Characteristics of Callers to the Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men

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Abstract

Intimate partner violence (IPV) by women against men has been the subject of much debate. Feminists typically argue that IPV is committed only by men against women. Others argue that violence is a human problem and women also commit much IPV. To resolve these debates, IPV has been classified into two categories: common couple violence captured by population-based studies, and patriarchal terrorism, captured by studies of battered women. This typology ignores male victims of extreme IPV. The current study addresses this omission by describing 190 male callers to the Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men. All callers experienced physical abuse from their female partners, and a substantial minority feared their wives' violence and were stalked. Over 90% experienced controlling behaviors, and several men reported frustrating experiences with the domestic violence system. Callers' reports indicated that their female abusers had a history of trauma, alcohol/drug problems, mental illness, and homicidal and suicidal ideations.

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