In the male dominated society of Saudi Arabia women are often perceived as mere chattel. As women increasingly demand more rights, some are fighting back in their homes. Incidences of male victims of spousal abuse are on the rise.
According to the Saudi Gazette five percent of Saudi husbands are the victims of spousal abuse. The figures do not indicate if a polygamous husband is the victim of abuse by more than one wife.
Dr. Maha Al-Menaif of the National Family Safety Program defines the abuse of men as "physical, verbal, humiliation, deprivation of marital rights and even murder."
A report carried out last year indicated that the number of male victims of domestic violence had increased 20 percent in one year. The reasons cited as the main causes of violence towards Saudi men was "betrayal of the husband, the alleged frigidity of the wife, sexual abuse of domestic workers and visits to pornography websites." Psychologists have noted that women are often reacting to the intolerable repression they suffer in the Kingdom.
Domestic abuse of men pales in comparison to abuse of women and children in the Kingdom. HRW reported "Women and children who are victims of domestic violence face societal and governmental obstacles in obtaining redress." Male victims of abuse have easier access to the courts but many prefer to keep it quiet because of the shame. Domestic violence and abuse is a contributing factor to the high divorce rate in the Kingdom, which has now surpassed 40 percent.