Domestic violence is not a one-way street.
The perception that physical abuse among loved ones is strictly a women's issue is far from reality. In fact, about 40 percent of all victims of domestic violence in the U.K. are men, as this video by the ManKind Initiative points out, citing research by the country's Office of National Statistics. The group provides help and support for male victims of domestic abuse in the U.K.
The video above features a pair of actors portraying a couple fighting aggressively in a London public space. When the man shouts at the woman and begins shoving her, bystanders quickly intervene. However, when the tables are turned and the woman plays the role of the physical aggressor, not a single person gets involved. In fact, several people can be seen smirking or giggling in the background.
The experiment begs the question: Why do we view domestic violence against men as less serious -- and sometimes even humorous -- when, according to the American Medical Association, male victims feel guilt, shame, depression and withdrawal from relationships, just like women do?
The video promoted a #ViolenceIsViolence hashtag on Twitter, and users voiced their support for building awareness for the issue.
— Yasmine (@ym0892) May 27, 2014
— Henri Haukilahti (@HenriHaukilahti) May 27, 2014
Similar statistics exist in the U.S., where roughly one in seven men aged 18 and older have reported being the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While that number remains higher for American women -- one in four -- the prevalence of abuse against men may be surprising.
Domestic abuse affects certain demographics at startlingly disproportionate rates. For example, about two in five gay and bisexual American men have reported experiencing domestic violence -- a figure on par with heterosexual women. Homeless women and women with disabilities also report staggeringly high rates of domestic abuse.
Mark Brooks, ManKind chairman, said recent events in pop culture -- specifically Jay Z and Solange Knowles' infamous elevator dispute after the Met Gala in New York City -- pushed him to create the video.
"The reaction to the Jay Z and Solange lift incident exposed the stark double standards towards violence against men and women in society," he told HuffPost UK. "After the attack, the question trending on social media was, 'What did Jay Z say to Solange?' If it was the other way around and Jay Z had attacked Solange, people would have been asking very different questions."
Need help? Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224.