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The Unspoken: Counselling Support for Men Affected by Female Perpetrators of Domestic Abuse

Updated: May 6

Domestic abuse is a pervasive issue that transcends gender, affecting a broad spectrum of individuals. While societal narratives often depict men as the primary aggressors in abusive relationships, there is an increasing recognition of men as victims, particularly of female perpetrators. This blog explores the critical role of counselling men affected by female perpetrators of domestic abuse, helping men open and talk about their experiences with domestic abuse, highlighting how it can foster recovery and empowerment . Domestic Violence by female perpetrators can manifest in various forms, including physical, emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse. The dynamics might differ from those typically observed in male-perpetrated abuse, often reflecting complex interplays of power, control, and vulnerability. In terms of lethality, although women are more frequently the victims of severe and fatal domestic abuse, men also suffer deadly outcomes.

Statistics of Domestic Abuse ( )

The latest Office for National Statistic figures (2022/23) show victims of domestic abuse are 751,000 men and 1.38 million women.

In 2022/23, 13 men died because of domestic abuse compared to 56 women (ONS 2022/23).

6.5% of male victims (2.8% women), have considered taking their life due to partner abuse in 2022/23.

Recent statistics from the UK give insight in the prevalence of female perpetrators on domestic abuse cases, but they are not explicitly broken down by gender of the perpetrator in general reporting. However, the overarching data indicates that domestic abuse is still predominantly perpetrated by men. According to Women's Aid 94.6% of perpetrators were male, highlighting that female perpetrators represent a smaller, though significant, portion of cases (Women's Aid

This statistic highlights ongoing severe impact of domestic abuse, emphasising the need for continued efforts in prevention, support, and awareness across all genders.

The Challenge of Speaking Out

For many men, admitting that they are victims of domestic abuse perpetrated by females is fraught with challenges. Social stereotypes that paint men inherently strong and dominant can make it difficult for them to come forward. Men may hesitate to report abuse due to fear of ridicule, disbelief, being perceived as weak, or downplaying of their experiences. This stigma not only hampers the support and resources available to male victims but also obscures the true scale of female-perpetrated domestic abuse. These societal barriers contribute to underreporting and a lack of support for male victims, leaving many to suffer in silence.

The Role of Counselling for Supporting Men Affected by Female Perpetrators of Domestic Abuse

Counselling provides a critical avenue for breaking through the stigma and silence surrounding male victims of domestic abuse. Through, therapeutic support, men can find a safe and confidential environment to express their feelings without judgement.

  • Safe Space for Disclosure: Counsellors create a supportive, confidential, and non-judgemental space where men can feel secure enough to express their feelings and share their experiences without fear of judgement or disbelief. This safe space is vital for those who have been conditioned to believe that acknowledging victimhood is a sign of weakness.

  • Validation of Experience: Many male victims struggle with self-doubt and minimisation of their experiences. Counsellors help validate these experiences by affirming that what they are going through is real and that their feelings are justified. This validation is crucial for healing and recovery.

  • Challenging Societal Norms: Counsellors can help challenge the traditional gender stereotypes that often contribute to the stigma surrounding male victims of domestic abuse. By addressing these norms directly, counselling can help men understand that vulnerability affects all genders, and seeking help is a sign of strength not weakness.

  • Addressing Emotional Impact: Counselling helps men address the complex emotional impact of domestic abuse, which can include feelings of anger, shame, depression, and anxiety. By working through these emotions, men can begin to heal from their trauma and regain their sense of self-worth.

  • Developing Coping Strategies: Counsellors work with men to develop effective coping strategies to manage the emotional and psychological consequences of abuse. These can include stress management techniques, communication skills, and way to rebuild confidence and independence. These strategies can empower men to manage their feelings more effectively, address their trauma, and begin the healing process.

  • Long Term Empowerment: Through ongoing counselling, men can rebuild their self-esteem and autonomy, which are often eroded in abusive situations. Empowerment through counselling helps men make informed decisions about their future, including legal and personal choices, fostering a sense of regained control over their lives.

Overcoming Barriers and Rebuilding Lives

Men who have experienced domestic abuse often face barriers when seeking help and rebuilding their lives, primarily due to societal stereotypes and expectations about masculinity. Many fear that their experience will not be taken seriously, or that admitting to being victims will undermine their perceived masculinity. However, overcoming these barriers is crucial for recovery. Supportive counselling services, awareness campaigns, and male-focused support groups have been instrumental in helping men realise that strength truly comes from seeking help, not suffering in silence. As more men come forward, the stigma diminishes, encouraging others to seek the assistance they need and deserve.

The journey of rebuilding lives after domestic abuse is both challenging and transformative. Men who take the courageous step to break free from abusive situations often find strength in shared experiences through support networks. These networks not only provide emotional comfort and practical advice but also foster a sense of community and belonging that many victims lose in isolating abusive relationships. With professional help, men learn to develop new coping strategies, regain their self-esteem, and re-establish their lives on a foundation of respect and safety. This process not only heals them individually but also contributes to the broader societal change, reshaping how male victims of domestic abuse are perceived and supported.

Relevant organisations or research:


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