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We often hear about cases where a woman is in an abusive relationship, but the latest research shows many men are also victims of abuse.
WAAY 31 learned more about the issue and why so many of these cases go unreported.
Lupia Guion is an anger management counselor in North Alabama, and she said there is a narrative that a lot of people don't see. She works with women who are seeking treatment, because they are abusive to their boyfriends or husbands.
"I would say it's almost 50/50. I have just as many females in my group as I do males. It's shocking because we don't think about a female being the perpetrator, because you don't hear about it. It's not often reported," Guion said.
According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 13.8 percent of men have been victims of severe physical violence from their intimate partner. However, the story of men being victims of domestic violence is a story that is not always heard.
"I think men are insecure about letting someone know they've been abused. We hear it all the time when we think about DV [domestic violence]. We always think about women. At least I would, being a woman. I've had the opportunity to counsel men and women, and the gentlemen that I talk to say, 'You don't want to tell someone that your wife is hitting you or that your girlfriend is hitting you,'" Guion said.
We spoke with one woman who is currently in court-ordered anger management classes. She asked us to conceal her identity.
"I always thought the fighting and arguing was normal. Not fighting, but I thought the stuff I was going through was just a little bump in the road, but that bump in the road led me to jail and anger management...I knew, all of the built-up pressure I had was gone, all from letting it out on something," the woman said.
The victim in this case pressed charges against the woman we spoke with. The court ordered her to a 12-week anger management class, since this was her first documented offense.
Experts say if you’re a man in an abusive relationship, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. It happens to men from all cultures and all walks of life, regardless of age, occupation or sexual orientation.
Figures suggest that as many as one in four victims of domestic violence are male. According to the National Crime Victimization Report, between 2003 and 2012, men accounted for 24 percent of domestic violence survivors.
"Most times, I'm shocked because you don't hear it everyday, but at the same time, I respect them so much because for sharing. A lot of times, they'd say, 'When she started to hit me, I grabbed her to say stop.' Sometimes they end up getting in trouble when they're defending themselves. It goes both ways, but most times, it's a pride thing and it's not supposed to happen to me. 'I'm a man and it's not supposed to happen to me,' but it can. There's no difference. Whether you're a man or woman, we have to learn how to respect each other," Guion said.
Emotional and verbal abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse. Guion says the first step to protecting yourself and stopping the abuse is to reach out. Talk to a friend, family member or someone else you trust, or call a domestic violence helpline.
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