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Why women stay: A theoretical examination of rational choice and moral reasoning in the context of intimate partner violence

journal contribution
posted on 2018-11-20, 00:00 authored by Silke Meyer
Public attitudes towards intimate partner violence (IPV) have shifted from viewing IPV as a tolerable, private matter to viewing it as a matter of public concern that should be dealt with as a crime. Despite this major shift in social attitudes towards IPV over the last three decades, there seems to be a lack of understanding of why many women stay, at least initially, when facing severe forms of IPV. Using data from face-to-face interviews conducted with 29 women in Southeast Queensland who experienced severe forms of IPV over an extended period of time, this paper explores the rationale behind the (initial) decision to stay with an abusive partner. While rational decision making has predominantly been seen as a male trait, this paper criticizes this underlying assumption, using a feminist framework of moral reasoning. Findings presented in this paper identify the rationale behind victims’ decisions to stay and offer an advanced understanding of moral reasoning through a gendered lens in the context of IPV. Understanding why women stay, at least initially, is the first crucial step in ensuring adequate support for women on their journey towards the ultimate goal of a violence-free life.

History

Volume

45

Issue

2

Start Page

179

End Page

193

Number of Pages

15

eISSN

1837-9273

ISSN

0004-8658

Publisher

Sage Publications Ltd.

Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • No

Cultural Warning

This research output may contain the names and images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now deceased. We apologize for any distress that may occur.

External Author Affiliations

University of Queensland

Era Eligible

  • Yes

Journal

Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology

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