Male Victims of Female-Perpetrated Intimate Partner Violence, Help-Seeking, and Reporting Behaviors: A Qualitative Study


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Abstract

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a global social health problem. Societal perceptions of IPV as a predominantly female issue have led to the development of research perspectives, frameworks, measures, and methodologies unable to capture the full scope of male victimization. Research has also been hampered by a reluctance from men to identify as victims, and many do not relate to commonly used terminology of IPV, such as domestic violence. The current study used qualitative methods to explore men’s experiences of female-perpetrated IPV in Australia, defined as “boundary crossings.” The sample comprised 258 men recruited using a snowball approach through social media platforms and via a monthly newsletter of an online men’s health support site. The online survey containing open-ended questions focused on three areas: type of IPV experienced, help-seeking, and reporting behavior. Men reported experience of a range of physical, sexual, verbal, coercive controlling, and manipulative behaviors. Male victims noted how disclosure of abuse to family and friends was variously met with shock, support, and minimization. Participants also reported secondary abusive experiences, with police and other support services responding with ridicule, doubt, indifference, and victim arrest. The use of the term boundary crossing rather than IPV, which is commonly associated with male-against-female violence, appeared to be a useful tool for eliciting information from men who have experienced abuse.

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