OBJECTIVE: A growing body of literature suggests that intimate partner violence (IPV) occurs within same-sex relationships and that members of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community face a number of unique challenges in accessing IPV-related services. This paper examines the use of an online survey, marketed through a popular social networking site, to collect data on the experience and perpetration of IPV among men who have sex with men (MSM) in the United States.
METHODS: Internet-using MSM were recruited through selective placement of banner advertisements on MySpace.com. Participants were eligible for the baseline survey if they were males ≥ 18 years of age, and reported at least one male sex partner in the last 12 months. In total 16,597 men responded to the ad, of which 11,681 were eligible for the study, and 5,602 completed the questionnaire; 543 men completed the follow-up survey, which included questions on the experience and perpetration of IPV. The final analysis sample was 402.
RESULTS: THE PREVALENCE OF VIOLENCE AMONG THE SAMPLE WAS RELATIVELY HIGH: 11.8% of men reported physical violence from a current male partner, and about 4% reported experiencing coerced sex. Reporting of perpetration of violence against a partner was generally lower, with approximately 7% reporting perpetrating physical violence and less than 1% reporting perpetration of sexual violence.
CONCLUSION: The results presented here find lower levels of experiencing both physical and sexual IPV than have been shown in previous studies, yet show relatively high levels of reporting of perpetration of IPV. Collecting IPV data through surveys administered through social networking sites is feasible and provides a new opportunity to reach currently overlooked populations in IPV research.
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