"You have to bow right here": heteronormative scripts and intimate partner violence in women

SOURCE: Culture, Health & Sexuality
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
TITLE AUTHOR(S): N.Sanger, I.Lynch
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 9827
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/10989

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Intimate partner violence is increasingly recognised as occurring not only between heterosexual partners but also in same-sex relationships. Heterogendered relationship norms have been identified as intersecting with other social inequalities to create and sustain power differentials between partners 'and fuel violence' yet remain largely unexplored in relation to women's same-sex relationships. Building on existing feminist research we explore the use of gendered scripts in South African lesbian and bisexual women's accounts of relationship norms and practices. We apply a feminist poststructuralist lens to focus-group discussion data to investigate how such scripts are drawn on to either uphold or challenge violent and coercive relationship practices. The findings illustrate the salience of heterogendered norms and demonstrate how violent practices become possible in contexts of deepening socioeconomic impoverishment , such as in post-apartheid South Africa, where race, space, gender and sexuality are tied to attempts at reclaiming respectable personhood. Efforts to dismantle inequitable gendered power relations and attendant violent practices require both macro-interventions aimed at shifting structural constraints on lesbian and bisexual women's agency, as well as micro-processes aimed at scripting equal power relations between partners as desirable.