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An Exploration Investigating Public Perception of Male Victims of Domestic Abuse within

Heterosexual Relationships . Commented [E1]: Doesn’t need the full stop
Heterosexual Relationships . Commented [E1]: Doesn’t need the full stop
 

Heterosexual

Heterosexual

Relationships

.
.
 
Heterosexual Relationships . Commented [E1]: Doesn’t need the full stop

Commented [E1]: Doesn’t need the full stop

Caitlin Shaw

14005992

A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of the West of England, for the degree of Bachelor of Arts

School of Sociology Faculty of Health and Social Sciences University of the West of England 25 th April 2017 Word Count: 9,839

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Contents

Acknowledgments

3

Executive Summary

4

Introduction

5

Literature review

7

Methodology

16

Results

22

Discussion

29

Conclusion

36

References

38

Appendices

50

2

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank the participants who took the time to aid me in my

sociological
sociological

Commented [E2]: Format it squared?

research. I am particularly grateful to my supervisor Dr Finn Mackay, who has supported me on this long venture and has shared her expertise. I would also like to express my gratitude and thanks to my mother, father, sisters and Tegan Nichols for all their encouragement and support.

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Executive Summary

This study examines the public perception of male victims of domestic abuse and considers whether or not intimate partner family abuse against men is considered to be a significant problem or prominent crime. The research is based on a review of the key literature in the field of gender based violence and domestic abuse studies, as well as literature on same-sex abuse and male victims. I also conducted primary research from an online, self-completing, open-ended survey to gain rich qualitative data of participant perceptions of domestic abuse victims. I was interested in exploring whether or not there are stereotypical views of victims and perpetrators and gendered views of domestic abuse. I also asked participants about perceptions of support services for male victims and what sort of support they believed they would get. The survey also addressed general societal attitudes to domestic abuse. The historical background presented in the literature review indicates that it has

been an ongoing issue for many years and the existing literature discusses the reasons why Commented
been an ongoing issue for many years and the existing literature discusses the reasons why Commented
 

been an ongoing issue for many

been an ongoing issue for many

years

years

and the existing literature discusses the reasons why

  • Commented [E3]: Rethink wording of this sentence? ‘It is

   

an on-going issue with an extensive history’ maybe?

female abusers appear to be a contentious concept. This study found data that corroborates with the existing literature, suggesting that there is a stereotype of victims and that male victims often go unrecognized, these were the views raised by my participants. The results from the survey were analysed using thematic analysis to pinpoint, examine, and record the themes that appear in relation to the phenomena of male victims of domestic abuse.

Introduction

Domestic abuse is defined as the abuse committed by one partner against the other within Commented
Domestic abuse is defined as the abuse committed by one partner against the other within Commented
 

Domestic abuse is defined as the

Domestic abuse is defined as the

abuse

abuse

committed by one partner against the other within

  • Commented [E4]: Two lots of abuse

   

an intimate relationship. It is recognised that both women and men can be victims and that

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it occurs in both heterosexual and homosexual unions. Domestic abuse encompasses, but is not limited to, incidents of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse. Violence or abuse can take the form of psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional harm (Home Office, 2016). Domestic abuse occurs across all societies irrespective of age, gender, race or

sexuality. However, the official statistics show that it consists mainly of violence committed Commented [E5]: Rethink
sexuality. However, the official statistics show that it consists mainly of violence committed Commented [E5]: Rethink
 

sexuality. However, the official statistics show that it

sexuality. However, the official statistics show that it

consists

consists

mainly of violence committed

sexuality. However, the official statistics show that it consists mainly of violence committed Commented [E5]: Rethink

Commented [E5]: Rethink wording

   

by men against women (World Health Organisation, 2016). Despite the majority of victims being female, and the majority of perpetrators being male, the World Health Organization (2013) and national bodies such as the Home Office and Police recognise that men are also victims of domestic abuse, both within same-sex and heterosexual relationships.

Domestic abuse has traditionally been understood as the crime perpetrated by men against women, and the issue of female perpetrated abuse has perhaps been one of the most confrontational and controversial debates since research into domestic abuse began. This dissertation outlines some of the theories that contribute to this controversy. For instance, Duquette-Hoffman’s (2006) dictum asserts that domestic abuse is understood to be simply men against women. This can be explained by the fact that most theories support the view that domestic abuse is an instance of the use of violence to maintain dominance over women as a symptom of a patriarchal society. However, male victimisation of domestic abuse remains a significant and often ignored issue, which requires further exploration (WHO, 2005). This requirement for further exploration is what inspired me and forms the basis of my motivation for this dissertation.

This dissertation will be investigating the perceptions held by the public around the phenomena of male victims of female perpetrated domestic abuse. In addition, this dissertation will consider whether domestic abuse committed against men is regarded to be

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a significant problem or a prominent crime . This dissertation will also explore the current Commented
a significant problem or a prominent crime . This dissertation will also explore the current Commented
 

a significant problem or a prominent

a significant problem or a prominent

crime

crime

. This dissertation will also explore the current

a significant problem or a prominent crime . This dissertation will also explore the current Commented

Commented [E6]: You’ve already said this

   

literature behind female perpetrated violence, looking at the historical perspective of intimate partner crime as a way understanding acts of it; it will look at how domestic abuse

has perhaps largely been coined as a women’s issue and discuss the potential presence of what is sometimes called in the literature a ‘feminisation’ of domestic abuse and an

invisibility of male victims. The stereotype often invoked when one mentions domestic abuse is of a bullying, domineering man who is intimidating a non-violent female victim (Dutton & White, 2013; Seelau & Seelau, 2005; Harris & Cook 1994; Sorenson & Taylor, 2005). As a result, the primary focus of this dissertation is upon the effect gender role stereotypes have had upon how domestic abuse is perceived. This also involves looking at the constructs of masculinity and femininity.

The research study aims to present and explore the perceptions of the research participants in terms of how they view male victims of domestic abuse. It also aims to discover how exactly these perceptions have emerged and particularly how societal beliefs have influenced these. I imagined that many people get their views and curate their opinions from the mass media, in the form of domestic abuse stories being cover in television dramas and in the news headlines. As a result, I also explored these questions with my research participants.

Literature Review

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Introduction

This chapter aims to explore the concept of the often overlooked crime of female-on-male domestic abuse (BMA, 2014) and consider the existing research of male victims of domestic abuse. This chapter will also discuss the different themes discovered, starting with domestic abuse arguably being portrayed primarily as a women’s issue, and the stereotyping of domestic abuse, both of which can lead to assumptions being made about ‘victims.The literature review will discuss the history and prevalence of male victims of domestic abuse and how there appears to be discrepancies between the perception of male and female victims. Straus et al (1980) was one of the few studies conducted which argued that female violence existed at a higher rate than previously thought, by using the Straus Conflict Tactics Scale, a methodology that has been hotly contested, which will be explored further later.

For the purpose of transparency, it is worth noting that this dissertation does acknowledge that females make up the majority of victims of domestic abuse, with four times as many women being killed by a current or former partner in the UK (ONS, 2016) as men, and women being victims in 73% of domestic violence incidents (Home Office, 2016).

What is Domestic Abuse?

Domestic abuse is the abuse of one partner within an intimate relationship and is recognised that both women and men can be victims, in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. It is the repeated, random and habitual use of intimidation to control a partner (Refuge, 2017). This can encompass but is not limited to “any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) regardless of gender, age or sexuality” (Home Office, 2016). Domestic violence occurs across all societies regardless of age, gender, race or sexuality, with the official

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statistics showing that it consists predominantly of violence by men against women (World Health Organisation, 2016).

Historical perspective

Historical evidence suggests that violence between intimate partners has occurred as long as relationships have existed (Dobash & Dobash, 1979). It was not until the early 1970s that family violence was viewed as a serious social problem (Dutton, 1994; Pleck, 1987). The history of domestic abuse has been linked to a patriarchal societal view of women being subordinate with men irrefutably being in positions of power (George, 1994).

In the 1800s, there was a belief that a woman belonged to a man. Violence was a tool of legitimate control (Duquette-Hoffman, 2016). Central to this patriarchal belief was the ‘rule of thumb’ which permitted husbands to hit their wives as long as they used a stick no thicker than their thumb (George, 1994). Despite this, there were laws in place in the 19 th century condemning men who committed acts of violence against their wives to prison

sentences and public flogging . Despite this evidence of punishment of male perpetrators, Commented [E7]: Restructured
sentences and public flogging . Despite this evidence of punishment of male perpetrators, Commented [E7]: Restructured
 

sentences and public

sentences and public

flogging

flogging

. Despite this evidence of punishment of male perpetrators,

sentences and public flogging . Despite this evidence of punishment of male perpetrators, Commented [E7]: Restructured

Commented [E7]: Restructured slightly

   

there is little historical evidence of women being publicly punished. George (1994) argues that this can be explained by a fear of violating patriarchal norms concerning violence committed by women. A direct result of a patriarchal society and its norms, male victims have always been negatively perceived; historically, men who were victims of assault by

their wives were made into objects of social derision (Davidson, 1977.) We can trace a Medieval practice called ‘charivari’, including a ‘Skimmington ride’ which involved riding the victim around town, seated backwards on a donkey, punching himself in his genitals whilst being ridiculed by the crowds (Steinmentz, 1977; Dutton, 1995).

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Gender and Domestic Abuse

Research undoubtedly shows that domestic violence is a deeply gendered issue that disproportionately affects women. Violence experienced by women is different in nature, severity, and consequence from the violence experienced by men. According to research, women suffer more repeated incidences of abuse, which are more severe and more likely to be life threatening (Refuge, 2017). Metropolitan Police statistics show that male violence

against women made up 85% of reported incidents of domestic violence. Furthermore, a 2009 study based on police reports - which accounted for the dynamics of domestic violence

incidents - found that women committed 5% of domestic violence in heterosexual Commented [E8]: Restructured a
incidents - found that women committed 5% of domestic violence in heterosexual Commented [E8]: Restructured a
 

incidents - found that women committed 5% of domestic

incidents - found that women committed 5% of domestic

violence

violence

in heterosexual

  • Commented [E8]: Restructured a bit

   

relationships (Refuge, 2017). Research conducted by the ONS (2016) suggests that around four percent of men had experienced abuse from their partner in the last year, which is equivalent to 600,000 male victims.

“A women’s issue”

For decades, domestic abuse has been viewed as a women’s issue (Dutton & White, 2013.)

Victims are typically viewed in popular discourse - and arguably in responses from the

  • Commented [E9]: Is this what you mean? It wasn’t clear

- as female with male perpetrators. Research has consistently focussed on women as victims and men as perpetrators (Barber 2008: Crawford-Mechem et al, 1999; Dobash & Dobash, 1977-78, 1980, 1992.) Indeed, Lewis and Sarantakos have argued that male victims are

consider as “either non - existent or been trivialised” ( 2001 ). This is most clear
consider as “either non - existent or been trivialised” ( 2001 ). This is most clear
 

consider as “either non-existent or been trivialised” (

consider as “either non - existent or been trivialised” (

2001

2001

). This is most clear in Sarantakos

  • Commented [E10]: Restructure

   

(1999) study, which states that “public interest and concern have exclusively focused on women, leading to feminisation of domestic abuse, and implying an invisibility of the male

victim” pg . 231. Because of limited resources, risk factors and precautions concentrate Commented [E11]: Do
victim” pg . 231. Because of limited resources, risk factors and precautions concentrate Commented [E11]: Do
   

victim”

victim”

pg

pg

. 231.

Because of limited resources, risk factors and precautions concentrate

  • Commented [E11]: Do you need to format this?

     

primarily upon on female victims, because of the perception that they are at a higher risk

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than male victims. Consequently, the lack of focus on male victims in existing literature, owing to their being a minority (or being perceived as a minority), could be considered simply more practical.

Feminisation of Domestic Abuse

This ‘feminisation of domestic abuse’ means that the male in a violent relationship is perceived as solely the aggressor and more capable of causing harm. Dutton and White

(2013) asserted that these set of beliefs result in a “Gender Paradigm”, pertaining to a set of guiding assumptions shared within a group (Dutton, 1994). Dutton (1994) describes feminist

theory around domestic abuse as a paradigm. He offers a theory that suggests we should Commented
theory around domestic abuse as a paradigm. He offers a theory that suggests we should Commented
 

theory around domestic abuse as a paradigm.

theory around domestic abuse as a paradigm.

He

He

offers a theory that suggests we should

theory around domestic abuse as a paradigm. He offers a theory that suggests we should Commented

Commented [E12]: Broken it down for clarity

view all social affiliations through the “prism of gender relations and holds in a Neo-

  • Marxist

Commented [E13]: Do you need to explain this further?

view… that all men (the bourgeoisie) hold the power advantage over women (the proletariat) in patriarchal societies… that all domestic abuse is either male physical abuse to maintain the power advantage or female defensive violence, used for self-defence” (Dutton and Nicholls, 2005; 664). This paradigm has grown in domestic abuse literature that frames domestic abuse as solely, or primarily, as male perpetrated and used as a means of control, a tool to continue the oppression of women.

Feminist Perspective

In addition to Dutton’s (1994; 2005) works, Ann Grady (as found in Hoyle, C. & Young, R. 2002) asserts that it is because of the dominance of this feminist perspective on domestic abuse that we face a stereotype of victims as female. Ann Grady suggests that the prevalence of the female victim in the domestic abuse debate exists because of feminist principles adopted by researchers, causing a stereotypical perception of domestic abuse

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that dictates women are the victims and men the aggressors. “This stereotype perpetuates a social perception of domestic violence as an offence committed by men against women. The application of this stereotype directly informed by the feminist analyses of domestic abuse. Indeed, the majority of response is at its greatest within domestic abuse response agencies, as they have been most agencies, such as refuges and helplines, have been established as a direct result of the need to support ‘battered women’” (Grady, A Cited in Hoyle, C. & Young, R 2002: 81-82).

Who Does What to Whom; Domestic Abuse Stereotypes

Gender discrepancies within domestic abuse perpetrators have been subject to lengthy discussion (Hester, 2012). One of the most confrontational and controversial issues that have arisen since research into domestic abuse began is the matter of female-on-male abuse (Hines et al, 2007.) This is because most theories support the notion of domestic abuse occurring as a result of using violence to maintain dominance over women (Duquette- Hoffman, 2016) in a patriarchal society (Johnson, 1995). Gender is a key feature in domestic abuse (Stark, 2007) in heterosexual relationships because of the existence of idealized forms of masculinity and femininity. (Connell, 1988). The stereotype implied when one mentions domestic abuse is of a bullying, domineering man who intimidates a non-violent female victim (Dutton & White, 2013; Seelau & Seelau, 2005; Harris & Cook 1994; Sorenson & Taylor, 2005). These gender stereotypes affect our perceptions of the severity of domestic abuse. In existing literature, there is an indisputable amount of evidence that a stereotype of victims endures, with most studies regarding domestic abuse focusing mainly on female victims (Drijber & Reijenders, 2013), with cases of domestic abuse in non-prototypical cases, such as female on male, are often over looked (Seelau & Seelau, 2005). Additionally, Fiztroy

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(2001) argues that the perception of female perpetrators is minimized, since many believe women could not do such a thing.Current literature explores the idea that if an average person in the street was asked for an example of a domestic abuse perpetrator, the most likely response was OJ Simpson (Dutton & White 2013, p.6) giving evidence of a gender

disparity . It is worth noting that this is again a study based in the US,
disparity . It is worth noting that this is again a study based in the US,
 

disparity

disparity
disparity

. It is worth noting that this is again a study based in the US, but I am expecting to

disparity . It is worth noting that this is again a study based in the US,

Commented [E14]: And racial? Maybe mention that you

   

replicate these findings in my UK-based research. This is seen further in Sorenson & Taylor’s 2005 random digit dialled survey of 3,679 laypersons which found that actions, identical in nature, were more likely to be considered abusive if performed by males.

Male Victimisation; Symmetrical or Asymmetrical?

know it could seem racial but that isn’t the main thrust of

your study

Sorenson & Taylor’s study supports the gender paradigm. The layperson’s perception was that if a man committed an identical action as a woman, it was viewed more negatively and more abusive than when committed by the woman (Arias & Johnson, 1989;Harris & Cook 1994). Male victimization seems to be viewed less seriously than female victimisation, regardless of injuries sustained. Society views domestic abuse perpetrated by a woman towards a man as less dangerous and less potentially harmful to the victim (White & Dutton, 2013). The research conducted by Seelau and Seelau (2005) demonstrates that perceptions of heterosexual domestic abuse are generally consistent with those of gender-role stereotypes: that women are seen as weak and vulnerable, and men as dominant (Poorman, 2002). Seelau & Seelau asked male and female undergraduates to read domestic abuse cases which varied by victim and perpetrators gender. Results showed that the victim’s gender was the most potent predictor of responses, with male-on-female violence being considered as the most serious and requiring intervention. Yet again, this perception that male perpetrators were worse is consistent with gender-role stereotypes. Interestingly,

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Seelau & Seelau discussed Poorman et al (2002) study, which showed indications that the laypersons were more concerned about domestic abuse committed by males. This led them to recommend higher sentencing for male perpetrators; they recommended only the women to press charges. These judgements are consistent with gender-role stereotypes mentioned previously by Poorman (2002.) Regardless or perpetrator gender, female victims were perceived as in greater need of assistance than male victims.

Male underreporting

Barber (2008) reports that the view of men as victims of domestic abuse is not studied as much as it is for women; most incidents of reported domestic abuse involve male-on-female abuse (Hester, 2009). It is important to recognize that in general, domestic abuse is underreported by both genders. It is hard to measure accurately because of this underreporting (O’Leary, 2016), with only 25% of all physical assaults being reported (ONS, 2016). Little is known about the nature of incidents where the English police record men as victims and women as perpetrators. Hester’s 2012 study was commissioned to fill this gap. It was suggested that men are less likely than women to report such incidents due to fear of embarrassment or ridicule, and the lack of available support services. Often men are less likely to view domestic abuse committed by a woman as an actual crime (Stets and Straus, 1992). Of course, women also do not report domestic abuse for similar reasons. Hester found that men are also less likely to have life threatening injuries, less likely to fear for their lives, and less likely to be stalked after a relationship ends. Stets and Straus (1989) conducted a survey in which they asked men if they had ever been victims of domestic abuse and if they had if they reported it to the police. The 1985 survey showed that less than 1% who had been victims reported it to the police and only 2% were likely to call a

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friend or relative for help. Stets and Straus asserted that the reasons for this failure to report to the police were that out of the 368 participants: 49% felt fear of not being taken seriously; 31% felt shame; and 35% held the belief that the police could not do anything to help. Dutton & White (2013) argue that male victims have reported finding difficulty in locating services specific to their needs, as the majority of helplines and shelters are targeted towards female victims. Despite the reality of male victimhood, men still suffer great difficulty coming forward and reporting it. The British Crime Survey found that men routinely tend not to report partner abuse to the police because they consider the incident

‘not worth reporting’ (Smith et al, 2010: 67). Women are twice as likely as men to report being physically injured (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000). We can parallel this with the reinforced notions of gender and ‘manhood.’ From a young age boys are taught to be strong and ‘macho’ - the idea of a grown man being a fragile and vulnerable victim is rather taboo. Equally, male socialisation diminishes the likelihood of men reaching out for help. Men are socialized to bury their problems under a ‘private veil’ (Goldberg, 1979). This is why many victims feel “less of a man” and suffer in silence. Research carried out by McKeown and Kidd (2002) on male victims of domestic violence highlights that male victims face a society that is heavily influenced with the belief that ‘women are the only victims and men are the only perpetrators of domestic violence’. Of course, this is compounded by the fact that the majority of victims are women; 89% of victims are female (Refuge, 2017).

The CTS debate

Straus (1999) study was one of the few studies conducted to argue that female violence existed at higher rates than previously thought by using the Straus Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS), a set of scales which measure the prevalence and frequency of verbal and physical violence between partners. Straus (1999), by using the CTS, revealed the controversial

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findings that male partners in intimate relationships are physically abused at least as often as are their female counterparts (Gelles & Straus, 1988; Steinmetz & Lucca, 1978) and that there are signs that women are equally as violent as men. It suggested that men are just as likely to be victims as women. When this data began to surface, female-on-male violence was quickly dismissed as inconsequential, in Michael Johnsons term “common couple violence” (1995), or that was women acting in self-defence (Saunders, 1986, 1988, 2002; Johnson, 2008).

This adds to the long and heated debate in the current literature to whether domestic abuse is gender symmetrical, that is, whether men and women commit it equally. Research conducted by Archer (2002) and Kimmel (2002) argues a reality that the distinctions lay in

the methodology. It argues that whether or not domestic abuse is gender symmetrical can Commented [E15]:
the methodology. It argues that whether or not domestic abuse is gender symmetrical can Commented [E15]:
 

the methodology.

the methodology.

It

It

argues that whether or not domestic abuse is gender symmetrical can

the methodology. It argues that whether or not domestic abuse is gender symmetrical can Commented [E15]:

Commented [E15]: Broke up for clarity

   

be a product of the instruments being used. For example, David Fontes found that when he looked at the archival cases of reported abuse, males made up between 5% and 15% of victims (McLeod, 1984.) However, when looking at the vast majority of the randomized

survey research, one finds that men and women were assaulting each other at nearly the same rate, with men the victims in between 35%-50% of domestic assaults (Steinmetz 1978; Stets and Straus 1990; Straus, 1977).

In addition, studies that have relied on the CTS often come back with the result heterosexual women and men are equally as abusive and violent and domestic abuse can be termed as what Straus (1999) coined ‘mutual combat’. These CTS findings, unsurprisingly, are at odds with medical and legal findings that show that woman make up the majority of victims. Feminist advocates cite large bodies of evidence from these medical and legal agencies and national victimisation, all of which indicate that females are more likely to be

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victims. These findings dispute CTS researchers claims of ‘mutual combat’ or of gender symmetry (Dobash, Dobash, Wilson, & Daly, 1992).

Methodology

This research has used qualitative methods, focussing on words and meaning rather than numbers (Bryman, 2016) to provide a detailed description of the research topic. I have conducted my research using an online, self-completed, open-ended questionnaire to gather rich descriptive data, investigating the public perception of male victims of domestic abuse. The research design chosen is that of an exploratory research design; exploratory research takes place where there is little or no prior knowledge of a phenomenon (Jones, 2015). Exploration was an attractive option as “it helps move current methodological discussions beyond listing the pros and cons associated with a set of tired, over simplified, either- or choices” (Stebbins, 2001; 5). As put forward by Stebbins, I adopted the opinion that my research should be exploratory, as I am attempting to gain some familiarity and understanding of the ideas emerging from the existing research. The chosen sampling method for this research is partly of convenient sampling, in addition to snowball sampling.

Qualitative research tends to revolve around the notion of purposive sampling, “a form of non-probability sample in which the researcher aims to sample participants in a strategic way, so that those sampled are relevant to the research questions being posed” (Bryman, 2012; 714). The chosen sampling method for this research is a snowball sample and convenience. Snowball sampling is arguably the most widely employed method of sampling in qualitative research across the social sciences (Noy, 2008). “A sampling procedure may be defined as snowball sampling when the researcher accesses informants through contact that is provided through other informants” (Noy, 2008; 330). In addition to using the

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method of snowballing, I adopted a convenience, non-probability sampling due to limited time and costs. Non-probability sampling ‘deliberately targets individuals within a population’ (Kelley et al, 2003; 264). Despite drawbacks of this method and the issue of bias (Finch & Fafinski, 2012), it means the sampling population is readily available and easily accessible, and that the time and costs are small compared to other methods (Finch & Fafinski, 2012). The participant sample is 30 members of the public, a number recommended by Creswell (1998) for this type of study. A smaller sample is typically required for qualitative analyses, but large enough to obtain feedback for most or all perceptions (Creswell, 1998). The population sample includes both male and females of different ages.

Qualitative research is said to have three noteworthy features, holding an inductive view of theory and research, that “the former is generated from the latter” (Bryman, 2016, pp.375). Additionally, qualitative research holds an epistemological positon, interrogating “how we know what we know” (Crotty, 1998, pp.8). It is described as interpretivist, stressing “the understanding of the social world through an examination of the interpretations of that world by its participants (Bryman, 2016, pp. 375). Indeed, it is related to an ontological

position, “the study of being” (Crotty, 1998, pp.10), or “the nature of reality” (Lincoln and Guba, 1985, pp. 37). This ontological position, described as ‘constructionist’, “implies that social entities are outcomes of the interactions between individuals, rather than the

phenomena ‘out there’ and separate from those involved in its construction” (Bryman,

2012; 380). However, qualitative methodology recognizes that objectivity is impossible, so in turn, subjectivity is key, especially the subjectivity of the researcher when it comes to data interpretations.

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The survey is an online open-ended survey, taking the form of several questions designed to gain rich descriptive data. Open-ended questions are associated with qualitative data and thematic analysis and are useful in providing fuller and more heterogeneous set of responses (Stoneman & Sturgis, 2013) in addition to providing information about current states of affairs (Denscombe, 2014). This research chose open-ended questions over close- ended questions because of their numerous differences. Close-ended questions limit the respondent to a set of answers being presented, whilst open-ended questions allow the respondent to express opinion without being led by the researcher (Foddy, 1993). Open- ended surveys provide a solution to this problem associated with measuring public opinion with narrow, pre-determined fixed choices (Sandelowski and Knafl, 2009).

One main reason open-ended survey questions were adopted for this research is outlined by Sproull (1988) who asserts that qualitative data in form of open-ended survey questions

are often elicited in research to gather new information about a topic and to explore

different dimensions of respondent’s experiences. The biggest appeal of this form of data is

that it can provide somewhat rich descriptions of respondent’s reality at a low cost to the researcher (Jackson & Trochim, 2002). Qualitative data faces criticisms for being too subjective - usually due to findings relying too much upon the researcher’s view about what is important and significant (Bryman, 2012; 405). This kind of data faces criticism for being hard to replicate due to its unstructured nature, lack of any standard procedure and often

being relied upon the researcher’s skill, resulting in it being almost impossible to conduct a

true replication (Bryman, 2012; 405). In comparison to interviews or focus groups, two research designs I could have used, open-ended surveys offer greater anonymity to respondents and can arguably elicit more honest responses (Erickson & Kaplan, 2000).

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Furthermore, open-ended survey questions are able to capture diverse responses, often responses the researcher had not considered (Miles & Huberman, 1994).

Open-ended survey questionnaires are often time-consuming to analyse; often respondents do not answer questions correctly and the subjective analysis decision by the researcher can affect the reliability and validity of the results (Krippendorff, 1980). This aspect of self- administration when using an online survey may affect the quality of responses (Reja et al, 2003). There is no risk of interviewer bias or social desirability bias respondents as the answers are anonymous and they are not in the presence of the researcher (Reja et al, 2003). Be that as it may, having no interviewer present to intervene may result in misunderstandings of questions (Reja et al, 2003). Additionally, selection bias may become present, as Bryman (2016) suggested greater effort from respondents can result in the respondents being put off which can affect the respondent rates. In the same way, respondents may not be motivated enough to complete the entirety of the questions without interaction from another person or may abandon the survey (Reja et al, 2003).

My decision to use an online based research design had several logically reasons. My use of a snow ball/convenience sample makes it a time0effective method, allowing me to reach the maximum number of participants in the smallest time period and is cost-effective for the researcher (Denscombe, 2014) as the researcher is able to cut out printing costs, and spend little time physically handing out physical copies of the survey, which will result more efficient data processing. In this day and age, the majority have Internet access through social media or email. Furthermore, as Sue and Ritter (2012) assert that, because of the internet’s large role everyday lives, there is little evidence that using the internet would result in responses vastly different to using a physical method.

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Data collection for this piece of research started by creating an online survey on a specialised survey website called Qualtrics. Following this, using a snowball and convenience sampling method, I shared the link of the survey on Facebook on 10 th February 2017 and through email requesting that the respondents share the link on through their Facebook page and email. I closed the survey on 10 th March 2017 and received 30 respondents. Once the data was gathered, I was faced with the decision of how to analyse the data (Aronson,

1995).

Data analysis was the final stage of the research process, and was an important one. Qualitative data analysis involves a level of subjectivity on the researcher’s part, due to the interpretation of the data they take may be different to another. I used thematic analysis to analysis my data. Thematic analysis identified all data that relates to a pattern that has already been classified (Aronson, 1992). I organised the data prior to analysis, getting everything in same format. The second step would be to collate the data into data map to see the overview (see appendix 4), to see any visible gaps in responses and to see the links. All the data that fits under the specific pattern is identified and placed with the

corresponding pattern. These themes are identified by “bringing together components or fragments of ideas or experiences, which often are meaningless when viewed alone”

(Leininger, 1985; 60). I pieced together the themes that emerge from the responses into a comprehensive picture of their collective responses (Aronson, 1992).

Due to the chosen research area of domestic abuse being such a sensitive area, it is of the utmost importance that the research follows the ethical guidelines and the researcher needs to implement measures to prevent harm coming to the participants. In terms of the ethical guidelines the best place for sociologists to go is the British Sociological Association

20

(BSA). The BSA’s statement of ethics is one of a set of guideline on a variety of aspects of

professional sociology. The purpose of the BSA statement of ethics is to make the members aware of ethical issues that may arise throughout the research process and to encourage them to take responsibility for their own ethical practice (BSA, 2002). In addition to the BSA ethical guidelines, it was important to take into consideration the University if the West of England policy of ethical conduct. The university’s code of good research conduct incorporates and embraces the requirements of the Concordat to Support Research Integrity (Universities UK, 2012). By following these guidelines should result in promoting excellent research which conforms to the highest possible standards of integrity (UWE, 2014). Following those guidelines should mean promoting excellent research and conforming to the highest levels of intensity (UWE, 2014). It was important that I completed the FREC ethics review checklist and risk assessment form which was approved by both the supervisor and the module leader. This resulted in my research fulfilling the criteria for low risk research as I did not interview vulnerable individuals and participants and I were not at risk as no meetings were involved.

The first measure implemented by the researcher to protect the participant’s wellbeing is providing the 24-hour national domestic violence Freephone helpline to provide support for respondents if they become affected in anyway. One of the measures implemented by me was that no under-eighteens participated in the research. A key guideline from the BSA is that of anonymity; the survey does not require any personal data like their name from the participants other than their age, maintaining complete confidentiality. Furthermore, I allocated fake names to each respondent to further anonymity (See Appendix 5). By distributing the survey by using the internet, there was an additional advantage of anonymity (Crow & Semmens, 2006). The survey asked for informed consent from each

21

respondent, and made him or her aware that they had the option to withdraw their data at any time, and have access to it.

Results

The purpose of this study was to explore public perceptions of male victims of domestic abuse. It was to ask research participants whether they believed domestic abuse against men is a significant problem or considered as a prominent crime and what sort of sources influence their perceptions in this area. This chapter will discuss the key themes generated by the thematic analysis of my data and will discuss the three overarching themes produced in the data, to build an understanding of public perception of male victims of domestic abuse.

The data collection produced a sample of thirty with the age range of 18 to over 25. From

the thirty respondents, the majority were female with 73% female (27%

male .) The largest
male .) The largest

Commented [E16]: Isn’t this obvious? Or do you need to

say that none of the respondents were gender-neutral?

response group was twenty to twenty-one, making up 53% of respondents, followed by twenty-five plus, making up 20% responses. 22 to 23 made up 13% with 18 to 19 and 23 to 24 being the minority response group, both making up 6.67% of the data.

My analysis process produced three overarching themes of the public perception. Theme

one is the role of social stigma. Theme two is “gender expectations”, or the influence of

stereotyping. Theme three is a question of equal status and the consideration that, regardless of gender, domestic abuse perpetrators are posited equally in immoral

standing .
standing .

Commented [E17]: Broke up for clarity

The theme and role of social stigma captures the way participants understood the impact of societal influence in how male victims are perceived. It probes their feelings in terms of the research aim to discover if they believe that agencies such as the police are neutral to all victims and whether or not this, along with societal attitudes, impacts male victims and

22

levels of male underreporting. The theme of “gender expectations” explores the influence of stereotyping behaviours captured the participant’s awareness that response to male

victims often is shaped and influence by prevailing gender stereotypes. The third theme of

equal status relates most directly to my research question, as all participant’s responses identified that female-on-male as a crime of equal status but recognised that is less prominent than-on-female, which does mirror the available official statistics on recorded crime.

Theme one Role of Stigma

This theme offers clearly shows the impact of societal influence on the perception of male victims, including beliefs about masculinity and physical power and strength, for example:

Many participants responded that they perceived a widespread belief that men are viewed as weak if they being abused in a relationship” (Rebecca Lew).

Expectation from men in society to be strong and manly. Being hurt or upset is a sign of weakness… women are seen as being weaker and gentle so if a man is being bullied by a women it means they are weak” (Ellie Sallese).

May be less likely to come form due to embarrassment or feeling unmasculine” (Janice Rotner). “Worry about not being seen as a man, being ridicule by others” (Lorna Luptom).

Furthermore, a number of participants asserted that these societal influences would likely be reproduced by the experience male victims believe they will experience if they report the abuse. For example:

23

Research participant Janice Rotner, aged 20-21 believed that if a male did report domestic abuse they would likely find that, compared to women victims, the police are : “Not as sensitive to men”. “If a man is seen as a victim they are told to ‘man up’” (Ben Wilde). “Think the police take male-on-female abuse more seriously” (Lizzie May).

Respondent Tom Wambold aged 22-23 said that he believed that men reporting domestic abuse would feel “shame and embarrassment”. In fact, this was reported by no less that ten of my research participants who used the same terms in their response; it was therefore a most commonly held view amongst my participants.

“I think the male would also feel ‘less manly’ and ashamed to come forward – they would rather brush it under the carpet than risk being embarrassed or judged” (James Lapson).

Lily Donovan aged 22-23 felt that the police: “Might laugh or dismiss a male victim coming forward”.

Additionally, the role of stigma presented itself in the way that the respondents perceive male victims’ fear of credibility. For example:

Respondent Sarah Ringwald believed that social stigma made male victims “fear not being taken seriously.”

Furthermore, respondent Steph Fox perceived that social stigma would result in male victims fearing reporting to the police since “societal attitudes are replicated in police action”. This was reinforced by a number of other respondents such as Connor Koopman aged 23-24, who asserted male victim would fear not being taken seriously, “possibly as

24

most police officers are men, and some men tend to look down on other men who are

beaten up or intimidated by women”.

I shall now move on to look at the second theme that arose in my findings, which was the theme of equal status. My participants thought that domestic abuse was always serious, regardless of the sex of the perpetrator or victim, but they also believed that male-one- female violence of this kind was probably most common.

Theme two equal status This theme provides an understanding that all forms of abuse whether male perpetrated or female perpetrated is equal with respondent Moya Cozens who firmly establishes this

theme: Yes if you mean it is equally wrong, all violence is abhorrent”. [sic]

most police officers are men, and some men tend to look down on other men who
most police officers are men, and some men tend to look down on other men who

Commented [E18]: Use this if the quote is grammatically

incorrect but you don’t want to tamper with it

Respondent James Lapson summed up the feelings of a lot of my respondents when he said

that violence in a relationship is always going to hurt and that the sex of the perpetrator was irrelevant to the seriousness of the crime: a punch is a punch no matter who throws it”. Indeed, this was reported by many of my research participants such as Lily Donovan who believed that “any form of abuse within a relationship is just as terrible no matter what gender”.

There is more evidence to support the view that the public perception of domestic violence is of equal status; all the participants responded that the prosecution for both male and female perpetrators should be the same and carry the same sentence.

Respondent Connor Koopman states his belief that the prosecution of female perpetrators should result in an identical sentence to if the prosecutor was male.

25

Unsurprisingly, given the official statistics, participants showed awareness, that despite believing that the abusive act is equal in status, the statistics show higher prevalence rates in male-on-female abuse: “There appears to be more counts of male-on-female abuse than female-on-male” (Steph Fox).

Subtheme Prominence of abuse

Within this theme of equal status was also a theme of prominence, despite abuse being viewed as equal in severity and in terms that it is wrong. However, numerous participants responded that female-on-male abuse was nowhere near as prominent as male-on-female abuse. For example, Rebecca Lew said that the “first image to come to mind is a male-on- female”. This was reported by a number of participants using similar terms in their responses such as Tegan Haines, an 18-19 year old female who wrote, women are perceived more as the victim”. Furthermore, Lily Donovan, aged 22-23 supported this commonly held view by writing that female-on-male is less common”.

Theme three - “gender expectations”- the influence of stereotyping behaviours This concerns my overall research question, which is to gain an understanding of the public perception of male victims of domestic abuse, and consider how this perception is influence by the wider media and culture.

All but six participants responded with a male perpetrator when asked for an example of domestic abuse perpetrator they had witnessed in the media, consistent with the gender

role stereotype. For instance, ten of my respondents all mentioned pop

artist Chris Brown
artist Chris Brown

when asked to give an example of a domestic abuse perpetrator they were aware of in the public eye.

Commented [E19]: Do you need to annex this with who

he is and what he did/the sentence/the victim? A bit more as a case study

26

Moreover, twenty-one participants agreed to the stereotypical image of women as victims and men as perpetrators. For example, Jacquie Washington epitomized the opinion of majority of my respondents when she identified the victims as female and perpetrators as male, “weak women and manipulating men”. Indeed, this was reported by twenty one of my research participants, using comparable language in their responses. For instance,

respondent Lorraine Smith reinforced Jacquie’s beliefs: “Vulnerable women being manipulated by men”. This is compounded by the overwhelming insight that women perpetrators are not often spoken about. Respondent Tom Wambold elaborates on this:

“Men are normally portrayed as the main cause of abuse, it is very rare you see a women being talked about [as a perpetrator]”.

This stereotypical image goes further: if a man is depicted to be a victim, it goes against the

ideologies of what makes a man. Ben Wilde summed this belief in his responses, “People tend to tend to believe that only women can be victims… if a man is seen as a victim they are told to ‘man up’”.

Additionally, the

Additionally, the

Additionally, the
nine

nine

nine

who did not directly mention gender, did mention the stereotypical

Additionally, the nine who did not directly mention gender, did mention the stereotypical Commented [E20]: Be

Commented [E20]: Be consistent with numbers or words

 

for numbers

ideology of the victim being “weak, shy, quiet, nervous” (Hannah Beltran) and the perpetrator being strong and manipulating.

Conversely, despite the responses largely agreeing with the gender role stereotypes of victims and perpetrators, all participants responded that they believe that men can also be victims of domestic abuse. The difference here was that of the type of abuse they received. We already know that domestic abuse can encompass “any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) regardless of gender, age or sexuality” (Home Office, 2016). The mass response was that

27

men can be victims of domestic abuse, mainly in the form of psychological and emotionally abuse rather than physical. This again is in line with stereotypical gender roles that male perpetration is in the form of psychical violence and female abuse is in the form of psychological and emotional abuse (Williams, 2008).

Women may not beat their partners but they hurt them in other way… emotionally” (respondent 8).

In more psychological ways, which some people do not classify as domestic abuse” (respondent 9).

I imagine emotional abuse against men would be particular prevalent” (Respondent 10). “Most likely to be mental manipulation” (respondent 12). Subtheme - Motives for Perpetration

Within this theme of “gender expectations” and the influence of stereotyping was also a subtheme of motives for perpetrations, which again were consistent with existing gender role stereotypes. Twelve participants responded that the motive for male abusers is that of control, power and control”, with respondent Jacquie Washington emphasising the enjoyment of this control: They enjoy the powerful position”.

The explanation for this was that of men feeling emasculate d or feeling powerful. This Commented
The explanation for this was that of men feeling emasculate d or feeling powerful. This Commented
 

The explanation for this was that of men feeling

The explanation for this was that of men feeling

emasculated

emasculate d

or feeling powerful. This

The explanation for this was that of men feeling emasculate d or feeling powerful. This Commented

Commented [E21]: Or do you mean hyper-masculine?

   

shows a reproduction of patriarchal and stereotypical gender roles that suggest, within heterosexual relationships, men should hold control. This is a replication of the belief that a woman belonged to a man and violence was a tool of legitimate control (Duquette- Hoffman, 2016).

28

Unexpectedly, the secondary motive for male-on-female abuse was alcohol or substance abuse. Five of the thirty participants responded with “alcohol or drug abuse” or similar terms such as “drunken behaviour”.

Participant’s response for female motivation for perpetrating domestic abuse mirrors that of the motives found in the existing literature and which appears commonly in popular media concerning these crimes and in news coverage. The participants responded that control and jealousy were the main motives for female-perpetrated domestic abuse and these cases are often the ones that get reported in the media, salient themes being women spurned and jealous wives. My participants did seem to be aware of these common themes and case studies.

Discussion

This chapter will discuss these findings in relation to the key literature that I outlined in my Literature Review. I will conclude with some suggested limitations of my study and areas for possible further research.

The aims of this study were to explore the public perception of male victims of domestic abuse and the extent to which these were influenced by gender stereotypes and gender roles. In addition, I also asked how participants felt that male victims were treated by state and voluntary sector organisations and whether they felt that public services like the police potentially lack sensitivity and support for male victims. I feel that I have successfully researched these topics and that the data I have gathered does provide some interesting answers to my research questions. I shall discuss them in further detail below. The findings of this research offer an insight into public perceptions of male victims of domestic abuse, including public opinion of the influence of societal stigma, influence of gender role

29

stereotypes and the prominence of male victims or lack thereof in mainstream popular media.

My findings support the current literature that domestic abuse has been viewed as a gendered issue (Dutton & White, 2013) with victims, in general, being viewed as female and perpetrators as male (Barber 2008: Crawford-Mechem et al, 1999; Dobash & Dobash, 1977- 78, 1980, 1992). The findings of this research corroborate the claims asserted by Sarantakos (1999) in the existing literature of a ‘feminisation of domestic abuse’ and a potential ‘invisibility of the male victim’. This was most clear through my participant responses who

suggested that whilst abuse is unbiased in regards to gender, female-on-male abuse is nowhere near as prominent as male-on-female abuse. These findings adhere to Sarantakos’ (1999) dictum and addressed a key research aim.

Conversely, my participants felt that all forms of abuse, whether male perpetrated or female perpetrated are of equal status morally (and should be legally) which is contradictory to some of the current literature. The 2005 survey conducted by Sorenson & Taylor found that actions, identical in nature, were more likely to be considered abusive by the public if performed by males. However, it may be important to state the large difference in the

sample sizes. Due to Sorenson & Taylor’s research being quantitative they were able to

access a larger sample size of 3,679 in comparison with my small 30 participants. However, this was appropriate as my research was qualitative and concerned with gaining the opinions of my participants and attempted to do this in more detail and in depth (Creswell

1998).

Recurrently, my participant’s narratives reflected the current literature, that male victims

have been subjected to being presented in mainstream popular media as either non-

30

existent or trivialised when they are portrayed (Lewis & Sarantakos, 2001). The research findings of Saunders (2002) were reflected in my research findings. Saunders (2002) asserted that violence committed by women against their male counterparts would be considered less serious and even considered humorous. This was particularly evident in my findings as frequently my research participants responded that they believed male victims, if they disclosed, would be likely to be told to ‘man up’ and that they felt and assumed that agencies like the police did not take female-on-male abuse as seriously as they did male-on- female abuse.

These findings answered another one of my key research aims: to discover whether public perceptions matched the gender stereotypes that are evident in the existing literature. Similar to research conducted by Seelau & Seelau (2005), my research demonstrated participants’ perceptions of domestic abuse are consistent with those of gender-role stereotypes: that women are perceived as vulnerable and weak and men as strong and dominant (Poorman, 2002). This is evident in my research as the majority of participants when asked for an example of a domestic abuse perpetrator they have seen in the media, responded with Chris Brown, a man. This also fits in with the work of Dutton & White (2013) who explored the idea that when a layperson was asked for an example of a perpetrator they witnessed in the media they would respond with a male example. However, the existing literature I explored stated a layperson's perception was that when a man committed an identical action it was viewed more negatively and more abusive than when committed by a woman (Arias & Johnson, 1989; Feather, 1996; Gerber, 1991; Harris & Cook 1994; Home, 1994; O’Toole & Webster, 1988; Willis et al 1996). My research findings showed that the perception widely and strongly held amongst my participants was that abuse is abuse regardless of the gender of the perpetrator and was viewed equally as

31

negatively. This variation in perception could be a result of changing culture around gender based violence and intimate family abuse. Some of the classic literature I explored was published over 20 years ago, a long time for perceptions and society to change and develop.

Similar to research findings which highlight the differences in perpetrator motivations - that women are more likely to employ methods of psychological and emotional abuse (Williams, 2008) - many of my research participants also identified the variance in motivation between the male and females. They stressed their belief that males would be more likely to adopting forms of physical violence and women using emotional forms, such as blackmail and mental manipulation mirroring the research findings of Drijber et al., (2013) and Hines et al., (2007). Furthermore, the findings of this research illustrated the idea that a male

victim of domestic abuse would be told to “man up”, which reflects the work of Yarrow & Churchill (2009) which supports the assumption that men are likely to be physically stronger, and that men who are incapable of defending themselves against a woman cannot

be classed as a ‘real man’.

On the other hand, the findings of my research opposed those of George (1994; 2003), who explored the evidence that suggested that women employed physical method of abuse that were not strength-dependent, arguing that they would often utilise household items and weapons. My participants only considered women to adopt methods of psychological and emotional abuse and did not consider men using other forms of abuse than just physical violence when they were asked to think about classic or stereotypical domestic abuse scenarios based on their understanding of this crime.

In my research, I also set out to consider the perceptions my participants held in terms of male victims and the likelihood of reporting. It is important to remind that domestic abuse

32

in general is an underreported phenomenon for both male and female victims . Stets and Commented
in general is an underreported phenomenon for both male and female victims . Stets and Commented
 

in general is an underreported phenomenon for both male and female

in general is an underreported phenomenon for both male and female

victims

.
.

Stets and

  • Commented [E22]: You’ve already said this

   

Straus’ 1985 study revealed that only 1% of men who had been victims of domestic abuse reported it to the police. Stet & Straus (1992) suggested men are less likely than women to report incidents of domestic abuse due to fear of embarrassment, fear or ridicule and

embarrassment from agencies such as the police. They asserted the reasons for underreporting to the police were that out of the 368 participants; 49% felt fear of not being taken seriously, 31% felt shame and 35% held the belief that the police could not do anything to help. Male socialisation arguably diminishes the likelihood of men reaching out

for help as they are socialized from a young age to be strong and ‘macho’, that to be fragile

and vulnerable is rather

and vulnerable is rather

and vulnerable is rather
taboo

taboo

taboo

and as a result perceive to bury their problems under a

  • Commented [E23]: Needs more rewording – it’s exactly

 

the same as before

‘private veil’ (Goldberg, 1979). This is emulated in the current research findings, as my

research participants reported that societal attitudes are replicated in police action and that they believed men would evade reporting domestic abuse incidents due to feeling shame and embarrassment, that they would rather brush it under the carpet than risk being judged as less masculine. Furthermore, my participants reported the belief that the police were likely not to be as sensitive to men as they were females.

Implications

The findings from this research have important implications for how male victims and perpetrators are represented in mainstream popular and accessible media. My participant’s narratives demonstrated the impact of gender stereotyping which arguably has the potential to have a negative impact on how male victims feel and how they are perceived, supporting earlier findings (McKeown and Kidd 2003) that male victims of domestic violence face a society that is heavily influenced with the belief that women are the only victims and

33

men are the only perpetrators of domestic violence. This reflects existing research on male victimisation (Barber 2008) that the view of men as victims of domestic abuse is not studied as much as it is for women (Hester, 2006; Smith et al, 2010) and that this is a direct consequence of the Western image of ‘a man’ that results in victim feeling “less of a man”. My participants reported that a lot of their views were gleaned from and influenced by mass media, for example the way that domestic abuse is covered in television dramas and what they hear and read in media coverage like news headlines. This shows that my research is important as it highlights that domestic abuse and its representation in the media needs to change. Currently, as my research discovered, male-on-female domestic abuse and female- on-male are not viewed as equal prominent by the public. In order for public perceptions to change, the public need to receive a realistic picture of female and male violence. The media needs to start presenting a more accurate presentation of abuse. For example, in soap

operas, there should be more stories of female perpetrators and male victims . Additionally, Commented [E24]:
operas, there should be more stories of female perpetrators and male victims . Additionally, Commented [E24]:
 

operas, there should be more stories of female perpetrators and male

operas, there should be more stories of female perpetrators and male

victims

victims

. Additionally,

  • Commented [E24]: Or should it just show the accurate

   

they should include story lines of women committing the forms of abuse that my participants considered to go unrecognised as abuse, such as emotional and psychological

percentage? Aka for every three storylines of m on f violence, there should be one f on m?

abuse
abuse

abuse

abuse
abuse

. Furthermore, accessible mass media, such as newspaper headlines, should publish

  • Commented [E25]: Don’t a lot already? Do you need to

 

give more examples of exact shows?

more headlines showing male victims and female perpetrators. Of course, the reason for high media coverage of male-on-female abuse is that women are in the main the likely victims, by publishing stories and having television dramas involving male victims we can hope to educated the public that women too are perpetrators and that it is not just physical assault that constitutes domestic abuse.

My participants commented on what their perceived to be a lack of sensitivity for male victims from agencies like the police. This could be interpreted as the participants deeming professional support as inadequate and that they would not help male victims as much as

34

they would women. This implies that support services need to be presented as providing a fairer and more equal treatment in the media in order to overcome these perceptions. In a similar way to educating the public around female perpetrators, we could change the public’s views of support services by portraying them positively in the media and television drama. Simply shedding more light on the support services available for men may help change the perception that services will be less sensitive to male victims than female victims.

Limitations of this research

These findings offer a tentative understanding of public perceptions of male victims of domestic abuse. Although the research highlights interesting themes and in part fits in with the existing literature and research aims, in terms of uncovering similarities these findings

need to be considered in relation to the limitations of the study. One of the main limitations

of this study is its ethnocentrism. It is only considering the UK’s public perception and a

small part of that, being a small qualitative study is not representative of the wider population. Responses may vary in different societies especially between Western and Non- Western societies, particularly as the meaning of abuse varies between but also within cultures (Mann & Takyi, 2009). In addition, another limitation is the response sample. As stated the majority of participants identified as female and between the ages of 20-21. Despite gaining a minority of male respondents and a minority of other age brackets, the implications of having a majority of 20-21 females results in the findings not being generalizable to the whole ‘public’. It is only a fragment of one societal group. Furthermore, their ethnicity is unknown and on reflection I would have gathered more demographic data about my participants.

35

Future research

Findings from my study highlight the complexity of the phenomena of male victims of domestic abuse, and consequently require further research to enhance the understanding of male victims and female perpetrators of domestic abuse. My research has a few gaps allowing for future research. My research only took into considerations of age and gender of one Western culture. I feel it could be interesting to conduct research into the perception of members of other cultures within and outside of the UK, to see if the societal stereotypes that exist in current literature are mirror across all cultures. Further research may offer important implications for understanding male victims. In the same way, future research into other non-prototypical relationships may provide a greater understanding. My research only asked for the perceptions of heterosexual couples performing domestic abuse. It would be interesting to see the public’s perception of male victims of domestic abuse but in the milieu of homosexual relationships as it would be interesting to see if the perceptions were the same of if they varied just as a result of the sexual orientation of the individuals.

Conclusion

In this project, I have examined some public perceptions of male victims of domestic abuse and considered whether intimate partner abuse against men is viewed to be a significant problem or prominent crime. I have explored to what extent gender stereotypes influence

people’s perceptions about the likely perpetrators and victims and have compared my

findings to the existing literature. I then used thematic analysis to explore patterns and themes within my data and this generated three major themes; the role of social stigma;

“gender expectations” and the influence of stereotyping; and equal status, that is, the

36

consideration that, regardless of gender, domestic abuse perpetrators are posited equally in

immoral standing. Frequently, my participant’s narratives reflected the literature I explored

in that they did respond stating that domestic abuse is a gendered issue, the issue of domestic abuse being a gendered issue and that male victims have been subjected to being presented in mainstream popular media as either non-existent or trivialised. Consequently, an attempt was made to understand how and why this occurs and I presented areas of potential future research in order to modify these perceptions.

In conclusion, it is hoped that the publication of these findings may enable a change in public perception and attitudes and reduce the stigma surrounding male victims. In addition, this change in perception and understanding may contribute to the media, to popular culture and to mainstream news channels and papers in order to amend the current stereotypical perception held by the public.

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48

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Appendices Appendix 1: Risk assessment form Appendix 2: Ethical assessment form Appendix 3: Questionnaire Appendix 4: Thematic Map Appendix 5: Fake Name Chart

49

50

Appendix 1 risk assessment form

Appendix 1 – risk assessment form GENERAL RISK ASSESSMENT FORM Ref: Describe the activity being assessed:

GENERAL RISK ASSESSMENT FORM

Ref:
Ref:

Describe the activity being assessed: The project will involve an open-

Assessed by (Supervisor):

 

Endorsed by (Module Convener):

ended questionnaire.

Finn Mackay

 

Who might be harmed (to be completed by the applicant/student; Participants and/or researcher/ other, please state:

 

Date of Assessment (by supervisor):

Review date (by module convener- should be 1 yr later than the stated 'Date of

How many exposed to risk:

30
30

Assessment' on this form):

Hazards Identified

Existing Control Measures

 

S

 

L

Risk

Additional Control Measures

 

S

 

L

Risk

By whom

Date

(state the potential

   

Lev

 

Lev

and by

complet

harm)

el

 

el

when

ed

     

1

 

4

5

               

Researcher stress as a result of being on

  • - Ensure researcher takes breaks

       

target for deadlines, gathering data in time, gathering enough participants, analysing data.

  • - Get support from supervisor

51

Participant stress as a result of answering questions about sensitive topics which may have affected the
Participant stress as a
result of answering
questions about
sensitive topics which
may have affected the
participants prior to
the research.
-
Provide support and advice
call lines for participants
1
3
4
-
Participants allowed to stop
at any time and do not have
to submit responses
-
They can recall responses if
they change their minds
1
3
4
Working long periods
of time looking at
computer screens and
analysing data
-
Frequent breaks
-

RISK MATRIX: (To generate the risk level).

Very likely

5

10

15

20

25

5

Likely

4

8

12

16

20

4

Possible

3

6

9

12

15

52

3 Unlikely 2 4 6 8 10 2 Extremely unlikely 1 2 3 4 5 1
3
Unlikely
2
4
6
8
10
2
Extremely unlikely
1
2
3
4
5
1
Likelihood (L)
Severity (S)
Minor injury – No
first aid treatment
required
Minor injury –
Requires First Aid
Treatment
Injury - requires GP
treatment or Hospital
attendance
Major Injury
Fatality
4
5
1
2
3

ACTION LEVEL: (To identify what action needs to be taken).

POINTS:

RISK LEVEL:

ACTION:

2

  • 1 NEGLIGIBLE

No further action is necessary.

5

  • 3 TOLERABLE

Where possible, reduce the risk further

- 12

  • 6 MODERATE

Additional control measures are required

  • 15 HIGH

16

 

Immediate action is necessary

- 25

  • 20 INTOLERABLE

Stop the activity/ do not start the activity

53

Appendix 2 Ethical form

Appendix 2 – Ethical form Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences Department of Health and SocialCaitlin2.Shaw@live.uwe.ac.uk Title of degree for which research is being undertaken: Sociology BA (Hons) Are you following the 'Project Only' or 'Placement + Project' pathway ? Please delete as appropriate. Project only Name of supervisor: Finn Mackay 54 " id="pdf-obj-53-6" src="pdf-obj-53-6.jpg">

Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences Department of Health and Social Sciences

Ethics Review Checklist for Undergraduate Student Projects

Social Sciences Project & Placement (SSPP) Module

A careful consideration of the ethical, health and safety, and data protection issues relevant for a specific research project is an essential component of good quality research and also safeguards the researcher and all those who might be impacted by the research. Hence, developing an awareness of ethical and data protection issues surrounding different types of research projects is integral to the SSPP module and constitutes one of the key learning outcomes. This is particularly important, if you are collecting data from human participants. Seek clarification and advice from your supervisor on how to proceed. If the supervisor considers the project to be ‘high risk’ then they will consult the module convener(s) {insert names} and/or module leader who will advise whether an application should be submitted to the Faculty Research Ethics Committee (FREC) for review. Please note that it takes about 6 weeks for the FREC to review 'high risk' projects. Note that most Undergraduate Student Projects are low risk and very rarely, require to be reviewed by the FREC.

You must not commence your research (e.g., recruitment/ data collection) until you have ethical approval. Please complete this form and pass it to your supervisor for their consideration. They need to sign it and return it to you.

Please provide applicant and project details and complete the checklist overleaf.

Applicant Details (complete all sections):

Name of student (applicant):

Caitlin Shaw

Student number:

14005992

Student’s email address:

Title of degree for which research is being undertaken:

Sociology BA (Hons)

Are you following the 'Project Only' or 'Placement + Project' pathway? Please delete as appropriate.

Project only

Name of supervisor:

Finn Mackay

54

Project Details (complete all sections):

 

Project

An Exploration Investigating the Public’s Perception of Male Victims of

 

title:

Domestic Abuse Within Heterosexual Relationships.

Brief description of project The nature of my project is to gain an understanding of the public’s perception of male victims of domestic violence in heterosexual relationships.

Aim (s) of the research: to discover if the public’s perceptions match up with the stereotypes and existing perceptions of male victims I have discovered from existing literature.

Research methodology to be used: Open-ended questionnaire.

 
 

Checklist Questions (Part 1)

Yes/No

 
  • 1. Does research involve children under the age of 18 years?

NO

 
  • 2. Does research involve vulnerable adults, e.g., those who lack decision making capacity such as adults with mental illness and learning disability (particularly if detained under Mental Health Legislation)?

NO

 
  • 3. Does the research involve offenders?

NO

 
  • 4. Does the research involve the use of professional service providers (e.g. HMP Services or Probation Services)?

NO

 
  • 5. Does research involve potentially sensitive topics for example, participants’: sexual behaviour, political behaviour, illegal behaviour, experience of violence, abuse or exploitation, mental health, or substance use?

YES

 
  • 6. Does your research involve issues, which might be relevant to

NO

radicalisation with a potential of harm to the researcher and/or participants? (E.g. is there any possibility that conducting/ participating in the proposed research may contribute to the radicalisation of

researcher and/or participants).

 
  • 7. Does your research involve security sensitive research (e.g. research into military equipment). For further information, see item 24 in Good Research Practice .

NO

 
  • 8. Does research involve respondents through social media (e.g. using Facebook to collect data) and where sensitive issues are discussed?

YES / NO

 
  • 9. Does research involve deception or is conducted without participants’ full and informed consent at the time the study is carried out (e.g. covert observation)?

NO

55

  • 10. Does research involve intrusive interventions or data collection methods for example, the administration/consumption of substances or alcohol, vigorous physical exercise or techniques such as hypnotism?

NO

  • 11. Would or might research induce psychological stress, anxiety or humiliation or cause more than minimal pain or distress to either participants or researchers?

YES

  • 12. Will the research be undertaken outside the UK where there may be issues of local practice and political sensitivities and/or concerns about the safety of the researcher?

NO

  • 13. Does research involve visual/vocal methods where participants or other individuals may be identifiable in the visual images used or generated?

NO

  • 14. Does research involve data sharing of confidential information beyond the initial consent given e.g. where the research topic, data gathering or dissemination of the findings (e.g. via publication or presentation) involves a risk of information being disclosed that would require the researchers to breach confidentiality conditions agreed with participants?

NO

  • 15. Does research involve using data not in the public domain or secure data?

NO

  • 16. Does research involve human body parts, human tissue or human cells?

NO

  • 17. Does the research involve NHS patients, staff or premises?

NO

If you have answered ‘YES’ to ANY of the above, your research project may be ‘high risk’. You must discuss this with your supervisor. If your supervisor views the research as high risk, you must apply to the Faculty Research Ethics Committee (FREC) for full ethical approval, using the form entitled, 'Human Participant Research'. Your supervisor will provide further guidance on how to complete the form. After they approve the application form, they will submit the form to the module leader who will send your application form to the FREC on your behalf. Please do not submit any forms to the FREC yourself.

If your research is not classed as ‘high risk’, you still should ensure that you have considered ethical and data protection issues and conducted your research appropriately. Please complete the second part of the checklist below.

Checklist Questions (Part 2)

Yes/No/ Not

Explanation (please

applicable (NA)

complete all boxes)

56

  • 1. Have you made arrangements to obtain informed

YES

I will include a tick box

consent from the participants?

option on my questionnaire for the participant to click if they consent to the following research.

  • 2. Will participants be informed about how data

YES

Before completing the

collected in the research will be stored and used?

questionnaire, I will write what the data will be used for prior to the participant giving or not giving consent to the questionnaire.

  • 3. Can participants withdraw at any time if they choose

YES

If a participant decides

and are they told how to do so? (If there is a point after

they no longer want

which their data cannot be withdrawn from the study, is this also explained?)

their data to be used, I will provide my email address for and an option for the participant to create a number code in order for me to know who the participant was, whilst keeping anonymity.

  • 4. Are measures in place to provide confidentiality

YES

No names or details will

and/or anonymity for participants and ensure secure management and disposal of data collected from them?

be taken, only gender and age.

  • 5. Is it clear to participants for how long their data will

YES

I will make it clear that

be kept, and that it will be destroyed after that time?

the data will be kept until my project is complete and published and that they will have access to view the final project.

  • 6. Have you considered health and safety issues for the

YES

Completed risk

participants and researchers or anyone else impacted by

assessment form.

this study?*

* All research projects require the completion of the risk assessment form (please, see next page). The only exception to this, are projects, which are solely based on literature research, hence are desk-based and are conducted at UWE/usual place of work and do not raise any ethical issues highlighted in the checklist. Any literature based project that requires travelling, such as to access archived resources outside the student's normal place of work

57

will require the completion of the risk assessment form and lone working procedures will apply.

If you have answered NO to any of these Qs above, you need to discuss with your supervisor and clarify how you can address these issues.

Declaration: The information contained in this application, including any accompanying information, is to the best of my knowledge, complete and correct. I have attempted to identify all ethical issues and risks that may arise in conducting this research and acknowledge my obligations.

Applicant's signature:

will require the completion of the risk assessment form and <a href=lone working procedures will apply. If you have answered NO to any of these Qs above, you need to discuss with your supervisor and clarify how you can address these issues. Declaration: The information contained in this application, including any accompanying information, is to the best of my knowledge, complete and correct. I have attempted to identify all ethical issues and risks that may arise in conducting this research and acknowledge my obligations. Applicant's signature: Date: 16 January 2017 Supervisor's Comments: Finn Mackay Supervisor's Signature: Date: 17/01/17 After the approval by the supervisor, this form is to be emailed to the Graham Taylor ( graham.taylor@uwe.ac.uk ) before the research begins (e.g. recruitment/ data collection etc). Placement students should return this form to Andy Mathers (Andrew.mathers@uwe.ac.uk For further guidance, please contact Module convenor(s) (Anne-Marie Cummins ( anne- marie.cummins@uwe.ac.uk ) or Module leader (Dr. Selma Babayiğit; selma.babayigit@uwe.ac.uk ; 011732 82187) or AHoD RKE & Deputy Chair of the FREC (tbc). S ee also, Good Research Practice and Research ethics policy and procedures. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------------------------- Audit record: This section is to be completed by the module leader and/or convener. Convener (name): Date: Comments: Module Leader (Name): Date: Comments: Appendix 3: Questionnaire 58 " id="pdf-obj-57-13" src="pdf-obj-57-13.jpg">

Date: 16 th January 2017

Supervisor's Comments: Finn Mackay

Supervisor's Signature:

will require the completion of the risk assessment form and <a href=lone working procedures will apply. If you have answered NO to any of these Qs above, you need to discuss with your supervisor and clarify how you can address these issues. Declaration: The information contained in this application, including any accompanying information, is to the best of my knowledge, complete and correct. I have attempted to identify all ethical issues and risks that may arise in conducting this research and acknowledge my obligations. Applicant's signature: Date: 16 January 2017 Supervisor's Comments: Finn Mackay Supervisor's Signature: Date: 17/01/17 After the approval by the supervisor, this form is to be emailed to the Graham Taylor ( graham.taylor@uwe.ac.uk ) before the research begins (e.g. recruitment/ data collection etc). Placement students should return this form to Andy Mathers (Andrew.mathers@uwe.ac.uk For further guidance, please contact Module convenor(s) (Anne-Marie Cummins ( anne- marie.cummins@uwe.ac.uk ) or Module leader (Dr. Selma Babayiğit; selma.babayigit@uwe.ac.uk ; 011732 82187) or AHoD RKE & Deputy Chair of the FREC (tbc). S ee also, Good Research Practice and Research ethics policy and procedures. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------------------------- Audit record: This section is to be completed by the module leader and/or convener. Convener (name): Date: Comments: Module Leader (Name): Date: Comments: Appendix 3: Questionnaire 58 " id="pdf-obj-57-23" src="pdf-obj-57-23.jpg">

Date: 17/01/17

After the approval by the supervisor, this form is to be emailed to the Graham Taylor (graham.taylor@uwe.ac.uk) before the research begins (e.g. recruitment/ data collection etc). Placement students should return this form to Andy Mathers (Andrew.mathers@uwe.ac.uk

For further guidance, please contact Module convenor(s) (Anne-Marie Cummins (anne- marie.cummins@uwe.ac.uk) or Module leader (Dr. Selma Babayiğit; selma.babayigit@uwe.ac.uk; 011732 82187) or AHoD RKE & Deputy Chair of the FREC (tbc). See also, Good Research Practice and Research ethics policy and procedures.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-----------------------------

Audit record: This section is to be completed by the module leader and/or convener.

Convener (name):

Date:

Comments:

Module Leader (Name):

Date:

Comments:

Appendix 3: Questionnaire

58

Domestic abuse is the abuse of one partner within an intimate relationship. It is the repeated,

Domestic abuse is the abuse of one partner within an intimate relationship. It is the repeated, random and habitual use of intimidation to control a partner. The abuse can be physical, emotional, psychological, financial or sexual. Anyone forced to

alter their behaviour because they are frightened of their partner’s reaction is being abused

(Refuge, 2017)

4% of men were estimated to have experienced domestic abuse in 2014-15, which is equivalent to an estimated 600,000 male victims (ManKind Initiative, 2016). The data collected via this survey will be used as part of my third year research project, which aims to gain understanding of the public perception of male victims of domestic violence and if it is still consistent with gender role stereotypes from current research.

This will be a confidential survey and by click 'I agree' you will be indicating that you are giving your consent for your data to be used in the project. Any questions or queries please contact me on; Caitlin2.shaw@live.uwe.ac.uk.

This is a sensitive topic, so if any of the questions upset you, I apologise and here is 24 hour National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline to call if you have been affected:

08082000247

Additionally, I ask that no one under the age of 18 participates in this survey.

If at any point you would like your data to be removed from this study, please enter a six digit code and below email it to me.

Domestic abuse is the abuse of one partner within an intimate relationship. It is the repeated,

. Do you agree for your data to be used?

Q1. What is your gender?

Q2. What is your age? Q3. Please give an example of a domestic abuse perpetrator you have witnessed in the media. (Perpetrator is the person committing the crime).

59

Q4. Do you support the idea that there is a stereotypical image of victims of domestic abuse? Please state why

Q5. Do you believe that men can be victims of domestic abuse? Please explain your answer.

Q6. What do you believe to be the main reasons for male-on-female domestic abuse?

Q7. What do you believe to be the main reasons for female-on-male domestic abuse?

Q8. Would you rate male-on-female domestic abuse as equal status to female-on-male domestic abuse? Please explain your response.

Q9. What do you believe are the reasons for male victims not coming forward and reporting incidents of domestic abuse?

Q10. What do you believe should be the appropriate prosecution for male perpetrators? Why do you believe these to be appropriate?

Q11.What do you believe should be the appropriate prosecution for female perpetrators? Why do you believe these to be appropriate?

Q12. Do you believe that agencies like the police are sensitive and neutral to all victims of domestic abuse? Please explain your response.

Q13. Do you believe that police attitudes would cause male victims to not want to report incidents of domestic abuse? Please explain why.

Q14.Do you view female violence against men as a crime? Please explain your answer.

60

Control also main motive for female-on-male abuse Control as main motive for male-on-female abuse
Control also main motive
for female-on-male abuse
Control as main motive
for male-on-female
abuse
Sub-theme: motives for perpetration
Sub-theme:
motives for
perpetration

Appendix 4: Thematic Map

Identification of female as main victims
Identification of female
as main victims
Male embarrassment for lack of reporting
Male embarrassment for
lack of reporting
Fear of not being believed
Fear of not being
believed
Identification of males as main perpetrators
Identification of males as
main perpetrators
Theme: Stereotyping behaviours
Theme:
Stereotyping
behaviours
Theme: Social stigma
Theme:
Social stigma
Public perception of male victims of domestic abuse Identification that victims are usually weak and perpetrator
Public perception of
male victims of domestic
abuse
Identification that
victims are usually weak
and perpetrator strong

Alcohol/ drugs second reason for male-on- female

Societal lack of sensitivity as well as police agencies
Societal lack of sensitivity
as well as police agencies
Belief that both forms (male-on-female/ female- on-male) are crimes of equal status Theme: Equal Status But
Belief that both forms
(male-on-female/ female-
on-male) are crimes of
equal status
Theme:
Equal Status
But male-on-female more
prominent
61

Jealousy second reason for female-on-male.

Men feeling emasculated in relationship

Consensus for same for of prosecution for male and female perpetrators
Consensus for same for of
prosecution for male and
female perpetrators

Appendix 5: Fake Name Chart

Participant number

(Fake) Name of respondent

Gender

Age

  • 1 Janice Rotner

 

F

20-21

  • 2 Tom Wambold

 

M

22-23

  • 3 Morgan Steele

 

F

20-21

  • 4 James Lapson

 

M

20-21

  • 5 Rebecca Lew

 

F

18-19

  • 6 Tegan Haines

 

F

18-19

  • 7 Gareth Spellman

 

M

20-21

  • 8 Lily Donovan

 

F

22-23

  • 9 Ben Wilde

 

M

25

+

  • 10 Linda Shepp

 

F

25

+

  • 11 Ruth Davies

 

F

25

+

  • 12 Jacquie Washington

 

F

25

+

  • 13 Lorraine Smith

 

F

25

+

  • 14 Moya Cozens

 

F

25

+

  • 15 Lorna Luptom

 

F

20-21

  • 16 Ellie Sallese

 

F

22-23

  • 17 Sarah Ringwald

 

F

20-21

  • 18 Bahkai McKeon

 

M

20-21

  • 19 Connor Koopman

 

M

23-24

  • 20 Simon Dasse

 

M

20-21

  • 21 Emogene Hanan

 

F

20-21

  • 22 Shannon Olken

 

F

20-21

  • 23 Niamh Rhodes

 

F

20-21

  • 24 Hannah Beltran

 

F

22-23

  • 25 Alex Swanson

 

M

23-24

  • 26 Lizzie May

 

F

20-21

  • 27 Katherine Mckenzie

 

F

20-21

  • 28 Jessica Edwards

 

F

20-21

  • 29 Isabel Lopez

 

F

20-21

  • 30 Steph ox

 

F

20-21

62

63