“Walking On Egg Shells”: A Qualitative Examination of Men’s Experiences of Intimate Partner Violence

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Research has demonstrated the prevalence of men’s victimization in intimate relationships (Archer, 2000; Bates, Graham-Kevan, & Archer, 2014), but little research has explored these experiences in a non-help-seeking sample. The aim of this study was to qualitatively explore men’s experience of intimate partner violence from their female partners. An online questionnaire was utilized with a series of open-ended questions that explored experiences of verbal, physical, and sexual aggression, as well as different aspects of coercive controlling behavior. Results revealed that the men within this sample experienced a range of aggression that was both severe and injurious at times; however, their most impactful experiences were from the control their female partners exerted over them. This included gaslighting, isolating from friends and family, control over basic freedom, and the fear or uncertainty of living with the abuse in day-to-day life. Findings are discussed in line with men’s help-seeking behavior, and current policy and practice.

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