Rationalised violence in intimate partnership
Institute of Sociology and Social Policy University of Tartu Tartu, Estonia
The current paper analyses the narratives of women´s experiences of intimate partnership violence (IPV) in Estonia. Women´s constructions of the meaning, nature, and effects of violence are in focus. During the Daphne project GVEI 12 in-depth qualitative interviews were carried out with women who have suffered from IPV.
Women in our sample had the targets of intimate terrorism and violent resistance (see Johnson, 2008). The coercive control committed by husband or cohabitant plaid the main role in women´s everyday life. The control together with physical and psychological aggression shaped not only women´s behaviour but also their ways of interpretation of violence. It appeared from interviews that women tended to deny or minimize the seriousness of violent incidents and effects. In addition, some women use mild terms reflecting partner´s violence toward them (i.e. cruelty, punishment). Such a way of rewording may decrease the possibility of intervention because the description is for a listener "not alarming" and gives wrong impression. The women´s excuses and justifications of partner´s aggression are also discussed.
That kind of denial, diminishing and rationalisation of violence can be considered as acquired coping strategy of women in the painful and hopeless situation. In fact, women´s attempts to "forget" or rationalize violence are similar to violent partners one; however, the objectives are different. The reasons of justification and rationalisation of violence by both parties of IPV are also argued in current paper.