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Unraveling men’s Violence against Women: a study focusing on male perpetrators and their responses to violence in a therapy situation in Sweden

By Sharlotte Tusasiirwe


Worldwide, men’s violence against women continues to haunt the lives of many through its devastating social, psychological, economic and health related effects. Clearly, efforts to address it have been focused big time on victims, thus addressing effects and symptoms of this violence. Whereas this is inevitable and important, such a focus leaves the burden of addressing the problem on the victims’ shoulders undermining the issue that Violence against Women is also a perpetrators’ problem. Efforts to understand men’s violence against women with the focus on how the perpetrators perceive it, respond and resist it are at the infancy stage. This highlights the dire need of such focus both in practice and in research. Up on this basis, a qualitative study utilizing non standardized interviews was conducted. Data was collected from the professionals that come in contact with men who use violence as well as from the male perpetrators. The general aim was to unravel and investigate the complexity of this violence against women with a focus on male perpetrators. Specific aims were to investigate how and why perpetrators of violence respond to violence, how they account or tell their violence, focus of intervention in therapy as well as the responses after the therapy with the professionals. Results indicated various ways male perpetrators respond and resist violence. One response is by seeking psychotherapy. The triggers and motivations that lead the male perpetrators to seek psychotherapy are highlighted. Results also indicate how male perpetrators account for their violence through strategic use of language. Thus, a language of minimization, denial, justification is used by the male perpetrators during their accounts. The intentions of using such language are highlighted. The way the male perpetrators respond to violence determines the focus of intervention during therapy with the professionals. Thus, this response based therapy is discussed and some crosscutting themes of focus are highlighted. Consequently, it is inevitable that the male perpetrators of violence have to take responsibility for their violence as well as taking the initiative to work towards changing their violent behaviors. The implications from this study are that understanding violence against women from the way it is explained and perceived by the male perpetrators is vital in prevention and consequent cessation of this problem. Their justifications show reasons for their continued use of violence. Deconstructing and understanding such by everyone involved in the battle against violence can bring insurmountable results. Working with perpetrators of violence can constitute an important part to ending violence against women and efforts to document and encourage their constructive responses and resistance should be pursued

Topics: Men’s violence against women, male perpetrators, therapy, responses and resistances
Year: 2012
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