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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences eTheses
Title: Violence and Abuse in Intimate Dating Relationships: A Study of Young People's Attitudes, Perceptions and Experiences
Author(s): Macnab, Morven
Supervisor(s): Malloch, Margaret
Keywords: dating violence
teen violence
domestic abuse
domestic violence
feminist research
violence against women
Issue Date: 30-Mar-2010
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: ABSTRACT Since the issue of dating violence emerged onto the research agenda in the 1980s, researchers have focused upon measuring the prevalence of physical violence occurring in young people’s intimate relationships, using quantitative methods. Surveys, which have limited young people’s reporting to stating whether or not they have perpetrated or sustained any of a fixed range of predetermined violent acts, have formed the dominant methodological approach. In the main, dating violence studies have focused on researching university students in the United States of America, and young people not attending American universities are an under-researched population in the dating violence literature. The dearth of qualitative approaches to past studies of dating violence has meant that young people’s own accounts of their experiences, attitudes and perceptions of dating violence and abuse have been afforded minimal focus. Feminist theoretical approaches to dating violence research are now emerging, contributing a valuable gendered analysis of the issues. Through qualitative interviews with forty five young people aged 16-21 (23 men and 22 women), recruited primarily from a Further Education college and an organisation working with young people not in education, employment or training, this thesis explores young people’s attitudes, perceptions and experiences of violence and abuse in intimate dating relationships, through a feminist theoretical lens. The study is couched in a rich body of feminist empirical and theoretical literature, which conceptualises intimate partner violence as primarily an issue of men’s violence against women, perpetrated with the rationale of maintaining power and control. The impact that popular theoretical discourses of gender equality and female empowerment may have upon young people’s capacity to acknowledge ongoing gender inequalities is also considered in this thesis. The findings of the current research indicate that young people’s dating relationships (and experiences of heterosexuality in general) reflect ongoing gender inequalities which are influenced to a great extent by patriarchal modes of power and control. The accounts of young men and women in this study established dating relationships as sites of imbalanced gender power, with many modes of men’s power control, surveillance and monitoring of their girlfriends described as ‘normal’ and acceptable. There was a widespread perception among the participants that dating violence is an issue of ‘mutual combat’ where women are just as likely as men to be perpetrators, even though their experiences of dating violence largely reflected the pattern of female victims and male perpetrators. In regard to violence against women by men, many of the participants perceived men’s violence to be understandable in the face of women’s provocation, particularly in cases where women are perceived to be ‘cheating’. For a significant minority of young people, intimate relationships are sites of violence and abuse, with women disproportionately the victims. The findings from this study indicate a lack of awareness of the avenues of support that can be accessed by young people experiencing dating violence and abuse. The findings also highlight a requirement for direct educative strategies to challenge some young people’s support for men’s violence against women.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: School of Applied Social Science

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