An estimated one in four American men will experience domestic violence and abuse at some point in their life. Far fewer will report their abuse.

Over the course of the past decades, researchers have seen a major increase in men who report domestic violence. As educational efforts and acceptance become more prevalent, more men come forward, but the numbers are still deceptively low.

Similarly, the more men speak about their experiences as survivors, the better equipped communities are to help with the unique impacts domestic violence and assault have on men.

Why men do not come forward about abuse

Researchers often cite societal expectations and a lack of knowledge as primary reasons for why men rarely report abuse. Many men believe that they will be seen as less manly or that their abuse was not “bad enough” to warrant calling the police.

Because of the way we talk about abuse, men often do not believe that domestic violence laws apply to male victims or that resources exist for them.

According to some nonprofit organizations, men stay in abusive relationships for an average of three years, and they often are unsure if their experiences count as abuse, even after asking for help.

New initiatives focused on men may help

Domestic abuse is a problem worldwide, and a number of initiatives to protect men from violence are receiving attention globally. As the world continues to learn more about how to help men, fewer men will feel the need to stay silent.

If you or your loved one is a victim of domestic violence, please reach out for help. You can reach the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.