Master of Science
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a complex phenomenon that is often understood with women as the primary recipients of violence and men as the primary perpetrators. However, emerging literature on heterosexual relationships suggests that men also experience interpersonal violence, most often from their female partners. Drawing on research data gathered through semi-structured interviews with service providers (n = 4), this qualitative inquiry explores how gender, power, and the stigma associated with interpersonal violence impact men who have experienced abuse through the perspectives of the service providers who work with them. The findings from this study highlight how traditional constructions of violence, gender, and masculinity contribute to the silencing of this form of victimization, which makes it difficult for men to recognize and disclose their abuse. They also highlight the need for tailored services for men, especially those that offer programs based in peer-support.
Summary for Lay Audience
Men are commonly viewed as the abusers, and women as the victims, when thinking about abuse and violence. Recently, research has shown that men do experience abuse from women. A service provider is a person, usually part of an organization, who provides help such as therapy or counselling to people in need. My research aim was to see what issues service providers face when helping men who have been abused. I also looked at what social barriers make it hard for men to get help for their abuse.
I interviewed four service providers from two different organizations in Ontario who help men who have experienced abuse. Each service provider was interviewed once over Zoom, a video-calling software, to talk about their experiences working with these men. Their stories revealed important findings which show how violence, masculinity, and gender in Canada limit conversations and awareness of the abuse men experience.
Men often have difficulty recognizing their abuse and face challenges seeking social, justice, and health related help. Also, many men feel judged for their abuse, making them hesitant to ask others for help. Many of these men choose to remain silent about their abuse because they feel shame, or fear how other people will view them. Service providers also experience judgment for working closely with men who have been abused and face many obstacles to supporting them.
Borsato, Xavier S., ""Man Up": Male Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence Through the Eyes of Their Providers" (2021). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 7857.
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