‘Some men just don’t want to get hurt’: perspectives of U.S. Virgin Islands men toward partner violence and HIV risks

Kamila A. Alexander, Noelle M. St. Vil, Marilyn A. Braithwaite-Hall, Michael Sanchez, Aletha Baumann, Gloria B. Callwood, Jacquelyn C. Campbell, Doris W. Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Global evidence suggests that individuals who experience intimate partner violence (IPV) can have accelerated risk for HIV transmission. The U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) has high per capita rates of HIV and IPV that can have devastating effects on women’s health. Catalysts for these health disparities may be shaped by cultural and social definitions of conventional masculinity. Thus, understanding USVI men’s perceptions about HIV risks and IPV are a necessary component of developing strategies to improve women’s health. This study aimed to describe perceptions of HIV risks and IPV among USVI men. Design: We conducted two focus groups with 14 men living on St. Thomas and St. Croix, USVI. The focus group interview guide was culturally relevant and developed using findings from research conducted about these issues on USVI. Thematic analysis was used to analyze focus group data. Transcripts were coded and categorized by four research team members and discrepancies were reconciled. Themes were developed based on the emerging data. Results: Focus group participants were all US citizens born on the USVI, had a median age range of 20–25, 86% (12) were of African descent and 14% (2) were Hispanic. Themes emerging from the data were: (1) validating status, (2) deflecting responsibility, and (3) evoking fear and distrust. These ideas underscored the ways that attitudes and beliefs informed by gender and social norms influence IPV and sexual behavior between intimate partners. Conclusion: USVI society could benefit from interventions that aim to transform norms, promote healthy relationships, and encourage health-seeking behavior to improve the health of women partners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalEthnicity and Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2020


  • Intimate partner violence
  • masculinity
  • sexual health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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