A large-scale relationship survey conducted by Statistics Estonia reveals that 32% of men, or one in three men in Estonia, have experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetime.
Jana Bruns, a project manager at Statistics Estonia, the country’s official statistics agency, said that according to the survey, 32% of men aged 18-74 have experienced psychological violence, 8% physical violence and 1% sexual violence. Experience of violence is most common among younger men aged 18-29 (39%) and least common among older men aged 65-74 (24%).
“Twenty per cent of men say that their interaction with another woman has resulted in the man’s partner becoming angry or having unfounded suspicions of infidelity. A similar proportion of men (17%) have felt degraded, humiliated or insulted by their partner, either in private or in front of others,” Bruns said, citing the survey results.
A slightly smaller proportion of men (13%) say that their partner has restricted their contact with friends or stopped them from doing things like pursuing their hobbies. Men also reported having their partner monitor their movements (9%) and being deliberately frightened or intimidated by their partner, for example by shouting or breaking things (9%).
Two-thirds of ever-partnered men had experienced psychological violence from a former intimate partner and one-third from their current partner. The proportion of men who have experienced psychological violence from both a former and a current partner or from more than one former partner is smaller (10%).
Both psychological and physical violence
Most men have experienced psychological violence once or rarely in their life (60%). Less than 5% of men experience frequent or constant psychological violence. “The statistics suggest that men generally choose to leave violent relationships, as only 1.5% of men have experienced frequent violence from their current partner,” Bruns points out.
In addition to psychological violence, men also suffer physical violence.
“Six per cent of men say that their partner has deliberately thrown something at them or hit them so that the victim was hurt or felt threatened. Four per cent say their partner has pushed or shoved them or pulled their hair. Three per cent of men say their partner has deliberately hit or kicked them or hit them with a hard object,” said Bruns.
When men have experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner, they have also been physically injured in almost a third of these cases.
Drinking increases violence
The relationship survey also looked at various factors that reduce or increase the likelihood of violence. For example, the results show that violence is not influenced by where a man lives (i.e. whether he lives in a rural or urban area).
“There is one influential factor, education level – the lower a man’s education level, the more likely he is to have experienced intimate partner violence. Unemployed men are also slightly more likely to experience intimate partner violence than employed men, although the proportions are quite similar – 37% and 34% respectively,” says Bruns.
Relationship dynamics are also influenced by the use of various intoxicating substances. Men admitted that almost 40% of incidents of violence perpetrated by a current or former partner occurred when the partner was intoxicated. According to the survey, the victim was also intoxicated at the time of the incident in around 30% of cases.
“The results show that even when men have problems, they tend not to talk about it. They do not go to the police with their problems,” said Bruns. She added that men prefer to solve problems by talking to their partners.