Men hesitant to report domestic abuse because of negative stigma, advocates say

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.  - Domestic violence advocates say 1,100 Hoosier men report domestic violence crimes every year, but are hoping even more men will come forward if they know about programs available.

On Monday, a Muncie man reported his soon to be ex-wife beat him with a tire iron. Advocates said he took the first step many men are hesitant to do.

“When it comes to men reporting violence, particularly when you’re talking about a man who has been assaulted by a female partner, the reporting rates are abysmal. The don’t report," explained Caryn Burton, the training coordinator for Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence. She added, “there’s a stigma. There’s a certain amount of ‘macho’ dynamic.”

Statistics show about 84 percent of victims who report abuse are women.

“This is predominately a gender based crime where it is male violence against their female partners," Burton said.

Advocates believe more men are starting to come forward, though, because there's an increase in the amount of programs available for them.

“We’re doing a better job in reaching out and saying there’s service available and you have options and it’s okay to say this is what’s going on and it’s okay to say I need help getting away with this," said Burton.

Federal law states shelters and organizations must provide equal service for both men and women victims. Burton said the message for victims is the same across the board, no matter the gender.

"You have the right to feel safe. You have the right to feel valued and respected in your relationship," she said.

Click here for a link for more information on The Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence and programs available.

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