A St. Paul National Guardsman’s wife and her friend are charged in connection with his shooting death. A Shorewood woman is charged in the death of her boyfriend, whose body was found in a freezer.

These two killings, reported by the Star Tribune in August, are shocking, but what is also shocking is the failure to describe them as domestic violence. The victim in the second article was in the process of leaving his girlfriend and had reported to friends that she had “scratched him up” in the weeks before the murder.

If he had been a woman, he could have accessed help lines and agencies that aid victims of domestic violence. He could have learned that the most dangerous time is during the process of leaving the perpetrator.

The 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that one in four women and one in seven men have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner. Yet domestic violence is still perceived to be only a women’s issue.

All victims of domestic violence deserve to be helped. For male victims, the first step is recognizing that the danger exists.


Mark Shumate of Roswell, Ga., is a physician.