Women are not the only victims of domestic violence, according to new statistics from the Czech Republic.
According to recent surveys, up to 38 percent of Czech men have experienced domestic violence from their female partners.
Last year, however, only some 600 men asked Czech authorities for a shelter to hide from their aggressive partners. In 160 of these cases, authorities expelled the wives or female partners from the households.
Experts point out that this number is just a tip of the iceberg since men tend to be more ashamed of becoming victims than women. The number of men that need help but don’t ask for any is probably much higher than the estimates.
“Men often feel ashamed about what is happening in their homes and refuse to accept aid. With time, they are psychologically exhausted and lack the energy to tackle the issue,” Zdeňka Prokopová, from the Rosa NGO helping domestic violence victims, explains.
Moreover, the number of abused Czech men is on the rise.
They face not only physical violence but also psychological pressure, humiliation as well as sexual and “economic violence” when their partners force them to give up their whole financial income.
Besides, men can suffer from “social violence”. In such cases, their partners isolate them from relatives and other people.
The abuse of men is not only present in the Czech Republic, with one study finding that two in five victims of domestic abuse are actually men in Great Britain.
While women can use secret asylum homes and flats if they need to escape from their partners tormenting them, there are no asylum homes for male victims of domestic violence in the country.
This is why the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry is preparing an amendment to the law on social services. “It will include a new target group – victim of gender-conditioned violence,” Ministry Spokesman Vladimír Dostálek said.
Consequently, if maltreated men turn to an intervention center, they will be offered help from experts, such as psychologists and therapists. Along with psychological support, they will be provided with legal consultancy, given advice about how to leave an aggressive wife and gain custody of their children.