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A Closer Look at Men Who Sustain Intimate Terrorism by Women

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Over 30 years of research has established that both men and women are capable of sustaining intimate partner violence (IPV) by their opposite-sex partners, yet little research has examined men's experiences in such relationships. Some experts in the field have forwarded assumptions about men who sustain IPV — for example, that the abuse they experience is trivial or humorous and of no consequence and that, if their abuse was severe enough, they have the financial and psychological resources to easily leave the relationship — but these assumptions have little data to support them. The present study is an in-depth, descriptive examination of 302 men who sustained severe IPV from their women partners within the previous year and sought help. We present information on their demographics, overall mental health, and the types and frequency of various forms of physical and psychological IPV they sustained. We also provide both quantitative and qualitative information about their last physical argument and their reasons for staying in the relationship. It is concluded that, contrary to many assumptions about these men, the IPV they sustain is quite severe and both mentally and physically damaging; their most frequent response to their partner's IPV is to get away from her; and they are often blocked in their efforts to leave, sometimes physically, but more often because of strong psychological and emotional ties to their partners and especially their children. These results are discussed in terms of their implications for policy and practice.
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Keywords: BATTERING; DOMESTIC VIOLENCE; FEMALE PERPETRATORS; INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE; MALE VICTIMS; SPOUSE ABUSE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2010

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