Gender Inequality and Patterns of Abuse Post Leaving
Journal of Family Violence
Drawing on Connell’s (Gender and power: Society, the person and sexual politics. California: Stanford University Press, 1987; Masculinities. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1995) model of gender relations, this paper examines patterns of intimate partner violence among women who have recently left an abusive partner. In so doing, we attempt to better understand the social structural factors that shape the relations of power and control in intimate violent heterosexual unions. The data come from the first wave of a longitudinal prospective survey of 309 women who had left an abusive partner in the previous 3 years. Our data suggest that structured relations of inequality, namely relations of production, power and cathexis, shape women’s risk of abuse and harassment after leaving, and do so in ways that shape relations of coercive control. These results have implications for understanding the social context within which male violence against women occurs, and how this context constrains and/or enables women’s strategies for leaving and safety.