From the uncertainty of violence to life after abuse: Discursive transitions among female survivors of Intimate Partner Violence in online contexts
Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is undoubtedly one of the most worrying concerns in today’s global societies. Due to the many intertwined factors that explain the persistence of this reality among people from all sorts of backgrounds, finding a uniform strategy to cope with this social issue is far from unproblematic. In this study, I contribute to a growing field of research that examines the discourse of female survivors of IPV in online contexts. The main objective is to identify relevant linguistic patterns used by women to represent themselves and their perpetrators in a publicly-available online forum. More specifically, I seek to ascertain the discursive traits that characterise women in an initial stage in contrast to a final stage within an abusive relationship. To this end, I adopt a Corpus-Assisted Discourse Studies approach in a digital corpus of around 136,000 words, which are analysed with the software tool Sketch Engine. Findings show the most salient discursive traits that characterise IPV online discourse. Additionally, and drawing on verb patterns ascertained in the corpus and their semantic categorisation, I also connect linguistic textual evidence to the power imbalances that sustain this social phenomenon.
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