Men Are Victims of Domestic Violence, Too

A look at knife-crime stats led to some surprising figures about assaults at home.

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The spate of knife crime across the pond that has thrown the British press into quite a tizzy got me wondering about similar U.S. stats. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, knives were used in 14 percent of the homicides that occurred in 2005 (the most recent year for which data was posted). Handguns were used in about 55 percent. No surprises there.

What I didn't anticipate, however, was that my online search for information about knife violence would keep turning up sites about domestic violence against men. This post from the website batteredmen.com, for example, kept appearing, making the case that domestic violence against men—which not infrequently involves knives—is too often overlooked. That site looks a little rough around the edges, so I checked further into the peer-reviewed research.

I was surprised to find out that about 835,000 men are physically assaulted or raped by their intimate partners each year, according to a study published in 2007 and authored by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number could quite possibly be even larger, since it's thought that many men don't report domestic abuse. (Psychiatric News has an interesting write-up of the study, which among other things points out that women seem often to instigate violence). Also interesting: There seems to be tendency for women to use knives—as opposed to guns—against their husbands when domestic violence flares. According to the Department of Justice, about 6 percent of female and 10 percent of male victims faced partners armed with knives.

There's little doubt that women endure more of all types of domestic violence than men, including knife violence; the CDC reported that 1.5 million women are victims each year. But it's easy to forget that the violence can go both ways.