Study examines domestic violence
UH doctoral candidate Venus Tsui, under the supervision of Monit Cheung, the doctoral dissertation chair at the Graduate School of Social Work, is conducting a survey of male victims of domestic violence in order to better understand the issue.
“It is definitely a challenging and tough topic,” Tsui said. “Although underreported and less common, male victims of domestic violence suffer negative physical and psychological consequences which are similar to their female counterparts.”
Tsui said the underreporting of domestic violence toward men is due to two main inhibitors: society and men themselves.
“Related literature and extant studies reveal that men are often discriminated against by domestic violence service providers and law enforcement systems in the help-seeking process,” Tsui said.
This and other forms of exclusion breed a stigma in men that causes them embarrassment and is often the ultimate provocation to keep the abuse to themselves, Tsui said.
“They face the challenge of masculine identity when reporting the abuse,” she said. “Socialization affects how men behave, and seeking help is often thought (of) as a sign of weakness.”
Cheung’s interest in the subject dates back to 2006 when she was a radio talk host for the Houston-Hong Kong Radio, AM 1050 and AM 1180, during a live phone-in program.
“In this 25-week program, I found that very few men called in, but for those who called, eight of them expressed that they were abused – physically and/or emotionally – by their partners/wives,” Cheung wrote in an e-mail interview. “I started to research more about male victims/survivors of domestic violence.”
Similarly, Tsui’s personal interest in the subject developed when she was living in Hong Kong and witnessed men as victims of domestic violence. The two researchers’ shared curiosities eventually led them to co-creating this survey.
“With my research, I hope to identify the barriers and facilitators to help-seeking among male victims of partner abuse as well as to develop effective prevention and intervention strategies that are gender-sensitive and responsive to the unique needs of male victims,” she said.
Both researchers recognize that the sheer secretiveness behind this issue is the very root of the problem.
“To help male victims in need, it is important to not only encourage them to ask for help, but also dispel the myth and acknowledge their need for services in the society,” Tsui said.
The survey, which is completely anonymous, is available both online and in paper format. It can be found online at www.surveymonkey.com/s/KS9WG96.