Invisible Men: When Men Are the Recipients of Non-reciprocal Intimate Partner Violence in Heterosexual Relationships
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This modified qualitative systematic review (MQSR) examines if socio-cultural aspects of masculinity norms and attitudes create barriers that prevent men as recipients of non-reciprocated female intimate partner violence (IPV) from reporting and help-seeking. Predominantly family violence literature focuses on women's experiences as the recipients of IPV rather than men. Men's voices contributing to the research of their IPV experienced by their female partners, and the responses to their experiences of seeking help, are seldom heard. On the occasions that these men's stories are told, they create confusion and discord. A literature search was undertaken using EBSCO CINAHL, EBSCO SocINDEX, and OVID PyscARTICLES databases. A Google Scholar search was also initiated as a more informal type of search. The requisites of the search included: men as victims of IPV, women as perpetrators of IPV, barriers to reporting and help-seeking, and socio-cultural influence on reporting and help-seeking. The inclusion criteria for the search used statements such as men as recipients of IPV from female partners, women perpetrators, heterosexual relationships, barriers in men reporting IPV, and reference to masculinity. From these criteria, a total of 7 articles were selected and analysed. These articles came from the United States, the United Kingdom, Portugal, and Finland. There were no Aotearoa New Zealand articles included due to the paucity of research in this area. The themes that emerged from the MQSR for discussion are the types of violence used against men by women, descriptions of the types of help-seeking, double standards in professional service, and barriers to reporting and help-seeking for men. Masculinity as a cultural space and the need to break down barriers to reporting is discussed in conclusion, followed by recommendations on how this could be achieved. These recommendations include implications for practice, policy, and future research. My study concludes that men's needs in terms of finding support and disclosing IPV are not inexorably linked to those of women; men, too, want to be heard and believed.