Why is this website called WomensLaw.org? Is the information here only applicable to women?
Even though the website is called WomensLaw.org, the legal information included here is applicable to everyone regardless of their sex or gender. This website was created with women in mind because a very large percentage of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault are women. However, we understand that for a male victim, those statistics are irrelevant and the need for assistance and support is just as important. Our hope is that on this website, you can find the information you need and the support you deserve.
What are gender stereotypes and what does it have to do with domestic violence?
Gender stereotyping is assigning characteristics, differences, and attributes to someone based on his/her gender.1 Traditionally, to consider a man “masculine,” he would be expected to display strength, power, competitiveness, and be less emotional and affectionate, especially towards fellow men.2
Most of society, including some men who are victims of domestic violence and, often times, service providers and first responders, may have these stereotypes ingrained in their worldview. People might think a man is too emotional if they see him cry often or that he’s not being ‘manly’ enough if he’s not a good provider or doesn’t know how to work with tools.3 So, when a man is a victim of domestic violence, he, or the people he reaches out to, including the police, healthcare system, and even organizations that work with domestic violence, might have conflicting attitudes towards his report. This, in turn, will affect when and if men report being abused and the response they receive as a result.4 For more information on this, please see Why is it so difficult for men to look for and find help and support?
1 Gender Stereotyping, Gender Equality Law Center.
2 Fawkner, H.J., Encyclopedia of Body Image and Human Appearance (2012).
3 See Healthy Masculinity, U matter, Princeton University.
4 See Why Men Who Are Domestic Violence Victims Don’t Report, Psychology Today.