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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Intimate Partner Violence and Social Pressure among Gay Men in Six Countries


Introduction: Recent research suggests that men who have sex with men (MSM) experience intimate partner violence (IPV) at significantly higher rates than heterosexual men. Few studies, however, have investigated implications of heterosexist social pressures – namely, homophobic discrimination, internalized homophobia, and heterosexism– on risk for IPV among MSM, and no previous studies have examined cross-national variations in the relationship between IPV and social pressure. This paperexamines reporting of IPV and associations with social pressure among a sample of internet-recruited MSM in the United States (U.S.), Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Brazil.

Methods: We recruited internet-using MSM from 6 countries through selective banner advertisements placed on Facebook. Eligibility criteria were men age over 18 reporting sex with a man in the past year. Of the 2,771 eligible respondents, 2,368 had complete data and were included in the analysis. Threeoutcomes were examined: reporting recent experience of physical violence, sexual violence, and recent perpetration of physical violence. The analysis focused on associations between reporting of IPV and experiences of homophobic discrimination, internalized homophobia, and heteronormativity.

Results: Reporting of experiencing physical IPV ranged from 5.75% in the U.S. to 11.75% in South Africa, while experiencing sexual violence was less commonly reported and ranged from 2.54% in Australia to 4.52% in the U.S. Perpetration of physical violence ranged from 2.47% in the U.S. to 5.76% in South Africa. Experiences of homophobic discrimination, internalized homophobia, and heteronormativity were found to increase odds of reporting IPV in all countries.

Conclusion: There has been little data on IPV among MSM, particularly MSM living in low- and middleincome countries. Despite the lack of consensus in demographic correlates of violence reporting, heterosexist social pressures were found to significantly increase odds of reporting IPV in all countries.These findings show the universality of violence reporting amongMSMacross countries, and highlight the unique role of heteronormativity asa risk factor for violence reporting among MSM. The results demonstrate that using internet-based surveys to reachMSMis feasible for certain areas, although modified effortsmay be required to reach diverse samples of MSM. [West J Emerg Med. 2012;13(3):260–271.]


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