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Ovesen, Nicole
Publications (2 of 2) Show all publications
Ovesen, N. (2023). Layers of Shame: The Impact of Shame in Lesbian and Queer Victim-Survivors' Accounts of Violence and Help-seeking. Journal of family Violence, Article ID s10896023006263.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Layers of Shame: The Impact of Shame in Lesbian and Queer Victim-Survivors' Accounts of Violence and Help-seeking
2023 (English)In: Journal of family Violence, ISSN 0885-7482, E-ISSN 1573-2851, article id s10896023006263Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Purpose The journey from shame to pride has been described as a founding and essential part of the modern LGBTQ movement. However, the tendency to treat shame as something that belongs to the past has been criticized by a number of queer theorists. The struggle to secure equal rights through normalization has also meant that certain topics that risk demonizing and stigmatizing LGBTQ people further have been neglected. Intimate partner violence (IPV) in queer relationships is one such topic. This paper explores a new perspective on queer shame through the topic of IPV in lesbian and queer relationships.

Methods Drawing on qualitative interviews with 25 people who have experienced violence in intimate lesbian/queer relationships in Sweden, this paper unpacks the concept of shame in empirical data to examine how shame operates on different levels when it comes to victimization and how it affects the help-seeking processes of such victim-survivors.

Results Many of the interviewees expressed that they continued to feel ashamed about their denial of violence or their own reactions to the abuse even years after the relationship had ended. An additional layer of shame and secrecy affected the violence and help-seeking processes for the interviewees' who lacked support from their social networks or who were not open about being in a queer relationship. The interviewees' accounts also contained strategies to resist and manage shame.

Conclusions The theoretical and empirical contributions of this paper sheds new light on how shame, victimization and queerness are entangled in the case of IPV.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2023
Shame, IPV, LGBTQ, Help-seeking, Violence, Victim-survivors, Queer (4-8 words)
National Category
Gender Studies Social Work
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-510967 (URN)10.1007/s10896-023-00626-3 (DOI)001053682400002 ()
Available from: 2023-09-06 Created: 2023-09-06 Last updated: 2023-09-14Bibliographically approved
Ovesen, N. (2021). Intimate Partner Violence and Help-Seeking in Lesbian and Queer Relationships: Challenging Recognition. (Doctoral dissertation). Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Intimate Partner Violence and Help-Seeking in Lesbian and Queer Relationships: Challenging Recognition
2021 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The topic of intimate partner violence (IPV) in lesbian and queer relationships continues to be under-researched in Sweden. This lack of knowledge and recognition can have severe consequences for the help-seeking of those who are not recognized as victims of IPV. This thesis aims to fill this knowledge gap by examining the help-seeking processes of lesbian and queer victim-survivors of IPV in Sweden. By drawing on qualitative interviews with 25 people who have experienced violence in intimate lesbian and/or queer relationships, the thesis examines how the interviewees made sense of the experiences of IPV, where they sought help and how they perceived the support they received. These findings contribute to our understanding of the challenges that recognition of IPV in queer and lesbian relationships entails. Many of the interviewees struggled to identify themselves as victims of IPV, as their experiences did not fit with the public stories of violence, which frame IPV as a heterosexual phenomenon and tend to emphasize physical violence. To understand the struggle for recognition, the thesis draws on the theoretical concept of slow violence from environmental studies, which calls attention to invisible and processual forms of violence that manifest over time. The help-seeking patterns of the interviewees were characterized by subtle, iterative and aborted attempts to gain support and included different informal and formal actors. The findings suggest that the help-seeking processes of victim-survivors often mirror the violence experienced, meaning that they are repeated and processual. Many interviewees initially sought support for other reasons than IPV. This indirect help-seeking suggests that help-providers need to be able to recognize potential victims. Failed help-seeking encounters caused by institutionalized heteronormative values were often characterized by inadvertent misrecognition. This included ignoring or minimizing signs of abuse, leading to failed or lack of interventions. To understand the specific conditions for help-seeking in the Swedish context, ideals around progress, family-making and community support are discussed. This includes specifically the social and legal vulnerability which shape both violence and help-seeking in lesbian and queer families. Finally, the ideal of the singular LGBTQ community as a ready resource for support is challenged.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2021. p. 256
Uppsala Interdisciplinary Gender Studies ; 1
LGBTQ, IPV, DV, Help-seeking, Lesbian and Queer, Slow Violence, Sweden, Qualitative Interviews, Temporalities, Community
National Category
Gender Studies
Research subject
Gender Studies
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-443393 (URN)978-91-513-1227-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2021-09-10, Humanistiska Teatern, Engelska Parken, Thunbergsvägen 3C, Uppsala, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2021-08-12 Created: 2021-05-29 Last updated: 2023-03-13

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