Beyond Geographical boundaries: the covert role of mobile phone in maintaining power and coercive control in the domestic abuse of women

Conference presentation


Havard, T. (2019). Beyond Geographical boundaries: the covert role of mobile phone in maintaining power and coercive control in the domestic abuse of women. European Conference of Domestic Violence. University of Porto, Porto, Portugal 05 - 09 Sep 2017
AuthorsHavard, T.
TypeConference presentation
Abstract

Introduction.
In the late 2000s smart phones became more readily available and year on year there has been an increase in mobile phone ownership worldwide with the number of mobile phone users expected to pass the 5 billion mark in 2019. However, little is known about the role of mobile phones in the coercive control of women by their current or former abusive male partners, including the impact of this on female survivors.
Methods
Semi structured interviews were conducted with adult women survivors of domestic abuse who were resident at refuges at the time of data collection. Grounded theory was used to analyse the data and see what themes emerged.
Results
Results showed that mobile phones are routinely integrated into the coercive control of adult women. Mobile phones offer perpetrators additional opportunities to constantly monitor and control their female partners irrespective of geographical proximity. This 24/7 surveillance means that perpetrators are able to create a sense of omnipotence such that women survivors of domestic abuse believe they are being watched even when they are not. This has brought with it a change in the power dynamics such that women survivors change and regulate their own behaviour and behave in ways they believe their (ex) partners will approve of.
Conclusion
Traditional structural explanations of power and the role of patriarchy in abusive relationships are important, but too simplistic to explain the power dynamics in contemporary abusive relationships. Rather post-structural explanations of power, namely the work of Foucault, should be viewed alongside structural accounts to understand the power dynamics of abusive relationships within the context of mobile phones.

Year2019
Accepted author manuscript
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Deposited24 Oct 2019
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https://openresearch.lsbu.ac.uk/item/880xv

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