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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Understanding the experience of the man who assaults his wife Hampson, Douglas Arthur


Three men who assaulted their wives participated in semi-structured, in-depth interviews in an attempt to understand the experience that accompanied each man's "assaultive" decision. The study assumes that spouse abuse can be best understood from an ecological point of view which, it has been argued, warrants a hermeneutical approach to research (Young & Collin, 1988). The study focuses on the description and understanding of specific life experiences of the participants through the application and development of interpretive categories or themes. Three themes that are common to all the participants are identified and discussed. It was found that: all the participants experienced misunderstanding between themselves and their partner before the assaultive situation; all the participants experienced a sense of emotional distress prior to and at moments during the assault; all the participants experienced a sense of justification in the abuse which they were displaying. The results of this research highlight the centrality of empathic understanding in the study and treatment of domestic violence.

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