Leaving violent men: A study of women’s experiences of separation in Victoria, Australia

Despite decades of feminist efforts to educate the community about, and improve responses to, domestic violence, public attitudes towards domestic violence continue to misunderstand women’s experiences of violence. Underlying such responses is the stock standard question, ‘Why doesn’t she leave?’ Th...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:The Australian and New Zealand journal of criminology
Main Author: Bruton, Crystal (Author)
Other Authors: Tyson, Danielle (Author)
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
Published: 2018
In:The Australian and New Zealand journal of criminology
Year: 2018, Volume: 51, Issue: 3, Pages: 339-354
Online Access: Volltext (Resolving-System)
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Summary:Despite decades of feminist efforts to educate the community about, and improve responses to, domestic violence, public attitudes towards domestic violence continue to misunderstand women’s experiences of violence. Underlying such responses is the stock standard question, ‘Why doesn’t she leave?’ This question points to a lack of understanding about the impacts and threat of violence from an abusive partner on women’s decisions to leave the relationship. Moreover, it places sole responsibility for ending the relationship squarely upon women, assuming women are presented with numerous opportunities to leave a violent relationship and erroneously assumes the violence will cease once they do leave. This study explores women’s experiences of separating from an abusive, male partner through women’s narratives (n = 12) in Victoria, Australia. Findings reveal that fear was a complex influencing factor impacting upon women’s decision-making throughout the leaving process. The findings show that women seek to exercise agency within the context of their abusers’ coercively controlling tactics by strategically attempting to manage the constraints placed on their decision-making and partner’s repeated attempts to reassert dominance and control.
ISSN:1837-9273
DOI:10.1177/0004865817746711