A Qualitative Analysis of Intimate Partner Violence

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Virginia Tech

The purpose of this study was to explore women's dual experiences of IPV to examine whether their motivations fit the current framework on four types of intimate partner violence (IPV) in light of Johnson's typology, which includes: violent resistance (VR), situational couple violence (SCV), mutual violent combat (MVC), and intimate terrorism (IT) (Kelly and Johnson 2008). I applied these types of IPV to describe women's physical aggression, control, and emotional responses experienced and performed during IPV. Johnson's typology classified six of 10 participant experiences; to describe the remaining four, I applied blended types of IPV. Findings in this study indicated that VR and SCV overlooked women's use of controlling physical aggression; this study identified alternative concepts and additional dimensions of control and resistance, and introduced tempered violence resistance (TVR), a new IPV type to describe women's use of controlling physical aggression during protective violence.

Correspondingly, findings also indicated that interpretations of physical aggression and control in MVC and IT did not consider wide-ranging degrees of control such as self-control, situational control, and partner control. Hence, distinctions between SCV or MVC and MVC or IT were limited by vague interpretations of control. Furthermore, VR, MVC, and IT did not fully describe women's emotional responses. These types of violence focused solely on the context of physical aggression and control, which minimized perceptions of conflict and omitted reported samples of motivations. Forthcoming studies applying Johnson's typology should include external contexts of relationship conflict and consider multiple types control and dimensions of resistance.

mutual violent combat, situational couple violence, violent resistance, intimate terrorism, female perpetrators, intimate partner violence