 2008). This societal conflict has resulted in the argument that, if males are victims of domestic violence, then it is due to the self-defense of women being abused (Hines, Brown, & Dunning, 2007). Hines, Brown, and Dunning (2007) also noted that intimate partner violence has been categorized into two distinctive research categories; one, which are common couple violence described by population-based studies and other is patriarchal terrorism described through studies of battered women. Because of the feminist movements, women have been strongly recognized as victims of domestic violence. There is still discrimination on male victims in intimate partner violence cases.

The victimization of men by their women partners is a serious social problem and it is largely ignored by the society. …

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