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Free Content Interpersonal violence and abuse in young people’s relationships in five European countries: online and offline normalisation of heteronormativity

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Qualitative interviews with 91 young people aged 13‐18 in Bulgaria, Cyprus, England, Italy and Norway explored their experiences of intimate partner violence and abuse (IPVA). Some young women experienced extensive offline sexual pressure and young women were substantially more negatively affected by IPVA than young men. The data revealed that online space has created new mechanisms of control and surveillance that can intensify the impact of offline abuse. Analysing the data in the light of existing theories of cultural violence and coercive control, we explore both the normalising influence of prevailing heteronormative models of femininity and masculinity as well as young people’s agency to resist such normalisation.

Key messages

Sometimes young people who experience and perpetrate IPVA understand this as normal gendered behaviour.

The normalisation of abuse is further perpetuated when young people equate control to love, care and protection.

Online space provides new patriarchal platforms for the extending the scope and regularity of monitoring and emotional abuse.
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Keywords: cultural violence; heteronormativity; intimate partner violence; online violence; young people

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 June 2018

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Gender-Based Violence (JGBV), is the first international journal based in Europe to show case the work of scholars across disciplinary and topic boundaries, and from a range of methodologies.

    The journal acknowledges both the breadth of gender-based violence (GBV) and its links to gendered inequalities. It aims to continue to document the voices and experiences of victims and survivors of GBV, to publish work regarding those who perpetrate GBV and of the varied and complex social structures, inequalities and gender norms through which GBV is produced and sustained. The journal recognises the intersection of gender with other identities and power relations, such as ethnicity, nationality, sexuality, faith, disability and economic status.

    JGBV will publish high quality papers that contribute to understanding of GBV, policy, and/or activism, on sexual violence, domestic abuse, ‘honour’-based violence, prostitution, trafficking and/or reproductive violence and abuse in a wide range of intimate, familial, community and societal contexts.

    The editors invite interest from scholars working across the social sciences and related fields including social policy, sociology, politics, criminology, law, social psychology, development and economics, as well as disciplines allied to medicine, health and wellbeing.

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