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Domestic violence and sexuality

Domestic violence and sexuality: What's love got to do with it?

Catherine Donovan
Marianne Hester
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  • Book Info
    Domestic violence and sexuality
    Book Description:

    This book provides the first detailed discussion of domestic violence and abuse in same sex relationships, offering a unique comparison between this and domestic violence and abuse experienced by heterosexual women and men. It examines how experiences of domestic violence and abuse may be shaped by gender, sexuality and age, including whether and how victims/survivors seek help, and asks, what’s love got to do with it? A pioneering methodology, using both quantitative and qualitative research, provides a reliable and valid approach that challenges the heteronormative model in domestic violence research, policy and practice. The authors develops a new framework of analysis – practices of love – to explore empirical data. Outlining the implications of the research for practice and service development, the book will be of interest to policy makers and practitioners in the field of domestic violence, especially those who provide services for sexual minorities, as well as students and academics interested in issues of domestic and interpersonal violence.

    eISBN: 978-1-4473-0745-7
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. List of figures and tables
    (pp. iv-iv)
  2. ONE What is the problem?
    (pp. 1-34)

    In this book we provide the most detailed discussion so far in the UK of domestic violence and abuse (DVA) in same sex relationships, based on a large-scale study involving a national survey, interviews and focus groups. Given the lack of research on DVA in same sex relationships we set out to develop a study which also allowed comparison of the experiences of such behaviour across heterosexual and same sex relationships. As the book is largely about experiences of individuals in same sex relationships, the focus is mainly on those identifying as lesbian and gay men. However, we are also...

  3. TWO How we did the research: the COHSAR research approach
    (pp. 35-56)

    It was important that we adopted a research approach and developed methods that could deal with issues of gender, power and sexuality, let alone other differences. We used a feminist epistemological approach as this would help us to construct research instruments (survey, interviews) geared to exploring how processes of gendering and power might operate in similar or different ways in abusive female and male same sex and heterosexual relationships. Following our analysis of existing research (see Chapter One), the survey instrument also needed to provide data regarding a range of domestically violent and abusive behaviour while taking into account both...

  4. THREE Setting the context: sexuality matters
    (pp. 57-88)

    A look at the legislative landscape of the UK and many neo-liberal, western democracies across the world at the beginning of the twenty-first century would suggest that a fundamental shift has occurred in how lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people and their intimate and familial relationships are perceived. From living lives that were considered not only deviant but dangerous and a threat to society and its core institutions such as ‘the family’ and its children, laws have been passed that legitimate their lives and relationships and provide many of the same protections, rights and obligations as heterosexual women and men...

  5. FOUR Identifying and experiencing domestic violence and abuse
    (pp. 89-120)

    In this chapter we begin to explore the nature and impact of DVA experiences for individuals in same sex relationships, drawing on some of the main findings from our national COHSAR (COmparing Heterosexual and Same sex Abuse in Relationships) survey and combined with material from our interviews. In carrying out the survey we were asking individuals to say whether they had experienced, or possibly perpetrated, one or more of a long list of emotional, physical and sexual behaviours that might be construed as abusive (see Chapter Two). Most studies tend to use the term ‘abuse’ when describing such behaviours. In...

  6. FIVE What’s love got to do with it?
    (pp. 121-156)

    The research on which this book is based started from two premises. First, that not enough was known, certainly in the UK context, about DVA in same sex relationships to warrant a wholesale rejection of feminist approaches to understanding it. Second, relationships that become violent and/or abusive, regardless of gender or sexuality, mainly start out consensually and motivated by love or, as with the case of arranged marriages, motivated by positive feelings and hopes for love between partners. In this chapter we explore the ways that love, as expressed and interpreted by abusive partners and victims/survivors, can maintain abusive relationships....

  7. SIX Barriers to help-seeking: the gap of trust
    (pp. 157-194)

    In this chapter we discuss the barriers to help-seeking experienced by those we interviewed who were in abusive same sex relationships and explore differences and similarities that exist across sexuality and gender with regard to help-seeking. In doing so, we build on the work done in North America and Australia on the help-seeking process by victims/survivors of DVA to achieve two main aims. The first is to draw attention to the particular ways that living in a heterosexist and homophobic society (see Chapter Three) results in specific barriers to help-seeking for those in same sex relationships. These barriers act at...

  8. SEVEN Key findings and implications for practice
    (pp. 195-216)

    In this book we set out to address the following questions:

    What is domestic violence and abuse in the context of same sex relationships?

    Are the domestic violence and abuse experiences of lesbians and gay men similar and/or different to those in heterosexual relationships?

    What about gender if individuals are the same sex?

    What has love got to do with it?

    In this concluding chapter we revisit our main findings and themes and discuss how they can help in developing best practice in the provision of services for those experiencing DVA in both same-sex and heterosexual relationships. Some of our...