Male survivors of sexual abuse and hegemonic masculinity : insights into discourses of gender and violence




Atwood, Kristin Marie.

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This thesis reports on a discourse analysis of thirteen qualitative interviews with male survivors of sexual abuse. My analysis focuses on participants' changing experiences and understandings of what it means to be 'masculine', and how they saw these having been influenced by the experience of being abused. An important finding was that many participants expressed concern regarding their invisibility as male survivors, noting that contemporary discourses on violence typically position men as its perpetrators, rather than its victims. I analyze the significance of the absence of a discourse of male victimization in terms both of its practical implications for male survivors and its theoretical implications for critical work on hegemonic masculinity. Based on the premise that hegemonic masculinity is a cornerstone of patriarchal systems, I conclude by using the experiences of my participants as a means of exploring the potential for men to experience 'oppression' under patriarchy.