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Pushing Back From Domestic Violence

Pushing Back From Domestic ViolenceA woman’s response to an abusive relationship is often contingent on her position within family and community. That insight comes from research into how women cope when leaving a violent relationship is not an option.

“Women’s resistance is often conceptualized only as exit, which is problematic,” said study author Stephanie Paterson, Ph.D., of Concordia University and the Centre for Research in Human Development in Montreal.

“We know that violence increases upon separation. Focusing on exit obscures the experiences of women who are unwilling and/or unable to leave,” said Paterson.

Paterson’s study found that, contrary to popular theory, wealth is not a guaranteed escape from an abusive relationship. It’s just one of many factors that can help a woman resist violence. Those factors can be tangible, such as access to a caring personal network.

They can be intangible, such as her partner’s perception of her resources, and his perception of her role within the family. If a partner perceives a woman as being in a strong position to resist, he’s more likely to reconsider being violent towards her.

Paterson’s study examines the different options faced by battered women – from placating an abuser to threatening to exit – and how these options can influence subsequent violence.

The notion that women have some bargaining power in cases of domestic abuse, she argues, forces society to reconsider the dynamics of violence and expands the options for victims of such abuse.

For women’s negotiation tactics to be effective, however, much has to change in society at both the household and public policy levels.

“Not only must we provide women with adequate material resources,” Paterson said, “we must also address and challenge the origins of authority within families.”

“Enabling resistance is not about making women accountable, but rather challenging the state to create systems in which effective resistance is possible,” she said. “Only then will violence against women cease.”

The study is published in the journal Review of Radical Political Economics.

Source: Concordia University

Pushing Back From Domestic Violence

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Pushing Back From Domestic Violence. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 24, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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