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Domestic violence knows no gender boundary (USA)

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Throughout October, battered women's advocates and media attention is focused on bringing more public understanding and promoting the eradication of men's violence against women. However, not all intimate-partner violence (IPV) fits into this neat little package.

IPV against men, especially against men by female intimate partners, has always been a hot-button issue. The mere mention of male victims in a gathering of traditional domestic-violence advocates creates great controversy.

While domestic-violence activists may know men are victims, they insist that their victims service agencies (more than 2,000 of them in the country) should focus exclusively on ending violence against women by men because women are the most injured and prevalent victims. As a result, serious outreach and services for the male victims of IPV are sorely lacking.

According to a Department of Justice study, men are victims of assault by their partners in more than 30 percent of the reported cases in the U.S. each year.

The disparity between the needs of those victims and the services available is large. The gap must be closed, and that can be done only through education, services and advocacy.

While resources for men are still scarce, awareness is increasing; and hopefully, more services will follow. IPV is not a gender issue; it is simply a human issue. Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men & Women envisions a world where services are available to victims and survivors without prejudice.

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