On a glorious spring day, discussing Domestic Violence in North London might have been depressing – but not so! Thanks to Damian presenting a paper on attachment styles and the propensity for violence (Bartholomew, K. 2001) we had a very thought-provoking afternoon. One thing that stayed with me was that couples where there is violence experience a You and Me rather than a We, though sometimes one person is so subsumed by the other they can look like a We. I also liked that the research seems to show that couples in the most dysfunctional relationships can seem quite “stable” – something I will be quick to point out if my friends come over smug-married!
It was also interesting to think about how this kind of analysis from a psycho-analytic point of view fits with Feminist and GSD analyses. Most research in the field has been done with hetero couples so how does internalised homophobia affect gay relationships around violence? And same-sex couples don’t necessarily come from a power & control model (research in Vancouver), whereas patriarchy is still endemic in hetero relationships. In Damian’s own study of gay men and domestic violence, it turned out that the person with the least instrumental power was more likely to be the abuser.
So, thanks for a very interesting afternoon and to everyone who came. And next time (14 June) we’ll be picking up on the theme of internalised homophobia and how that gets acted out in couples.