Youth intimate partner violence: barriers and bridges during the ending process

Author: Sibel Korkmaz1
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  • 1 Stockholm University, Sweden
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A substantial body of existing research offers valuable knowledge about how victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) manage to leave abusive partners. To date, however, such studies have focused on adult women. The present article focuses on abusive youth relationships and how they end, adopting an intersectional approach to place analytic focus on youth, gender and sexuality as societal positions. The data consist of in-depth ‘teller-focused’ interviews with 18 IPV victims aged 17–23 in Sweden. The theory-driven analysis brings to the fore a multilevel Ending Process presenting ‘barriers’ and ‘bridges’ on three levels: the societal, the social and the individual. Societal norms, social arenas and individual factors are all shown to affect youth victimisation as well as the relationship ending process. Gender norms seem to be key in understanding IPV among young women, as they appear to present a challenge to ending abusive relationships. It is important to acknowledge violence in youth intimate relationships and to consider the whole of a young person’s experience of IPV. Researchers, practitioners and policymakers need to be sensitive to how different societal positions interact and affect youth victimisation and young people’s ability to end abusive relationships.

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