Male Same-Sex Intimate Partner Violence, Masculinity, and the Incomprehensibility of Being a Victim

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Dr. Matthew Ball, Associate Lecturer, School of Justice, Queensland University of Technology …

Dr. Matthew Ball, Associate Lecturer, School of Justice, Queensland University of Technology
Despite the dearth of research on the issue of violence within male same-sex intimate partnerships, a recurring finding is that victims of such violence rarely seek assistance from police or other service providers. This presentation will examine the interaction between social discourses on intimate partner violence and those on masculinities in order to provide a broad conceptual framework for understanding
this phenomenon.
Specifically, it will chart the way that social discourses on intimate partner violence, as well as those relating to masculinity, create tensions between performing masculinity,
identifying as gay, and positioning oneself as a victim of violence. In doing so, it will consider the potential for analyses
of these discourses to help understand and prevent intimate partner violence in these contexts.

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  • 1. Male Same-Sex Intimate Partner Violence, Masculinity, and the Incomprehensibility of Being a Victim
    Dr Matthew Ball
    Associate Lecturer
    School of Justice, Queensland University of Technology
  • 2. Introduction
    • Dearth of research – victims rarely seek assistance
    • 3. Conceptual framework to understand
    • 4. Importance of discourses on intimate partner violence and masculinity and interaction
    • 5. Chart way discourses create tensions between…
    • 6. Performing masculinity
    • 7. Identifying as gay, and
    • 8. Positioning oneself as a victim of violence
    • 9. Potential to inform action (research, support, prevention)
  • Masculinity
    Lacking in research
    Hegemonic masculinity
    Heterosexuality
    Capacity for violence
    Subordinate and oppositional masculinities
    Violence as suitable resource in absence of others
    Correcting subordinate social situation (violent crimes)
    Oppositional masculinity
    (Connell 2005; Messerschmidt 1993, 2000; Cruz 2000)
  • 10. Intimate Partner Violence
    Binary subject positions
    (Male) perpetrator – heterosexual, working class masculinity
    (Female) victim – typically ‘feminine’, vulnerable
    Police and Government Services, Other Research Forums
    Family violence, violence does not discriminate, liaison officers
    (Ball and Hayes, forthcoming)
  • 11. Violence and patriarchy connected (Dobash and Dobash 1979)
    Heteronormative
    Sex, Violence and Crime: Foucault and the ‘Man’ Question (Howe 2009)
    Fear that recognising men as victims would detract from a focus on women (challenge core claims of feminism)
    Based on less violence against men
    Same-sex violence dismissed as ‘bland’
    Feminist Criminology
  • 12. Interaction
    • Masculinity
    • 13. Violence as a resource for performing masculinity
    • 14. Man as violent actor – invisible as victim
    • 15. Homosexuality as subordinate masculinity
    • 16. IPV
    • 17. Generally male perpetrator, female victim - heteronormative
    • 18. Feminism
    • 19. Fixed, heteronormative subject positions, based on patriarchal model
    • 20. Reinforces gendered attitude to GLBTI relationships
    • 21. Invisibility and marginalisation of same-sex individuals
  • Effects
    Invisibility
    Support provided, social and criminal justice response
    Victims
    Victim and man inconsistent – ‘real man’ expected to protect himself
    Victim status justified (self-approved) if physical harm, psychological injuries unaddressed (men and emotions)
    Conditions allow men to tolerate relational violence
  • 22. Conclusion
    Social and criminological discourses on IPV and masculinity
    Cannot account for outside heteronormative/feminist frame
    Impact on help-seeking behaviour
    What this means
    Work through discourses on violence, feminism, masculinity
    Future research
    Exclusion from society, discourses
    Identity – interplay of gender and sexuality