Exposing the Secret: Listening to Bedouin Men Who Have Experienced Sexual Violence

J Interpers Violence. 2023 Feb;38(3-4):3468-3488. doi: 10.1177/08862605221107054. Epub 2022 Jun 6.


There are few indigenous men's voices regarding sexual violence against them, particularly concerning Bedouin men's views. How do Bedouin men who have experienced SV describe, perceive, and interpret their experiences in their cultural context? Seventeen Bedouin men, residents of either recognized or unrecognized Bedouin settlements in the Negev, Israel. Phenomenological semi-structured interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and then translated into English. Themes were generated using thematic analysis. Three main themes were found: descriptions of the incidents, reactions to the experiences, and the need for keeping incidents of SV secret due to the stigma involved as a result of patriarchal, political (i.e., tribal hierarchy), and private (i.e., family loyalty) norms, and the matrix of multiple and often conflicting roles and identities that Bedouin men must assume despite their experiences. The incidence of SV against men in the Bedouin community is alarming and must be acknowledged by the research community and public health practitioners as a serious health issue that requires more holistic research to better understand the men's experiences. More efforts are needed on the local, regional, and global levels to provide post-violence care for survivors and to prevent SV. In particular, there is a need to reduce the stigma associated with SV so that young men will be willing to speak up about their trauma without shame and receive help.

Keywords: bedouin; culture; men; muslim; sexual violence; stigma.

MeSH terms

  • Arabs*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Men
  • Sex Offenses*
  • Shame
  • Social Stigma