Experiences of Internal and External Emotional Violence in Male-Male Relationships

Cory Woodyatt, Emory University
Ariel Albertie, Emory University

Literature on Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) has focused almost exclusively on physical and sexual IPV that occurs in male-female relationships, ignoring IPV in same-sex relationships. Our study focuses on the typologies of emotional IPV between male-male partners and from the community, with particular attention to synergies between the two. Data were drawn from 10 focus groups with gay and bisexual men (n=64); analysis was grounded in Minority Stress theory. Participants described emotional violence as the most threatening violence form and commonplace in male-male relationships, with effects being compounded by external discrimination and a lack of social/familial support. Emotional violence from partners was described as directed towards the victim’s appearance, while emotional violence from external sources was reported to focus on the victim’s sexuality. The results suggest that emotional violence is common among male-male relationships, and, in conjunction with experiences of external discrimination, can negatively impact an individual’s mental health.

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Presented in Session 76: The Causes and Consequences of Gender-Based Violence