Academic journal article Violence and Victims

Men Who Sustain Female-to-Male Partner Violence: Factors Associated with Where They Seek Help and How They Rate Those Resources

Academic journal article Violence and Victims

Men Who Sustain Female-to-Male Partner Violence: Factors Associated with Where They Seek Help and How They Rate Those Resources

Article excerpt

Research since the 1970s has documented that men, in addition to women, sustain intimate partner violence (IPV), although much of that research has been overlooked. A growing body of research is examining the experiences of men who sustain female-to-male IPV, but there is still much to be learned. This exploratory study assesses the experiences of 302 men who have sustained IPV from their female partners and sought help from 1 of 6 resources: domestic violence agencies, hotlines, Internet, mental health professionals, medical providers, or the police. We examine what demographic characteristics and life experiences are associated with where men seek help and how they rate those experiences. We make recommendations for agencies, service providers, and first responders about how to tailor services for this specific population and their families.

Keywords: male victims; help seeking; female-to-male violence; service providers; emergency responders

Research since the 1970s has documented that men, like women, sustain intimate partner violence (IPV), which includes the physical, sexual, and psychological maltreatment of one partner against another (Gelles, 1974; Rennison & Welchans, 2000; Straus & Gelles, 1988; Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000). IPV against men is often a controversial issue (George, 2007); research on help seeking among men who have sustained IPV indicates that the domestic violence (DV) service system is not always able to serve them (Hines & Douglas, 2011) and that many men are turned away (Cook, 2009; Douglas, & Hines, 2011). Nonetheless, men attempt to find help for sustaining IPV through various resources, both formal (e.g., helplines, police, mental health professionals) and informal (e.g., friends, relatives, the Internet; Douglas, 2011). What remains unknown is what factors are related to (a) where men seek help and (b) how they rate the resources from which they seek help. This exploratory study will focus on the demographic, personal, and relationship characteristics that are associated with where men seek help for sustaining IPV and how they rate those experiences.

FEMALE-TO-MALE INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE

Research reporting that women physically aggress toward their male partners first appeared in the 1970s (Gelles, 1974). More recently, the Department of Justice showed that in 2009, 117,210 men were physically assaulted by an intimate partner, most of whom were women, which represents 18% of all IPV victims that year (Truman & Rand, 2010). The same source of data for the period 1993-2004 showed a 61% decline of reported physical IPV toward women between 1993 and 2004, whereas the rates of IPV toward men only declined 19% (Catalano, 2007). The 1995-1996 National Violence Against Women Survey found that 40% of all IPV victims during a 1-year time period were men (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000). The highest rates of IPV against both men and women have been found in national studies of family conflict, such as the 1975 and 1985 National Family Violence Surveys and the 1992 National Alcohol and Family Violence Survey (Straus, 1995). For example, female-to-male minor physical assaults (e.g., slapping, pushing) occurred at a rate of 75 per 1,000 in 1975 and 1985, and then increased to 95 per 1,000 in 1992. Rates of severe physical assaults (e.g., punching, beating up) by female partners remained constant at 45 per 1,000 in all study years (Straus & Gelles, 1988).

Help Seeking Among Men

Men who sustain IPV are often in need of assistance and support (Cook, 2009; Hines, Brown, & Dunning, 2007), yet may be reluctant to do so (Addis & Mahalik, 2003). One study of service providers found that reasons why men do not or might not seek help for IPV victimization include that IPV services are not targeted toward men and the men's own shame/embarrassment, denial, stigmatization, and fear (Tsui, Cheung, & Leung, 2010). Other research, however, has documented that some men do seek help for IPV victimization through established DV resources; however, they often encounter barriers, such as being blamed for the abuse, being sent to a batterer's program, and being laughed at (Hines et al. …

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