It may shock many people, but women are not the only ones threatened by domestic violence. While one in four women will be victims of severe violence from an intimate partner at some point in their lives, research shows that one in seven men will also be victims of severe domestic violence.
In an attempt to aid this overlooked demographic, a first-of-its-kind domestic violence shelter will open in Arkansas serving all-male victims, according to Raw Story.
The Taylor House Domestic Violence Shelter for Men will likely be the first ever male-oriented domestic abuse shelter registered in the United States.
“Many people do not realize that domestic violence also affects men,” said Patty Duncan, executive director of the non-profit Family Violence Prevention which operates the shelter. “It’s not just male-female relationships. Domestic violence includes intimate partners, family and household members.”
For the time being, the shelter contains nine beds, as well as extra space for men who must bring their children with them.
The non-profit previously helped both male and female victims. Duncan and others who work at the shelter believe that more male victims are out there but are unwilling to come forward.
“It’s going to be easier for a male victim to go into a program and speak to someone about their feelings, their emotions, their fears, their concerns, to someone who may not judge them and may not look like an abuser to them,” explained Duncan.
The shelter currently houses five men.
One of the most difficult aspects of removing oneself from abusive relationships is finding a place to stay in order to leave a violent home, which is what makes these shelters so essential to providing help to victims.
Fortunately, the Lexington Herald of Kentucky reports that a new bill aimed at allowing abuse victims to break rental agreements without fear of penalty has won approval by the Kentucky House.
The legislation “takes down one of those barriers to leaving an abusive relationship,” said Rep. Joni Jenkins, the bill’s lead sponsor. “We know that many times it’s economics, not being able to afford to break a lease.”
Besides just the financial implications, victims who break their leases can often have a difficult time finding new landlords to rent to them as well.
In order to qualify for this lease-breaking protection, victims would be required to obtain a long-term protective order from a court, as well as provide a 30 days’ written notice to the landlord.
Kentucky would be joining 29 states who already provide some form of leasing protections for domestic violence victims, with 20 allowing early termination of rental agreements.
The bill is now headed to the Senate for final approval.