Objective: A growing body of literature suggests that IPV occurs within same-sex relationships and that members of the LGBT community face a number of unique challenges in accessing IPV related services. This paper examines the use of an on-line survey, marketed through a popular social networking site, to collect data on the experience and perpetration of IPV among men who have sex with men (MSM) in the US.
Methods: Internet-using MSM were recruited through selective placement of banner advertisements on MySpace.com. Participants were eligible for the baseline survey if they were males ≥ 18 years of age, and reported at least one male sex partner in the last 12 months. In total 16, 597 men responded to the ad, of which 11, 681 were eligible for the study, and 5602 completed the questionnaire: in total 543 men completed the follow-up survey which included questions on the experience and perpetration of IPV. The final analysis sample was 402 MSM.
Results: The prevalence of violence among the sample was relatively high: 11.8% of men reported physical violence from a current male partner, and about 4% reported experiencing coerced sex. Reporting of perpetration of violence against a partner was generally lower, with approximately 7% reporting perpetrating physical violence and less than 1% reporting perpetration of sexual violence.
Conclusion: The results presented here find lower levels of experiencing both physical and sexual IPV than have been shown in previous studies, yet show relatively high levels of reporting of perpetration of IPV. Collecting IPV data through surveys administered through social networking sites is feasible and provides a new opportunity to reach currently over-looked populations in IPV research.