The Dark Side of Courtship: Physical and Sexual Aggression
Publication Year: 2000
The negative interactions that take place between dating and courting partners, most notably physical aggression and sexual exploitation, are explored in this volume. The authors blend qualitative interviews with current research findings.
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
- Chapter 1: “I Never Thought it Would Happen to Me”: The Dark Side of Romance
- The Literature on Physical and Sexual Aggression in Courtship
- The Prevalence of Courtship Aggression
- The Correlates of Courtship Aggression
- The Impact of Courtship Aggression
- Overview of This Volume
- Chapter 2: A Framework for Understanding Physical and Sexual Aggression in Courtship
- Building a Framework
- Feminist Perspectives
- Relational Perspectives
- Social Constructivist and Discourse Contributions
- The Discourse of Courtship
- The Discourse of Aggression
- Summary and Conceptual Model
- Choosing a Method and an Analysis Strategy for the Study of the Dark Side of Courtship
- Chapter 3: “I Wouldn't Hurt You If I Didn't Love You So Much”: The Dynamics of Physical Aggression
- The Physical Aggression Experiences
- The Relational Dynamics of Physical Aggression
- Catalysts to Violence
- Communication Dynamics
- Responding to His Aggression
- The Aftermath of Aggression
- The Dynamics of Control
- Domination of an Argument
- Domination of the Woman and the Relationship
- Keeping Her in the Relationship
- Ownership and Extreme Control of Her Persona
- Summary of the Dynamics of Control
- Constructing Meaning around the Experience of Physical Aggression
- Disbelief and Confusion
- Excusing the Aggressor
- The Dynamics of Blaming the Victim
- Reframing the Aggression and Leaving the Relationship
- A Final Note
- Chapter 4: “I Never Called it Rape”: Sexual Aggression in Dating Relationships
- The Sexual Aggression Experiences
- Age and Level of Sexual Experience
- Relationship Context
- The Interplay of Sexual and Physical Aggression
- The Relational Dynamics of Sexual Aggression
- Catalysts to Aggression
- The Dynamics of the Sexually Aggressive Actions
- Responses of Victims
- Responses of Perpetrators
- The Dynamics of Control
- Control and the Interplay of Physical and Sexual Force
- Possession and Ownership
- Power Motivations
- Relationship Fraud
- Summary of the Dynamics of Control
- “Constructing Meaning” around the Experience of Sexual Aggression
- Excusing and Forgiving the Aggressor
- The Dynamics of Blaming the Victim
- Reframing the Aggression: Holding the Aggressor Accountable
- A Final Note
- Chapter 5: Conclusions and Implications for Intervention
- Conclusions about Aggression in Courtship
- Most Young Women Believe Aggression Will Never Happen in Their Relationships
- Control is a Key Dynamic in Both Physical and Sexual Aggression
- Aggression Intersects with Interpersonal Communication on Multiple Levels
- Victims of Physical and Sexual Aggression are Silenced in Multiple Ways
- A Sense of Betrayal and Self-Blame are Pervasive Effects of Experiencing Aggression
- Women Who Survive Physical and Sexual Aggression Display Insight and Resiliency
- Implications for Intervention
- A Final Note of Thanks
Sage Series on Close Relationships[Page ii]
Clyde Hendrick, Ph.D., and Susan S. Hendrick, Ph.D.
In this series…
by Susan S. Hendrick and Clyde Hendrick
by Rodney M. Cate and Sally A. Lloyd
by Rosemary Blieszner and Rebecca G. Adams
TWO CAREERS / ONE FAMILY by Lucia Albino Gilbert
by Valerian J. Derlega, Sandra Metts, Sandra Petronio, and Stephen T. Margulis
by Susan Sprecher and Kathleen McKinney
by William R. Cupach and Sandra Metts
by Steve Duck
REMARRIED FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS
by Lawrence H. Ganong and Marilyn Coleman
by Daniel J. Canary, William R. Cupach, and Susan J. Messman
RELATIONSHIPS IN CHRONIC ILLNESS AND DISABILITY
by Renee F. Lyons, Michael J. L. Sullivan, and Paul G. Ritvo with James C. Coyne
by Beverley Fehr
SOCIAL SUPPORT IN COUPLES
by Carolyn E. Cutrona
by Judith Feeney and Patricia Noller
GENDER AND CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS
by Barbara A. Winstead, Valerian J. Derlega, and Suzanna Rose
by Janice M. Steil
by Pamela C. Regan and Ellen Berscheid
THE DARK SIDE OF COURTSHIP
by Sally A. Lloyd and Beth C. Emery
Copyright © 2000 by Sage Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Printed in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Lloyd, Sally A.
The dark side of courtship: Physical and sexual agression / by Sally A. Lloyd, Beth C. Emery.
p. cm. — (Sage series on close relationships)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-8039-7063-3 (cloth: acid-free paper)
ISBN 0-8039-7064-1 (pbk: acid-free paper)
1. Dating violence. 2. Courtship. I. Emery, Beth C. II. Title. III. Series.
HQ801.83 .L56 2000
00 01 02 03 04 05 06 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Acquiring Editor: Jim Brace-Thompson
Editorial Assistant: Anna Howland
Production Editor: Diana E. Axelsen
Editorial Assistant: Victoria Cheng
Typesetter: Christina M. Hill
Series Editors' Introduction[Page ix]
When we first began our work on love attitudes more than a decade ago, we did not know what to call our research area. In some ways, it represented an extension of earlier work in interpersonal attraction. Most of our scholarly models were psychologists (although sociologists had long been deeply involved in the areas of courtship and marriage), yet we sometimes felt as if our work had no professional “home.” That has all changed. Our research not only has a home but also has an extended family, and the family is composed of relationships researchers. During the past decade, the discipline of close relationships (also called personal relationships and intimate relationships) has emerged, developed, and flourished.
Two aspects of close relationships research should be noted. The first is its rapid growth, resulting in numerous books, journals, handbooks, book series, and professional organizations. As fast as the field grows, the demand for even more research and knowledge seems to be ever increasing. Questions about close personal relationships still far exceed answers. The second noteworthy aspect of the new discipline of close relationships is its interdisciplinary nature. The field owes its vitality to scholars from communications, family studies and human development, psychology (clinical, counseling, developmental, social), and sociology, as well as other disciplines such as nursing and social work. It is this interdisciplinary wellspring that gives close [Page x]relationships research its diversity and richness, qualities that we hope to achieve in the current series.
The Sage Series on Close Relationships is designed to acquaint diverse readers with the most up-to-date information about various topics in close relationships theory and research. Each volume in the series covers a particular topic or theme in one area of close relationships. Each book reviews the particular topic area, describes contemporary research in the area (including the authors' own work, where appropriate), and offers some suggestions for interesting research questions and/or real-world applications related to the topic. The volumes are designed to be appropriate for students and professionals in communication, family studies, psychology, sociology, and social work, among others. A basic assumption of the series is that the broad panorama of close relationships can best be portrayed by authors from multiple disciplines, so that the series cannot be “captured” by any single disciplinary bias.
Although our series has included books concerned with gender, conflict, and communication, the current volume very compellingly combines all three topics. In The Dark Side of Courtship: Physical and Sexual Aggression, Sally Lloyd and Beth Emery teach us more than we ever wanted to know about physical and sexual aggression in romantic relationships.
After outlining some of the relevant theory on relational aggression and building a framework influenced by feminist, relational, and social constructivist and discourse perspectives, the authors reveal the realities of physical and sexual aggression in relationships through women's own words. They place these words squarely within the framework of society's discourse about women, men, and relationships, reaffirming the power of words to shape our lives.
The authors exercise their empirical skills and yet somehow transcend them as they bring to the reader the real words and real stories of real women. The resulting narrative is a powerful and chilling read.Series Editors
During our work on this project over a number of years, we have come to understand and value the true meaning of the words “collaboration” and “synergy.” In academia today, the emphasis is on individually produced works and individual achievement. We continually ask “why?” because we both feel strongly that our best writing and thinking occurs when we work together. We are so fortunate to have discovered each other as synergistic research partners and close friends. Our styles are highly compatible. We often speak with a single voice yet maintain complementary areas of difference and strengths. By the time we finished researching and writing together for this project, we often could not tell who started and who finished an idea, thought, or sentence. It has been a delightful, exhilarating, and rewarding process.
We express our gratitude to many others who supported this work. Susan and Clyde Hendrick, the series editors, provided excellent feedback and critique of the manuscript and were incredibly encouraging over the extended time it took us to complete this volume. Terry Hendrix at Sage was equally patient and supportive. Miami University and the Human Sciences Department at Middle Tennessee State University were important players in the process as well, and we are grateful for the research leaves (we were able to arrange them simultaneously!) that provided the necessary time to complete this project. We also recognize the fine work and dedication of [Page xii]Anne Castleton, Wendy Farmer, Michelle Herring, Robin Hughes, and Penny Reese, who assisted us in interviewing and transcribing. In addition, thanks go to Kim Kompel and Regina Adams, who spent many hours coding and providing valuable insights.
We do need to go back further in time in expressing our thanks. Early in our careers, we had the good fortune to work with Rodney Cate, June Henton, Scott Christopher, and Jim Koval. Our collaboration with them planted the seeds for our current emphasis on the interplay of romance, violence, and sexuality. Over the years, their continued support has been invaluable. Simultaneously, our involvement in the Feminism and Family Studies section of the National Council on Family Relations has provided us with a stimulating forum within which to integrate our disciplinary training with feminist frameworks. We are eternally grateful to our many feminist friends and colleagues who have enriched our work in untold ways.
We also must express our thanks to the three terrific people with whom we share our lives and homes, Charles Emery, Andrew Wong, and Alexander Lloyd Wong. We benefited greatly from their patience, understanding, and reading and discussion of our work. Their love and emotional support constituted a major commitment to this project!
Finally, our deepest gratitude goes to the 40 young women who shared their stories with us. Their courage has been our inspiration and the driving force behind this project. We are so very thankful for their willingness to be interviewed, for their passionate retelling of harrowing events, and for their deep desire to contribute to the prevention of physical and sexual violence against women. They asked us to tell their stories in the hope that other women would not have to experience the abuse that they did. We honor their request, in part, with this work. This book is dedicated to them.
Appendix A: Physical Aggression Interview Protocol[Page 143]
- Tell me a little about your relationship with ____.
Where did you meet?
Are you still together? If not, when did the relationship end?
How long did you date (or have you been dating)?
What first attracted you to ____?
- Now I am going to ask you about physical aggression in this relationship. First, who usually started it when hitting occurred?
Tell me how many times your partner did each of the following during your relationship:
- Threatened to hit or throw something at you
- Threw or smashed or kicked something
- Threw something at you
- Pushed, grabbed, or shoved you
- Slapped you on the face
- Slapped you on the body
- Kicked, bit, or hit with a fist [Page 144]
- Hit or tried to hit you with an object
- Choked you
- Beat you up
- Threatened you with, or used, a knife or gun
Now, please tell me how often you did each of the following: (repeat behaviors listed above)
Did any of these behaviors (see above) ever happen when you were growing up? That is, did your mom or dad ever hit you, slap you, kick, hit with an object, etc.? (please be specific)
Did your mom or dad ever act this way to one of your brothers or sisters?
Did your mom and dad ever act aggressively toward one another?
How about brothers and sisters?
- Please describe to me the first time aggression occurred in your relationship. Tell me what led up to the violence, how you reacted, and what happened afterward. (Probe for detail here.)
- Now please describe the most recent incident of aggression.
- When ____ hit you, what do you think he hoped to accomplish? In other words, why did he hit you?
- When you hit ____, what did you hope to accomplish? Why did you hit him?
Or—Why didn't you ever hit ____ back?
- In this relationship, how did you go about getting what you wanted from ____? Did you talk, cry, pout, discuss, or what?
- How does the fact that you were in a violent relationship affect you now? For example, does it make you scared of involvement? (Try not to lead the interviewee here.)
[Page 145]INTERVIEWERS: Thank them very much and reassure them that their information will be used to help other women who have had similar experiences and to hopefully prevent such things from happening to others! This research eventually will take the form of a book on “physical aggression in dating relationships.”
If anyone asks for help in dealing with her experiences, you may refer them to J, a counselor in the guidance center here on campus. If the respondent is not a student, refer her to ____ [a community mental health agency and a local shelter].[Page 146]
Appendix B: Sexual Aggression Interview Protocol[Page 147]
- You have just answered a survey that asked for a lot of detail about your experience with sexual aggression. I'm interested in your story of what happened. Tell me a little about your relationship with ____. Where did you meet? Did you date? If so, how long did you date (or have you been dating)? (How long ago did you break up?) What first attracted you to ____?
- Now, please describe to me the first time that sexual aggression occurred. I want to know the whole sequence of events. In other words, tell me what led up to it (what you were doing), how you reacted, and what happened afterward. PROBE QUESTIONS: Where did it happen? His or your place, car, dorm, etc. Were others around? What were you doing prior to the aggression? What did he do and/or say afterward?
- Did you tell anyone what happened (friend, parents, teacher, counselor, go to a rape crisis center)? What were their reactions?
- Did you see this coming (did you suspect that he would do this)? Were you surprised? Looking at it now, was there a pattern that led up to or something that triggered the aggression?[Page 148]
- When he assaulted you, what do you think he hoped to accomplish? (What made him have to use force or convince you?)
- (If appropriate) Tell me about the last incident of sexual aggression or violence.
- Sometimes we wonder how these types of behaviors can continue to occur, and I think that part of the reason is because of attitudes. We can and do rationalize a lot of things that happen to us. In that vein, I want you to think about the list of behaviors that I'm going to read and tell me if you think they could be justified in any of your relationships and under what conditions. And think about whether they could be justified on a broader level in our society (are there people out there who might say that under certain circumstances they could see how these things might happen?).
- Sexual contact by verbal coercion (talk you into it)
- Sexual contact by misuse of authority
- Sexual contact by threat
- Attempted intercourse by threat or force
- Attempted intercourse by alcohol or drugs
- Intercourse by verbal coercion
- Intercourse by misuse of authority
- Intercourse by alcohol or drugs
- Intercourse by threat or force
- Oral/anal penetration by threat or force
- Did any physical aggression occur in this relationship? In any other relationship? (If “yes,” repeat list of behaviors for each relationship—for “partner,” “you,” and “his parents.” Continue with questions through Number 11, except “most recent incidence of aggression.” If “no,” skip to Number 11.)
- I'm going to ask you some questions with regard to the physical aggression in your relationship. First, who usually started it when the hitting occurred?
- Tell me how many times your partner did each of the following during your relationship:
- [Page 149]
- Threatened to hit or throw something at you
- Threw or smashed or kicked something
- Threw something at you
- Pushed, grabbed, or shoved you
- Slapped you on the face
- Slapped you on the body
- Kicked, bit, or hit with a fist
- Hit or tried to hit you with an object
- Choked you
- Beat you up
- Threatened you with a gun or knife
- Used a gun or knife on you
Now tell me how often you did each of the following: (repeat behaviors)
- Did your parents ever do these things to each other? (repeat list, if necessary) Did your partner's parents ever do these things to each other? (repeat list, if necessary) Did your parents ever do these things to you or a sibling? (repeat list, if necessary) Did your partner's parents ever do these things to him or a sibling? (repeat list, if necessary)
- Please describe to me the first time physical aggression occurred in your relationship with ____. Tell me what led up to it, how you reacted, and what happened afterward.
- Did you see it coming? Was there a pattern that would lead up to the aggression or something that would trigger the violent episodes? Please describe the most recent incidence of physical aggression.
- When ____ hit you, what do you think he was hoping to accomplish? (Whichever is appropriate:) When you hit him, what were you trying to accomplish? Why didn't you hit him back?
- How does the fact that you experienced this sexual aggression affect you and how you deal with relationships now? (Also physical aggression, if applicable—Be sure they delineate between the effects as to whether they were physical or sexual outcomes.)[Page 150]
- Do you expect to experience these behaviors in other dating relationships? (Probe: Expectations for themselves and their own behavior in dating relationships—Are they different? How? Expectations for dating partners?) Effects on friendships (expectations, behaviors—for self and friends)? Effects on relationships with family members (expectations, behaviors—for self and family)?
- If you could help your younger brother or sister or a child, what would you change about dating relationships?
- Do you have anything else to add or any comments about the interview? (They may continue on. Let them get things off their chest. There may be something that they have thought about and want to elaborate on.) You may repeat this question several times. Let them end the interview when possible (time or getting off track may be exceptions to the rule).
INTERVIEWERS: Thank them very much and reassure them that their information will be used to help other women who have had similar experiences and to hopefully prevent such things from happening to others! This research eventually will take the form of a book on “sexual and physical aggression in dating relationships.”
If anyone asks for help in dealing with her experiences, you may refer them to J, a counselor in the guidance center here on campus. If the respondent is not a student, refer her to ____.
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About the Authors[Page 179]
Sally A. Lloyd is Director of Women's Studies and Professor of Educational Leadership at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She earned her Ph.D. at Oregon State University in 1982. Her teaching and scholarship center on violence against women, the interpersonal dynamics of violent relationships, feminism, and conflict and control in both courtship and marriage. She is the coeditor (with D. D. Cahn) of Family Violence From a Communication Perspective, which received the Distinguished Book Award from the Applied Communication Division of the Speech Communication Association.
Beth C. Emery is Professor of Child Development and Family Studies in the Human Sciences Department at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. She earned her Ph.D. from Oregon State University in 1987. Her teaching and scholarship focus on violence against women, interpersonal communication, feminism, and families at risk.