Gender-Atypical Violence – Men Subjected to Heterosexual Partner Violence


  • Caroline Hansén Department of Social Work, Linnaeus University, Sweden


This paper draws on narratives from 18 men who experienced violence by their female counterparts. Their meaning-making, emotions and lived experiences of being subjected to intimate partner violence. And what consequences this has for their self-perception and gender identity are themes investigated in the analysis. I will explore through looking at the interpretative repertoires used by men to (re)construct masculinity in references to victimhood and discuss the function of these. Due to the lack of social recognition of male victims of this particular “atypical” violence, they might face severe challenges when trying to make sense of and relate to their experiences, which has consequences for their self-perception and self-presentation.
The study follows a narrative methodology in which the interviews facilitated the individuals’ exploration of their life-course, trajectories, and meaning-making. The recruitment was made through strategic sampling, indicating that the men self- selectively contacted the researcher after viewing information at websites of voluntary organisations, specialised in IPV and specialised IPV units within the social services, and secretive groups on social media.
The paper will give an overview of the narratives focusing on narrations of men about how the relationships arose, in which the men later became subjects of heterosexual IPV. Central themes from the interviews target prevalent notions and discourses of the beginning of violent relationships, gender scripts, and (hegemonic) masculinity.
Tentative results and reflections indicate that the relationship does not necessarily follow prevailing gender scripts and retrospectively deviating warning signs the men identified in the women’s behaviours.


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