Last updated:

May 5, 2024


 min read

Gender Stereotypes and Domestic Violence: 9 Harmful Trends

Explore 9 pervasive gender stereotypes fueling misconceptions about domestic violence. Learn how these stereotypes hinder progress and perpetuate harmful dynamics



In the realm of domestic violence, gender stereotypes have insidiously woven themselves into the fabric of discourse, perpetuating harmful misconceptions and hindering progress towards effective solutions. Despite efforts to combat such stereotypes, they persist, shaping perceptions and responses to domestic abuse in detrimental ways. This article aims to shed light on nine harmful gender stereotypes that have infiltrated discussions surrounding domestic violence, impeding our ability to address the issue effectively.

  1. The myth of the provoked male: Some people think men are naturally violent and only hurt their partners when they're pushed too far. This overlooks the fact that anyone can be abusive, and it makes it harder for male victims to get help. 
  2. The demonization of female emotionality: When women express strong emotions, like anger, they're often seen as irrational. This makes it tough for them to talk about abuse and get support.
  3. The idealisation of masculine strength: Society often equates masculinity with physical strength and emotional blankness, perpetuating the belief that men should be able to withstand abuse without seeking help. This stereotype discourages male victims from coming forward and seeking support, as they fear being emasculated or ridiculed for their perceived weakness.   
  4. The trivialization of female perpetrators: When women are portrayed as perpetrators of domestic violence, their actions are often downplayed or dismissed as insignificant compared to male aggression. This trivialization not only erases the experiences of male victims but also perpetuates the false belief that women are incapable of inflicting harm in relationships. 
  5. The stigmatisation of male victims: Male victims of domestic violence face significant barriers in seeking help due to societal perceptions that men should be able to protect themselves. They may encounter disbelief, ridicule, or even accusations of weakness when disclosing abuse, further increasing the stereotype that men cannot be victims and discouraging them from seeking support. 
  6. The invisibility of LGBTQ+ experiences: Discussions surrounding domestic violence often overlook the experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals, perpetuating the stereotype that abuse only occurs in heterosexual relationships. This erasure not only marginalises LGBTQ+ survivors but also hinders efforts to understand and address the unique dynamics of abuse within LGBTQ+ communities. 
  7. The binary view of gender roles: Traditional gender roles dictate that men should be dominant and assertive while women should be submissive and nurturing, perpetuating power imbalances that can facilitate abuse. This binary view of gender roles reinforces harmful stereotypes about who can be a victim or perpetrator of domestic violence, ignoring the diverse experiences and identities of individuals involved. 
  8. The fetishization of violence in media: Mainstream media often romanticises or trivialises violence, normalising abusive behaviours and perpetuating harmful stereotypes about gender and power dynamics in relationships. Exposure to such portrayals can desensitise individuals to the seriousness of domestic violence and contribute to the perpetuation of abusive behaviours. 
  9. The pathologization of victims: Victims of domestic violence are sometimes blamed or pathologized for their experiences, with societal attitudes suggesting that they must have done something to provoke or deserve the abuse. This victim-blaming mentality not only absolves perpetrators of responsibility but also discourages survivors from seeking help or speaking out against their abusers.

In conclusion, gender stereotypes play a pervasive and damaging role in shaping discourse surrounding domestic violence, perpetuating harmful misconceptions and hindering efforts to address the issue effectively. To combat these stereotypes, it is essential to challenge traditional gender norms, amplify the voices of marginalised survivors, and promote empathy, understanding, and support for all individuals affected by domestic abuse. Only by dismantling these stereotypes can we create a more inclusive and supportive environment for survivors and work towards eradicating domestic violence in all its forms.

Break free from harmful stereotypes and find support for domestic violence survivors with Rocket Health. Our online therapy platform offers personalized guidance and resources to help you navigate healing and empowerment. Take the first step towards a brighter future today.


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Perrin, N. et al. (2019). Social norms and belief about gender based violence scale: A measure for use with gender based violence prevention programs in low-resource and humanitarian settings. Conflict and Health, 13(6).

Santoniccolo, F. et al. (2023). Gender and media representations: A review of the literature on gender stereotypes, objectification and sexualization. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 20(10).