The number of male victims calling the National Domestic Abuse Hotline has doubled in seven years. A Dallas group has opened the second shelter in the U.S. exclusively for male victims, following the opening of a male shelter in Arkansas.
A Texas group has opened what’s believed to be only the second shelter in the U.S. exclusively for men who are victims of domestic violence, as advocates say more men are seeking help amid changing views about male victims, reports the Associated Press. “We’re trying to help men understand that it’s OK to ask for help. It’s OK to have emotions. It’s OK to cry. It’s OK to be vulnerable,” said Paige Flink of The Family Place in Dallas. Before opening the 21-bed shelter in a two-story home Flink’s organization, like many others, housed male victims in hotels. Not only was that becoming costly as the numbers grew, it also wasn’t an ideal arrangement for victims to get support. “They get a lot of growth from being together,” she said.
The number of male victims calling the National Domestic Abuse Hotline and its youth-focused project — loveisrespect — has been growing. Last year, about 12,000 male victims called, about 9 percent of victims who identified their gender. That’s double the about 5,800 male victim callers from 2010, said spokeswoman Cameka Crawford. “We believe that there are likely many more men who may not report or seek help for a number of reasons,” she said. Flink said her organization has sheltered men abused by male partners, female partners or relatives. Some men bring their children. Flink believes one reason her group has seen an increase in male victims has to do with how Dallas police have been handling domestic abuse calls: They ask a series of questions and if someone is believed to be in danger, that person is immediately put on the phone with a shelter. The first shelter in the U.S. solely for men opened two years ago in Batesville, Ar., a town of 11,000.