Violence against Men during Pandemic

Abstract

While previous studies have begun to provide evidence on the experiences of male victims of domestic violence and abuse (DVA), current understanding in this area is still limited, and subject to narrow methods of inquiry. Moreover, little is known regarding the challenges of providing support to men in abusive relationships, and how barriers to effective service engagement are experienced by both men and service practitioners. This is an important area for exploration, as the gender-specific experiences and needs of men have been historically overlooked within academic research and service provision.

The present study therefore had two principal aims: first, to provide more detailed information regarding the nature and context of abuse toward, and help-seeking experiences of, male victims, and second, to explore the experiences of those supporting abused men. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with four call handlers at a U.K. domestic abuse charity supporting male victims. Transcribed interviews were subjected to thematic analysis, revealing a superordinate theme of stereotypes and expectations of men which affected all the other three overarching and eight subthemes, including those detailing the range and severity of abuse suffered, the role of family and friends, barriers to reporting for abused men, and challenges in supporting them. Implications for services working with male victims of DVA are discussed: centered around the need for recognition, increased awareness, increased resourcing, and the provision of gender-inclusive services catering for the gender-specific needs of men.

Keywords:

Domestic violence, intervention/treatment, disclosure of domestic violence, perceptions of domestic violence

Introduction:

This study had two principal aims: first, to provide more detailed information regarding the nature and context of abuse toward, and help-seeking experiences of, male victims, and second, to explore the practitioners’ experiences of supporting abused men. Importantly, all four call handlers at the charity were interviewed, representing a small-scale yet crucially important study for this sector and research area. In doing so, it was hoped that insight would be gained on men’s experience of DVA and the subsequent impact on themselves and those around them; barriers to disclosure and engagement with services for men, and how services seek to mitigate such obstacles; and the challenges of providing effective services for male victims, both within the context of running a helpline and the sector more broadly.

Method

Participants

A U.K.-based organization was approached, and all four call handlers provided interviews for this study. All were female, were aged between 43 and 69 years, and had worked at the organization for between 21 months and 14 years. Some had been involved in the sector (domestic violence support) for longer than their time at the current organization. Alongside providing frontline support, some occupied additional roles within the organization, including Manager and Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA).

Materials and Procedure

A semi-structured interview guide contained an initial introduction designed to remind participants of their rights (e.g., to withdraw at any time) and to introduce participants to the format of the interview. This was followed by an opportunity for participants to share any information they wished about themselves personally, to encourage initial rapport building. A question allowing for free recall of their experiences followed, prompting participants to cover all/any aspects of their work they felt comfortable sharing. Subsequent questions and prompts were designed to probe four principal areas: (a) the characteristics and experiences of callers, (b) stereotypes and societal beliefs surrounding male victimization, (c) barriers to help-seeking and support, and (d) the experiences of call handlers. Participants’ interviews lasted between 45 and 90 min. Participants were offered breaks if required and, once interviews were concluded, they were given a verbal and written debrief. Ethical approval for this study was granted by the university ethics panels at the first and second author institutions.          

Results

We chose one superordinate theme, Stereotypes and expectations of men, and three overarching themes (with subthemes shown in brackets), Men’s experiences and how they talk about it (Types of abuse, Recognizing and accepting, Outcome and impact of disbelief and expectations, Outcome and impact of abuse), Family and friends (Seeking advice, Desire to protect), and Barriers and challenges (For men, For service providers). Subthemes are not necessarily independent and will have similarities or common ground between and within each of the three overarching themes.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

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We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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