(Updated) Model of Systemic Relational Violence
So in the past few years, during my research on differential criminogenic traits and female criminality, I have come across a recurring theme I cannot ignore. It involves a massive presence of violent and controlling relationships in the personal lives of criminal justice involved women. My interpretation of the data has led me to the development of the Model of Systemic Relational Violence to try to explain the phenomenon of domestic violence from a new perspective. I felt the need to expand the conversation in this way because some of the most widely recognized models used to explain domestic violence suggest the experience to be a cycle (tension building, explosion, and honeymoon phase, then repeat). In the cyclical model there are periods (the honeymoon phase) where there’s an absence of violence in the relationship. These perspectives also tend to focus on the physical acts as the primary mechanism(s) of violence in the relationship.
This is not what I have been seeing in my data. What I’m seeing is a constant, although fluctuating, expression of violence through emotional, psychological, and behavioral dominance and control where compliance is enforced through discreet incidents of physical assault and other more traditional markers of intimate partner abuse. What I am seeing is that what we have been framing, and what our societal interventions are set up to address, is just the tip of the iceberg.
I’m excited about this concept and I believe this could become a tool to help us further understand not only the experiences of relational violence, but also the importance of holistic intervention. I’m currently working to refine and validate the model and I’ll post updates as it’s development progresses.