When talk of domestic violence comes up in North Carolina and elsewhere, the first image that often comes to mind is that of a battered woman. The truth is that men can easily find themselves the victims of domestic assault.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline takes a look at the facts surrounding why men feel reluctant to come forward and admit their victimhood. No matter the gender, no one deserves to be stuck in a loveless, violent relationship.

Stereotypes are (unfortunately) alive and well

In fact, the depiction of women as victims of domestic violence is a stereotype that inadvertently pushes male victims into the background of the discussion. Abused men may not know where to go for support or how to raise the issue in a way that people believe and understand.

Pride leads some men to keep their feelings bottled up

Another unfortunate stereotype is that of men tucking their emotions away and replacing them with a brave face. Men in abusive relationships may feel that they cannot talk to anyone about the violence or how it impacts them psychologically; otherwise, they compromise their masculinity.

Just like women, men in abusive relationships feel ashamed

Feelings of shame know no gender. The Dallas Morning News notes that men in violent relationships feel a sense of failure, and they may feel broken inside. Both male and female victims of domestic violence may feel that something is inherently wrong with them for falling in love with an abusive partner.

All victims of domestic violence, regardless of gender, need to know that they are blameless in the matter. They should not feel a sense of responsibility for someone else’s inability to take ownership of their mental health.