A STUDY OF MALE VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND ABUSE IN A SOUTH AFRICAN CONTEXT: TOWARD A GENDER-INCLUSIVE CONCEPTION
Mrs. S. Bernhardt
Director of Research Grants
South African Department of Health and Welfare
RE: Research Proposal: A Study of Male Victims of Domestic Violence and Abuse in a South African Context: Toward a Gender-Inclusive Conception
The following is a proposal for a research project for the purposes of exploring the nature of violence and abuse perpetrated by women against their male partners and to examine the experiences of male victims of domestic violence and abuse. The proposal introduced the topic and explains the nature and methodology of the proposed study.
I believe that the results of this study will yield useful information for the purpose of moving forward toward a gender-inclusive conception of domestic violence and abuse. The reluctance to investigate these issues in an objective and scientific manner has been due to the prevailing patriarchal conception of domestic violence and abuse, a paradigm based on radical feminist sociopolitical ideology.
I am submitting this proposal to your organization in the hope of obtaining funding. As you will see the project is both practicable and ethically feasible.
A considerable amount of research has been carried out on the issue of women as victims of domestic violence and abuse. However, a huge void exists in South Africa with regard to information on violence and abuse perpetrated by women against their male partners. Domestic violence and abuse is a major public health and human rights problem involving all ages and sexes. Although the term ‘gender based violence’ is widely used as a synonym for violence against women, it also occurs among men (Cascardi, M. Langhinrichsen, J., Vivian, D. 1992; Marital Aggression, Impact, Injury and Health correlates for husbands and wives, Archives of Internal Medicine, 152, 1178-1184). The fact that men can be victims of domestic violence and abuse is slowly being acknowledged. It has been recognized that men who are being abused by women in their relationships nearly always find they can neither find nor access the services they need to receive support and advice.
The proposed study will attempt to explore the experience of male victims of domestic violence and abuse by using a qualitative methodology based on personal interviews using a semi-structured questionnaire, self-report (‘I-Story’) and content analysis, in the framework of a descriptive-interpretive paradigm.
This methodology is appropriate for a study that attempts to facilitate a clear, rich understanding of the subjective experience of male survivors of domestic violence and abuse perpetrated by their intimate (female) partners.
The Research Problem
A qualitative case study conducted in the United States concerning the ‘Lived Experiences of a Male Survivor of Intimate Partner Violence’ (Nayback-Beebe, A.M., Yoder, L.H. 2012) found that domestic violence has emerged as a significant public health crisis. Accordingly, although the rates of male-to-female physical domestic violence have been declining over the past 30 years, the rates of female-to-male physical domestic violence have remained constant (Douglas and Hines, 2011). From 1994 to 2004, the percentage of males reporting victimization from domestic violence and abuse grew from 48% to 64%; however men reported that they remained more reluctant to report domestic violence and abuse than women due the privacy concerns (U.S. Department of Justice, 2007). Furthermore, of the estimated 24% of dating and marital relationships with acknowledged domestic violence, nearly half involved reciprocal violence in which both...