Love, Fear And Coercive Control. A Theoretical Analysis of the Literature into Why Women Return to Abusive Relationships
(2015) Love, Fear And Coercive Control. A Theoretical Analysis of the Literature into Why Women Return to Abusive Relationships, no. 44.
Domestic abuse is a growing area of social science research with roots not only in sociology and psychology but also in philosophy and history. Research into the phenomenon of domestic abuse is varied and wide-spread providing extensive literature into reasons as to why it occurs and why women stay in abusive relationships. It also provides literature into same sex couple abuse and cases of women initiating the violence against their male counterparts. Domestic abuse literature tends to fall into either feminist theorising or family violence theorising each providing indication of what the general opinion of the researcher is. It is from this far-reaching research that it can be found that as many as one in four women will experience some form of violence at some point in their lives whether this is physical violence in their relationship or simply a continual stream of negative comments and emotional abuse from someone as close to them as a partner or family member. This research aims to discover a theory as to why women return to abusive relationships once they have left the abusive partner. This research report will provide an in-depth critical analysis of the current literature while drawing on theories from the sociologies of love and fear to provide an analysis of the potential reasons for a woman to return to an abusive relationship. The report will discuss the notions of traumatic attachment, social entrapment, learned helplessness and coercive control all of which can have an effect on a woman's perceived ability to leave an abusive partner and stay away from the violent situation. Key Terms Domestic abuse, feminist theory, family violence, sociology of love, sociology of fear, traumatic attachment, social entrapment, learned helplessness, coercive control, intimate terrorism