Soldier uses camera to catch the other side of domestic abuse

Sep 22, 2015 at 11:46 a.m. ET
Image: Denkou Images/Cultura/Getty Images

Domestic violence is often seen as a problem for women. In fact, one in three women has been assaulted by a partner. It's terrible. But it's also an issue for men. Shockingly the numbers aren't all that different (one in four), and one man is highlighting this less-publicized truth with a shocking video of his assault by his ex-wife.

In the middle of a long divorce and custody battle over twin 2-year-olds, a soldier who is not being identified because he is an assault victim decided to GoPro film the custody exchange he had with his ex-wife.

The result is this: "The camera shows Michael reaching into the back of the car to unbuckle one of his sons. As he is doing that you hear him scream and jerk back. Going frame by frame, in the bottom right hand corner of the video you see what appears to be the hand of 37-year-old Corinne Novak as she forcefully grabs his genitals," The Army Times says.

It's horrible to read and horrible to imagine anyone doing this, especially in front of young children. But it happens every day. Every. Single. Day. Many times during the day, in fact. To both men and women.

There is often a stigma attached to being a male victim of domestic violence. We accept that it happens to women and we create support groups and awareness for them, but we say men need to step up or that no real man would be abused by a woman. It's not true. For any of us to say we really care about domestic violence, we need to also support men and accept that it's true that they can be victims, too. That it is just as scary and just as shame-filled, and just as hard as when it happens to a woman.

Maybe it's because men are often seen as bigger and stronger than women. But they are also trained not to hit women back and very often, the shame about being abused keeps them quiet. According to the National Association Against Domestic Violence, "On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men." Notice it says both women and men.

This man is brave for putting his story out there, but the shame shouldn't be on him. It should be on his abuser. And the countless others like her, both male and female. Domestic violence is an everyone problem.

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