Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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“It makes you less of a man”: The help-seeking experiences of emerging adult men who have experienced sexual violence and abuse by women

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posted on 2023-08-08, 07:47 authored by Cebreros, Britte

This qualitative study investigated the help-seeking experiences of emerging adult men (18-29 years) who had experienced sexual violence and abuse (SVA) by women. Five men from Aotearoa New Zealand participated in semi-structured interviews about their experiences. Interpretative phenomenological analysis identified three overarching themes that described the men’s help-seeking experiences after being victimised by women, namely: 1) Societal beliefs and understanding of SVA influence men’s help-seeking; 2) The impact of interpersonal relationships on men’s recognition and acceptance of SVA; 3) The need for responsive specialist support services. The findings contribute to understanding in an under- researched area of the help-seeking literature and demonstrate the impact of traditional masculine ideologies, gender expectations, and myths about SVA on young men’s help- seeking. Specifically, the men internalised traditional gender role ideologies, which hindered their ability to recognise and acknowledge their experiences as abusive. This in turn acted as a barrier to men overcoming the stigma associated with masculinity and seek help. Implications for policy, practice, and directions for future research are discussed with a focus on the need to overcome the harmful societal ideations about masculinity and provide men with the necessary support to seeking help and enhance their health and quality of life.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Forensic Psychology

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Science

ANZSRC Socio-Economic Outcome code

280121 Expanding knowledge in psychology

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

2 Strategic basic research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Psychology


Dixon, Louise; Tyler, Nichola