University research reveals ‘sobering’ extent of male abuse

Dr Liz Bates, senior lecturer in applied psychology.
Dr Liz Bates, senior lecturer in applied psychology.

Preliminary research carried out by the University of Cumbria examining abuse against men has revealed cases of verbal, physical and sexual aggression.

The work, by Dr Liz Bates, a senior lecturer in applied psychology at the university, began in March 2017 and although detailed analysis has yet to be carried out, initial findings are sobering.

“The majority of men in the sample reported experiencing controlling behaviour from their female partners. This included behaviour that is often reported from women of their male partners, for example using children as a bargaining tool, manipulating or controlling finances, experiencing being isolated from friends and family,” Dr Bates said.

Other results included men reporting cases of verbal, physical and sexual aggression, often making a lasting impact on them physically and psychologically.

161 men completed the questionnaire with 14 interviews conducted.

“Many men didn’t feel they could ask for help or support,” Dr Bates said. “Those who did appeal for support told me the services were more geared more towards helping women and they felt they weren’t taken as seriously.”

She also found incidents of ‘gaslighting’, a form of manipulation where persistent denial, contradiction or lying is used with the aim of forcing a former partner to question their own memory, perception, and sanity, something previously thought to be only used by men to control women

Dr Bates, a trustee with the Mankind Charity who has also completed a PhD on the subject, says the work has served to confirm cases of male abuse and says she’ll now spend time writing up her research and publishing a detailed paper later in the year.