WHILE most Australians are aware of the horrors of domestic abuse, many are not aware of the forgotten victims: Australian men.
Australian men make up a large number of victims of abuse: about one in three victims.
What worries experts most is the trend of young women and their behaviours towards partners, who, after witnessing abuse at home, decide that violence towards men is okay.
Author of the book Breaking the Silence -A Practical Guide For Male Victims Of Domestic Abuse, psychologist Elizabeth Celi said young girls witnessed aggressive behaviour by mothers at home, which subsequently carried over to their own romantic relationships.
"Thirty years of research and over 500 research studies keep no secret about female aggression towards their male partners," Dr Celi said.
"Men and kids, especially daughters, are getting the impression that Mum hitting, yelling or criticising Dad is somewhat 'normal' behaviour in a relationship, which has obvious disastrous implications for our kids' future relationships."
Research suggests that in teenage relationships, females were the main instigators in cases of aggressive behaviour, with 34% of girls compared with only 2.6% of boys who admitted to having "kicked, bitten or hit a romantic partner".
Dr Celi said that, more often than not, females were prone to initiating abusive behaviour and that many cases of domestic abuse would simply be slipping under the radar.
The studies showed that of couples who reported one or more assaults, both the man and woman were violent in 48.6% of cases.
Research also showed that in cases of abuse, women initiated as much as half of all violent confrontations.
Dr Celi said men were also the silent sufferers and the risk of men staying in an abusive relationship longer than women was higher.
"Intellectually, he's committed to the promise of marriage and loves her," she said.
"Emotionally and instinctively, he doesn't want to risk leaving the kids alone with her, should he leave.
"If we're serious about reducing the devastating issue of family violence, especially domestic violence, we need to seriously look at both female and male victims as well as male and female perpetrators."
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