Att växa upp i våldets närhet : ungdomars berättelser om våld i hemmet

Sammanfattning: In this dissertation, teenagers (13-19 years) are allowed to speak out. The purpose of the study was to gain knowledge regarding the conditions related to socialization in the proximity of violence through listening to, interpreting and attempting to understand the teenagers' narratives about life when violence is an everyday occurrence. Primarily, I wanted to obtain a picture of the conditions under which these girls and boys grew up as they themselves described them. My questions are primarily concerned with the teenagers' experiences of violence in the home, the strategies they used to cope with a violent home environment and finally with their self-images. Secondarily, my intention was to analyze and interpret the picture that emerged in an attempt to understand the meaning of socialization in the proximity of violence, primarily based upon theories of sexualized violence (aspects of gender and power), coping, resilience, and the social heritage of violence-related behavior (the inter-generational transmission of violent behavior). My purpose was also to relate the descriptions and analysis of domestic violence, and the associated conditions under which these young people grew up, to previous research within the field of family violence. The dissertation is grounded in feminist theory which views the gender and power relationships between women and men as a determining principle of social organization. I associate this with the established Scandinavian concept of "sexualized violence," used to describe forms of abuse and sexual exploitation such as rape, incest and other sexual assaults, pornography, the sex trade and sexual harassment. Fifteen teenagers living in Sweden volunteered to be informants for the study. They were interviewed six to ten times each over a four year period. The interviews progressed in steps from background information to the most private and sensitive questions about the violence which had taken place in the home. The number of interviews was determined case by case; the interviews were concluded when no or few new aspects emerged. The analysis is based in part upon the categorized statements and in part upon the longer narratives. The results show that the young people exist in the presence of violence as witnesses to and victims of violence perpetrated by their fathers. The children are threatened into silence and bear inner feelings of powerlessness and loneliness. They are regarded as different in school, bullied by peers and disregarded by adults. In this double victimization, the children feel themselves to be unwanted and worthless. If the child breaks the secrecy and seeks help, he or she experiences utter betrayal, foremost from social authorities. The lack of protective factors and insightful adults is nearly total. The very essential contact with peers has also been denied them. The children feel themselves to be completely abandoned. Using their own resources, they yet manage to formulate their thoughts, create meaning in events and become survivors.