Date of Conferral







Eric Hickey


Gay men encounter barriers when reporting same-sex intimate partner violence (IPV) to officials. This phenomenon is vital to address, given that IPV impacts gay men more than others in the LGBTQ community, with gay men making 31.5% of the IPV reports among that population. The identified gap in the literature showed the lack of research regarding the lived experiences of barriers encountered by gay men in reporting IPV, which was the purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study. Merten’s strain theory served as a framework to answer the study’s two research questions on how barriers in reporting IPV affect gay men’s lives and what the men have done to overcome those barriers. Data collection was from semistructured interviews with 10 men ages 18 to 35 years who self-identified as gay, had been in a same-sex relationship involving IPV for 3 months or more, and experienced barriers to reporting same-sex IPV. Data analysis showed how barriers to reporting IPV affected the lived experiences of gay men by causing three significant forms of distress, including shame and embarrassment from feeling responsible for the abuse, loss of support associated with fear and despair, and fear of retaliation from the abuser. Three themes also emerged specific to overcoming barriers to reporting IPV; these were a nondiscriminatory law enforcement response, confiding in trusted people, and supportive health care providers. This study has implications for positive social change in that findings might contribute to the development of training programs for law enforcement and health care providers to learn about IPV among gay men in same-sex relationships so as to respond with respect and compassion.