This article offers a qualitative, institutional analysis of the dynamics of revictimization as the accumulation of disadvantages over time and across different institutional contexts, and its multiple gender dimensions. It draws on 37 qualitative interviews with victims of intimate partner violence, detailing the institutional causal pathways to victimization and revictimization over the life course, through the in-debth analysis of one case. Drawing on the vulnerability approach, developed by Martha Albertson Fineman, the analysis demonstrates how victimization and revictimization have been facilitated, tolerated, and even produced by particular institutional contexts, illustrating how the ‘risk of revictimization’ is not a characteristic of the individual, nor is it destiny. The article contributes to a constructive social science, elucidating how victimization is contingent on social and institutional contexts, and how at several critical points, better institutions and better institutional responses to particular events might have prevented or interrupted the dynamics of accumulating victimization. Focusing on embodied, gendered subjects and the role of institutions in producing as well as remedying inequalities has far reaching implications for research and prevention of violence. In contrast to a risk-factor approach targeting particular groups and individuals, a vulnerability analysis calls for a responsive state and universal institutional solutions.
domestic violence, gender, intimate partner violence, institution, prevention, revictimisation
Read/cite this work
Bjørnholt, Margunn (2019). The social dynamics of revictimization and intimate partner violence: an embodied, gendered, institutional and life course perspective (PDF). Nordic Journal of Criminology, 20(1), 90–110. doi: 10.1080/14043858.2019.1568103