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Journal Article


Zverina M, Stam HJ, Babins-Wagner R. J. Interpers. Violence 2011; 26(14): 2834-2855.


(Copyright © 2011, SAGE Publishing)






In contrast to the abundance of research on women victims, this article sheds light on the discourse of men who are self-identified as victims of their female partners' abuse. The purpose of this study was to investigate the most salient identity constructions and abuse conceptualizations among participants of group psychotherapy for men who have been abused in intimate, heterosexual partner relationships (i.e., Calgary Counselling Centre's 14-week group program titled "A Turn for the Better"). The men's identity work was examined using the methods and theoretical perspective of discourse analysis. Analysis of the talk demonstrated that the group agenda was to work through the ambiguity of abuse in the service of having the men identify themselves as victims. Thus, both the men and the group facilitators actively constructed "true victim" subject positions through their resistance to commonsense orientations of (a) "men as perpetrators" and (b) whether abuse consisted of more than physical violence. The therapeutic language of resistance was a common strategy used to manage victim status but also required further negotiation as it entailed a component of abuse (i.e., risked positioning the men as abusers rather than victims). The discussion focuses on how these findings may differ from the identity work present in women victim therapeutic groups. In addition, we note that it is difficult to uphold the victim-versus-perpetrator dichotomy in therapeutic discourse.

Language: en


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