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Article

Children's embodied experience of living with domestic violence: "I'd go into my panic, and shake, really bad"

Citation
Callaghan J, Alexander J & Fellin LC (2016) Children's embodied experience of living with domestic violence: "I'd go into my panic, and shake, really bad". Subjectivity, 9 (4), pp. 399-419. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41286-016-0011-9

Abstract
Children who experience domestic violence are often described in academic and professional literature as passive victims, whose ‘exposure’ to violence and abuse at home leaves them psychologically damaged, socially impaired, inarticulate, cognitively ‘concrete’ and emotionally ‘incompetent’. Whilst we recognise the importance of understanding the hurt, disruption and damage that domestic violence can cause, we also explore alternative possible ways of talking about and thinking about the lives of children who have experienced domestic violence. We report on interviews and drawings with 27 UK children, using interpretive analysis to explore their capacity for agency and resistance. We explore the paradoxical interplay of children’s acceptance and resistance to coercive control, paying specific attention to embodied experience and use of space. We consider how children articulate their experiences of pain and coercion, how they position themselves as embodied and affective subjects, and challenge Scarry’s (The Body in Pain, OUP, Oxford,1985) suggestion that embodied pain and violence are inexpressible.

Keywords
domestic violence; interpersonal violence; children embodiment; child witness; children exposed to domestic violence

Journal
Subjectivity: Volume 9, Issue 4

StatusPublished
Author(s)Callaghan, Jane; Alexander, Joanne; Fellin, Lisa C
Publication date31/12/2016
Publication date online24/09/2016
Date accepted by journal03/10/2016
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/26089
PublisherSpringer
ISSN1755-6341
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