‘One thing I’d never stand for in a relationship is violence, so when she tried to kill me, that was it’: The impact of heteronormativity and assimilation on Domestic Violence and Abuse in same sex women’s relationships
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AbstractDomestic Violence and Abuse (DVA) is most commonly spoken of as a heterosexual issue and as such it remains hidden within the lesbian community both from the inside and the outside. In the era following civil partnership and same sex marriage legislation, it may be logical to assume that speaking out about abuse would be easier. However, this study suggests that the politics of assimilation has entrenched the hidden nature of domestic violence and abuse in same sex relationships between women making it more and more difficult to recognise or speak out about. Whilst recent research in the area has highlighted these issues, this study foregrounds, through the women’s lived experience, the importance of structural, social and cultural contexts for women’s identities resulting in limited recognition of abuse and consequential action on it. The study contributes to the developing and existing body of literature through the exploration of the impact of heteronormativity on domestic violence and abuse in relationships between women in a specific age cohort (of one generation) who identify as gay. The results are presented in a narrative ethnographic thematic form, providing three women’s in-depth stories of experiencing and surviving abusive relationships. From within these stories, it focuses on the use of identity in abuse, set against the backdrop of increasing political, legislative and social assimilation. Using the COHSAR Power and Control Wheel to inform the coding framework the study presents a theoretical conceptualisation of physical and emotional abuse as coercive control and focuses on the difference of experience. The results enabled a theoretical conceptualisation of identity abuse and enabled the development of a new model for understanding identity abuse in relation to intersectional identities. Four key tactics areas emerged in relation to identity abuse: the known self (personal and public identity), intimacies, threats and false allegations. These key tactical areas are weaponised in personal, social and cultural, and structural domains of life. The critical inquiry presented is methodologically grounded in analytic autoethnography (with the researcher as full member participant) and utilises standpoint theory and intersectionality as conceptual framework. The study promotes the use of a new practitioner and educator model for understanding identity abuse to be used in conjunction with the COHSAR Power and Control Wheel and the stories themselves may also be used as tools for learning. In an era of assimilation, research on the lived experience of domestic violence and abuse is key in understanding the nuances of experience based on identity; without this, practitioners and educators are limited in their ability to resource, raise awareness of, and assist those experiencing domestic violence and abuse.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the Professional Doctorate in Health and Wellbeing.
SponsorsUniversity of Wolverhampton
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- Creative Commons
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