• Signe Marie Dam
  • Emilie Rasmussen
4. semester, Sociologi (cand.scient.soc), Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
Since 2002 the Danish Government have had a political focus on violence against women and intimate partner violence (IPV). The recent year the Danish medias and non-governmental organizations have increased their focus on intimate partner violence and intimate partner homicide on women (IPH). This is especially due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). In 2020 Danner, a Danish non-governmental organization, has launched a campaign “Stop Femicide”. This campaign aims to put a political pressure on the Danish Government and authorities to write a policy to prevent IPV and IPH. Danner emphasize that the policy must take into account that IPV and IPH is not only a legal problem, but also a cultural, social and health problem. This master thesis in sociology is written in support of that.

This master thesis aims to answer the research question of how female victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) experience to seek and receive formal help from authorities. Furthermore, how does their experiences affect their meaning-making and opportunities to leave their abusive partner. To explore this, we have constructed a theoretical perspective on female victims of IPV. This perspective includes Erving Goffman’s theory of Stigma, Thomas J. Scheff’s theory of Social Bonds and Shame and Nils Christie's theory of The Ideal Victim. This has provided us with an understanding of the difficulties and the obstacles female victims of IPV must overcome in order to seek and receive formal help. Moreover, the theory of Stigma, Shame and victimization is used to unfold and conceptualize the meaning-making of staying in an abusive relationship and their opportunities to leave their abusive partner. Our application of our theoretical perspective has given us an overall interactionist approach with a focus on social interaction between the victims and authorities, and the social discourse on female victim of IPV. The method used to explore female victims of IPV’s experiences of seeking and receiving formal help is semi-structured interview combined with the narrative interview. We have conducted eight interviews with female victims of IPV. In addition to these interviews we have conducted four semi-structured interviews with experts from the Danish Police, two Women’s Shelters and the non-governmental organization Lev Uden Vold (Live Without Violence).

This study concludes that the female victims of IPV experiences difficulties seeking help due to the social discourse that stigmatize the women as weak-willed and blame them for violence. Shame plays a significant role in relation to this because it reinforces the fear of being shamed by others. When the female victims of IPV overcome the obstacles of seeking help, they will often be met by further obstacles to receive formal help by the authorities. Likewise, this includes being shamed, stigmatization, victimization and victim-blaming. These obstacles will most often occur if the authorities lack knowledge about IPV. Negative response from authorities can increase the feeling of shame of the female victims of IPV. As a consequence, female victims of IPV are more likely to withdraw from the authorities, which reduces their chances to leave their abusive partner. Conclusively their experiences of seeking and receiving formal help affect their meaning-making of the violent relationship and their construction of identity related to this. Meaning-making is essential for the women's healing process and understanding of their life course. We conclude that it is important that authorities have the female victims of IPV’s process of meaning-making in mind to provide them with the right formal help. For this knowledge about IPV is crucial.
Udgivelsesdato4 aug. 2020
Antal sider96
Ekstern samarbejdspartnerDanner
Seniorkonsulent Katja Gregers Brock kgb@danner.dk
ID: 338024951